What is Flamenco?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
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AndreiKrylov
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:02 pm

Matilda wrote:I happened to see the Carlos Saura movie called "Flamenco". Wonder, if anyone has seen it? Anyway, after watching it I started to hate a) Carlos Saura b) Flamenco c) Paco de Lucia. Somehow I always associated Flamenco with something beautiful, energetic, full of life. The way the director presented it was middle-aged or elderly people either shouting or wailing, dancing with tortured faces, strumming the guitar either deafeningly loud or barely audible. I understand he intended to show "Argentinian people as they are", not beauties
Nice film. Great performers. Love Paco de Lucia, especially when he played solo, alone!

"Argentinian people"? ... this could be either extreme ignorance or just provocation? I would like to believe that it is provocation...

Flamenco?
There will be thousand answers - what it is...
There will be thousands of different people claiming that they know what it is and that it is belong to them.

People are Religious creatures. We tend to make Religions from everything.
Flamenco is another Religion. With its own Prophets, ways to worship and because it is from Spain it has its own Inquisition too :)
There are many people who live by it and in it and there are many people who studied it as a Law or Theology and they like to judge others. :)
so... - Flamenco is another Religion.

By the way...- I hear more and more talk like this : "I always associated Flamenco with something beautiful, energetic, full of life. The way the director presented it was middle-aged or elderly people either shouting or wailing, dancing with tortured faces"
couple of days ago presenter on CBC radio was talking about "baby-boomers who are too rich and do not deserve any discounts when retired"
How sad it is...when many people do not respect their parents and older generation...that many people deny older generation abilities to have Passions, Life, ability to be able express themselves. Ability to create any kind of Beauty by their Art...
World is going mad....
Sorry ...
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:54 pm

Write_Rich wrote: - I suspect there is a decent Middle Eastern influence in Flamenco if you dig deep enough. I'm a classical guitarist so I am a little rough on my theory and history when it comes to Flamenco so correct me if I am wrong.
Indeed there is. The Moors brought most of Spain under Islamic rule in the 8th century. They brought instruments with them like the oud, which was (correct me if I'm wrong) an ancestor of the guitar.

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Steve Kutzer
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by Steve Kutzer » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:54 pm

I remember seeing Paco in concert and coming away thinking it was the most viscerally masculine performance I had ever seen and heard. Loved it! So primitive, and yet so elevated.

How I wish I could play any of it. But it strikes me as the kind of music you really need to be born into.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:45 am

Write_Rich wrote:When I listen to Flamenco I often hear a sort of Middle Eastern sound in the vocals and music played - I suspect there is a decent Middle Eastern influence in Flamenco if you dig deep enough.
Of course! It's from when the Muslims held Spain after the 8th century. A typical mode is the Phrygian dominant which you can hear in Ponce's (so-called) D minor prelude https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5AJvhtJ9f0
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

Marshall Dixon
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by Marshall Dixon » Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:25 pm

Here is a recording that I believe will give you a real good taste of what is flamenco:

Cante Gitano - Gypsy Flamenco from Andalusia is a digital recording of an authentic late-night Gypsy flamenco session, featuring singers José de la Tomasa, Maria la Burra, and Maria Solea. This is the real thing, the heart and soul of flamenco laid bare on eight intoxicating selections. The first seven pieces feature the individual singers, including two by the mighty Maria Solea, perhaps the best of the bunch. The last piece, a collection of bulerias with all singers contributing, is a 22-minute epic of rarely heard intensity that caps off this lively maximum-length disc. Thrilling guitar accompaniment throughout is provided by brothers Paco del Gastor and Juan del Gastor. ~ Myles Boisen, Roots & Rhythm

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Arthur Becker
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by Arthur Becker » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:07 pm

Matilda wrote:I suppose I have to apologize to all those who feel offended by my original post and to thank all those who took pains to reply. Now I realize that what I imagined was really this "tourist" "polished" Flamenco. So the real Flamenco is in this movie. Deep down I suspected it, but the shock was too great for me. It's just not "my cup of tea", like soul or blues, though they are great things. But we don't all have to have the same preferences, do we?
I would encourage you not to give up yet. I've been listening to flamenco for a long time, yet the opening vocals to *Flamenco* were quite startling. Maybe I just had the volume up way too loud and wasn't expecting that, but still I thought it was a choice that was not in the best taste and not your typical experience. You may like the newer *Flamenco, Flamenco* by the same director. It has a gentler aesthetic in my opinion both visually and the audio. There was only one guy doing a shirtless Farruca that I didn't particularly care for. :D

It is also worth noting that there is a very wide range of modern flamenco right now. And it ranges from harsh to sweet. It can vary both by the musician and by the style/palo of flamenco and by the moments inspiration. If you are interested in some of the softer side of flamenco and more recent/modern, look into palos like Alegrías, Rumba, Guajiras, Columbianas, and artists like El Pele, Estrella Morente, Mariangeles Fernandez (search youtube for her and Diego del Morao - they posted a really nice session), Miguel Poveda, Arc'angel,... well these are just a few. Plus there are a lot of exciting dancers right now, like Farruquito (the shirtless guy I mentioned above iirc), Nino de los Reyes, Rosario Toledo, Heredia, Rocio Molina... again just a few that I prefer - it is in no way an all encompassing list.

JohnB
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by JohnB » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:58 pm

Paco Pena once said:

"Flamenco is similar to the blues… . It has a tinge of sadness, an element of fight and rebellion. It is pain and suffering with explosions of great happiness. It is a symbol of Spain."
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso"

dory
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by dory » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:31 pm

Generally, I really like Flamenco. I also like Fado which is too intense for a lot of people-- especially people from outside of Portugal-- to cope with. I lived in northern Spain where there have not traditionally been as many gypsies as in Andalucía, but remember hearing teenage boys sometimes play and sing Flamenco in bars. In this form it is not really an upper class, high-culture type of music. I also remember going to a couple of flamenco shows in Madrid put on for middle and upper class people and it was very different-- sanitized. I will say, though, that Flamenco singing is more intense and challenging than Flamenco guitar which I find "easier." The Carlos Saura movie did not hold back in terms of emotional intensity. My husband, who comes from an area of Colombia where the both people (in public) and the traditional music strike me as a bit emotionally controlled compared to Spain. He enjoyed the first bit but burned out with the emotional intensity and left me to watch the second half of the movie alone. As for Segovia, he lived in a time when Spain consisted almost exclusively of two groups-- white people and gypsies, who were very culturally different from white Spaniards who they often called "pajas" or straws due to their skin color, and the two groups lived fairly separately, just coming together through things like Flamenco performances. I lived in Spain right before it began to get racial diversity through immigration. Gypsies not only lived apart, but were mostly poor and discriminated against. Segovia's dream was to establish the guitar as a "high culture" instrument that would be welcome in the finest concert halls in Europe. Naturally coming from his standpoint, he would want to play down any associations of his beloved instrument with "low culture" and poverty. I know there is a lot of talk about Segovia and racism, and John Williams felt Segovia looked down on him for being biracial. However, one of Segovia's closest associates was Alirio Diaz who was Afro-Venezuelan. I think Segovia just wanted to keep the guitar away from anything that did not look high culture European. Flamenco most definitely was and is not that. I think of it sort of like the elderly uncle who comes to a high society party, charms everyone with off-color stories and belches and farts in public. Some of us like it a lot and some don't.

As for the OP mentioning Argentina, I can see how it is perfectly possible to make that mistake. Flamenco musicians are generally although not always darker skinned than mainstream Spanish musicians, and have an air of the culturally exotic about them which could suggest something like Gauchos, who are also darker skinned and more "exotic-seeming" than other Argentinians who are generally very European seeming. It isn't that, but if I didn't know otherwise, I could easily imagine Flamenco as Gaucho music, which might actually have some Flamenco roots. I would not be embarrassed by making that mistake. Tango and Flamenco? Not the same at all, but you need insider knowledge to know that.
Dory

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:20 pm

dory wrote:Generally, I really like Flamenco. I also like Fado which is too intense for a lot of people-- especially people from outside of Portugal-- to cope with. I lived in northern Spain where there have not traditionally been as many gypsies as in Andalucía, but remember hearing teenage boys sometimes play and sing Flamenco in bars. In this form it is not really an upper class, high-culture type of music. I also remember going to a couple of flamenco shows in Madrid put on for middle and upper class people and it was very different-- sanitized. I will say, though, that Flamenco singing is more intense and challenging than Flamenco guitar which I find "easier." The Carlos Saura movie did not hold back in terms of emotional intensity. My husband, who comes from an area of Colombia where the both people (in public) and the traditional music strike me as a bit emotionally controlled compared to Spain. He enjoyed the first bit but burned out with the emotional intensity and left me to watch the second half of the movie alone. As for Segovia, he lived in a time when Spain consisted almost exclusively of two groups-- white people and gypsies, who were very culturally different from white Spaniards who they often called "pajas" or straws due to their skin color, and the two groups lived fairly separately, just coming together through things like Flamenco performances. I lived in Spain right before it began to get racial diversity through immigration. Gypsies not only lived apart, but were mostly poor and discriminated against. Segovia's dream was to establish the guitar as a "high culture" instrument that would be welcome in the finest concert halls in Europe. Naturally coming from his standpoint, he would want to play down any associations of his beloved instrument with "low culture" and poverty. I know there is a lot of talk about Segovia and racism, and John Williams felt Segovia looked down on him for being biracial. However, one of Segovia's closest associates was Alirio Diaz who was Afro-Venezuelan. I think Segovia just wanted to keep the guitar away from anything that did not look high culture European. Flamenco most definitely was and is not that. I think of it sort of like the elderly uncle who comes to a high society party, charms everyone with off-color stories and belches and farts in public. Some of us like it a lot and some don't.

As for the OP mentioning Argentina, I can see how it is perfectly possible to make that mistake. Flamenco musicians are generally although not always darker skinned than mainstream Spanish musicians, and have an air of the culturally exotic about them which could suggest something like Gauchos, who are also darker skinned and more "exotic-seeming" than other Argentinians who are generally very European seeming. It isn't that, but if I didn't know otherwise, I could easily imagine Flamenco as Gaucho music, which might actually have some Flamenco roots. I would not be embarrassed by making that mistake. Tango and Flamenco? Not the same at all, but you need insider knowledge to know that.
So you wrote "Flamenco musicians are generally although not always darker skinned than mainstream Spanish musicians" - what about thousands and thousands of flamenco guitarists all over the world who play flamenco music too? Flamenco is all over the world... it is international music style...Is Spanish guitar belong only to Spain? Yes Flamenco is deeply rooted in Spain but it belongs to all world now.
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

johnd
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by johnd » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:38 pm

One of my hobbies is making slideshows.

The moderators might delete this but I thought I would give it a try.

https://vimeo.com/150596766

John Ross
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by John Ross » Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:23 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:Is Spanish guitar belong only to Spain? Yes Flamenco is deeply rooted in Spain but it belongs to all world now.
Well, as the OP was specifically referring to a film which portrays flamenco in Spain, it's not unreasonable for contributors to the thread to use the same frame of reference. And even if flamenco is popular and much performed outside Spain, the non-Spanish world has yet to make much of a contribution towards flamenco. If it had, we would be talking about Japanese flamenco in the same way we talk about the British blues movement. So until an East Asian or Russian flamenco Eric Clapton appears, it seems fair to presuppose that flamenco performers will be Spanish.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:50 pm

John Ross wrote:
AndreiKrylov wrote:Is Spanish guitar belong only to Spain? Yes Flamenco is deeply rooted in Spain but it belongs to all world now.
Well, as the OP was specifically referring to a film which portrays flamenco in Spain, it's not unreasonable for contributors to the thread to use the same frame of reference. And even if flamenco is popular and much performed outside Spain, the non-Spanish world has yet to make much of a contribution towards flamenco. If it had, we would be talking about Japanese flamenco in the same way we talk about the British blues movement. So until an East Asian or Russian flamenco Eric Clapton appears, it seems fair to presuppose that flamenco performers will be Spanish.
There are actually excellent Asian or Russian born and raised musicians who play Flamenco...
Grisha Goryachev for example -

Youtube


Youtube
Last edited by AndreiKrylov on Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

Malcolm
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:10 am

The following is from a CD cover by the sitarist Anoushka Shankar (daughter of Ravi) on the album Traveller. It's quite interesting:

This landmark album presents a unique collaboration between Indian and flamenco musicians, tracing the lineage of flamenco from India to Spain...

"When Anoushka plays pure Indian music, she's playing pure flamenco. In Traveller Anoushka finds her way into the nuances of modern flamenco through the vivid lens of Hindustani technique. Anousha...adds "I find in flamenco something very close to what I cherish in Indian classical music: uninhibited musicality in expression".


Cheers,
Malcolm

btw if you disagree with any of this don't shoot the messenger! :roll:
When I was ten, I thought my parents knew everything. When I became twenty, I was convinced they knew nothing. Then, at thirty, I realized I was right when I was ten.

Mark Twain

John Ross
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by John Ross » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:07 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:There are actually excellent Asian or Russian born and raised musicians who play Flamenco...
Didn't doubt it for a second. But it's still (apart from the guajira, which is Cuban and only flamenco insofar as it is related with P. de L.) flamenco flamenco, Spanish flamenco, because no-one has yet developed any other kind. That'll happen, too, one day, I daresay.

(Why is everyone capitalising "flamenco"? Not you in particular, Andrei, your English is first-rate for a non-native, I mean everyone else. Stop it. We don't capitalise musical movements in English, the blues is not the Blues, rock is rock, fado is fado and flamenco is flamenco.)

nindeguerre
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Re: What is Flamenco?

Post by nindeguerre » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:21 pm

Oh cool, some movie recommendations! My favourite filmic depictions of the flamenco may be found in a couple of Tony Gatlif movies -- where you really get a sense of the tradition of the flamenco and how it came to be a dance from the various cultures infusing the region. And yes, the dancers and guitarists were not "beautiful" and yet they were luminous. Magical.

My first exposure to the flamenco came with the 1992 Olympics and that glorious (to my 17 year old eyes) closing ceremony dance. I wanted to dance flamenco long before I wanted to play it. I guess an epistemological exploration of both the dance form and how it's played is interesting but for me the flamenco is always about feeling. And that's not something that's limited to just fine-chiseled and polished beauty.
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