FLAMENCO: an ancient passion

Clattering castanets, stamping feet and flowing dresses: flamenco leaves almost no one untouched. Add to that the exciting guitar playing plus the compelling vocals and it is clear why this Spanish music form is world famous. Performances are given from Asia to North America. The best thing, however, is to hear and see the art form in its place of origin, namely the autonomous region of Andalusia in Spain.

Striking and exciting

Anyone who hears flamenco immediately recognizes this genre of music. The singing is accompanied by a sensational rhythmic accompaniment. For example, the rhythm can be indicated by clapping with the hands, snapping with the fingers or clattering with the castanets. A cajón, a hand drum, can also be on stage. Furthermore, the guitars play an especially important role, but there are also companies in which a flutist, violinist or pianist participates. In addition to singing and music, dance is an important part. This makes the shows extra expressive. The dancers often wear beautiful dresses that are richly decorated with ruffles and flounces.

The fascinating history

The history of flamenco is as complex as the rhythms associated with the music. Actually, the genre is a mix of all kinds of cultures. The Phoenicians, the Celts, the Goths, the Byzantines and the Moors, among others, played a role in the development of flamenco. But the Spanish Catholics and the Gypsies also laid the foundation for this type of music. The latter have strongly influenced flamenco. They’re the ones who added the dance. Flamenco is recognized by UNESCO as a special part of Spanish culture and the music genre has been on the World Heritage List since 2010. A science has also arisen around flamenco, the so-called flamencology.

Discover big names

Would you like to listen to flamenco at home? The now deceased Camarón de la Isla, for example, is one of the legends among flamenco singers. Among the ladies, Carmen Linares is a celebrity. Besides the singers, the guitarists can also be true stars. For example, a well-known figure in history is the Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucía who passed away in 2014. Flamenco with a modern flair is Rosalía’s specialty. The Catalan received a Latin Grammy Award for her work.

Experience flamenco at a festival in Andalusia

To attend a live show, the flamenco festivals in Spain are highly recommended. In Andalusia almost every city has its own festival. Jerez de la Frontera, Murcia and Seville, for example, organize major flamenco events. Here you will experience this music genre in all its facets. These festivals are not only interesting because of the music, but also because of the lively Spanish atmosphere!

(Photo (c) Can Stock Photo / iodrakon)

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