The origins of the flamenco are not clear.
There is a theory that it began with the Arabs,
another says it was with the sefarditas and
there is one that relates it even to the birds of
the same name. Yet another says that the
flamenco word began to be used as a synonym
for Andalusian gypsy sometime around the 18th century.
But leaving aside the different interpretations that there
are on its origins and on the sources of which it was
nourished, they are many of those that think that this art,
as we know today it, has two centuries of history. A
history that was born with la canta (songs), to which it has
always been attatched. Because of it's songs it has been,
and still is, the essence of flamenco, to which later the
guitar and the dance would be added.
The flamenco art was developed from basic songs that
the flamenco singers interpreted in family get togethers.
Sometime during the second half of the 19th century,
these songs were taken to the theaters and cafes of
Andalusian cities like Cadiz, Sevilla and Jerez de la
Frontera, where the flamenco singers began to become
artists. They then began to develop new songs and
added to it's art the guitar and the dance like one more
part of the expression of flamenco.
During the 20th century the great flamenco
festivity arose, with Pepe Marchena as one of
the most outstanding artists of the time called la
opera flamenca. By way of hand of Manuel de
Falla and other intellectuals, the Contest of
Cante Jondo came to take place in Granada in
1922. There Manolo Caracol, that received the first
prize, began his successful career. Later came the time of
the tablaos and the publication of the first books and tests
on flamenco, aside from the celebration of other contests
like the National Contest of Flamenco Art of Cordova.
During the time of Franco, the songs developed in a
markedly folkloric way. But with the arrival of the Sixties,
two artists created a new way to interpret flamenco,
managed to internationalize this art and lay a new path
that other artists would follow. We speak of Camaron de
la Isla, who sang, and of Paco de Lucia, on the guitar.
At the moment, flamenco finds itself in a period where it's
traditional music is fashionably blended with other genres,
like jazz, salsa, bossa novas and other ethnic music. A
fusion of music whose pioneers include devoted artists
like Pata Negra, Ketama, Navajita Platea and Chano
Domínguez, among others.
The flamenco that is called pure, el cante jondo, also
continues on in the present, with artists like the La
Paquera de Jerez, considered by many the queen of
bulerías; Alonso Núñez Núñez, better known as
“Rancapino”, or Jose Menese, amongst many others.
The songs of flamenco are from different regions as:
Fandangos from Huelva; and Alegrias from Cadiz. There
are two main styles in Flamenco: "jondo" - the serious and
deep meaning, the cry of oppressed people; and "chico"
happy, light and often humorous. The ideal in flamenco is
called "duende" (demon or elf), which is a state of
emotional involvement, group communication at a deep
level and a feeling of sympathy, between musicians,
dancers and listeners.
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Placido Domingo - Clavel Sevillano