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Flamenco: Also Very Important in the Americas

29 October, 2018.

Flamenco is more than a dance, it is an artistic expression where movements and songs say more than a thousand words. You need many years of study and training in order to understand it. It is a mixture of Arab, Jewish and Gypsy cultures that arrived in Spain in the 15th century and which crystallized in Andalusia ( Spain ).

There are certain rumors that flamenco was probably born from the festivals of the gypsy background where they were presented and followed the rhythm of the music that we know today as an artistic manifestation worldwide.

In flamenco, the chants are the Andalusian songs and have deep feelings that were accompanied by a unique tempo. This dance along with this instrument has a style called  “Abandolao ” from which different groups emerged, thanks to the singers. However, from the beginning of the twentieth century some singers began to emerge and were evolving migrating to other unknown lands, especially to Latin America, including both South and Central.

In order to understand more about flamenco you should know that the clubs are a very traditional variety of flamenco singing. Highlights are the Alegrias, Bulerias, Fandangos, Tangos and Sevillanas, which give that expressive and brilliant spirit to flamenco. There are also the solo touches of flamenco guitarists, who are part of a modal harmonic system where the guitarist practices a guitar interpretation of flamenco with the use of the thumb to generate a melody of acoustic nature. This technique is characterized by a percussion element that gives strength to the rhythm of the dance, although some flamenco songs are interpreted a palo seco, which means “a capella”, without guitar accompaniment.

First Falmenco Footprints in  The Americas

In the days where the crossbreeding, conquests and losses of land occurred in the Americas, and when many Europeans emigrated to a new continent in search of a better future, flamenco and some of its highest exponents arrived to American lands as well. 

At the beginning of the twentieth century the flamenco dance swept through the theaters. Antonia Mercé  “Argentina” choreographed pieces of classic national composers like Laura de Santelmo, Pastora Imperio and Carmen Amaya. They demonstrated the art of flamenco in the great scenarios of America, where they fled after the Spanish Civil War erupted. In the years that followed, the flamenco dance highlighted these dancers that the public acclaimed and new dancers began to appear forming couples like the Chavallillos, Sevillians Rosario and Antonio.

There was a boom of great magnitude in flamenco throughout America. Among the different groups, it is worth mentioning the “back and forth clubs”, which began to spread in the world of flamenco in the 1930s through the figure of the singer Pepe Marchena. There were also great singers like the Lebrijano and personality from Serrat to Martirio. The “round-trip” songs, such as “La Guajira”, “La Colombiana” and “La Milonga”, are related to South American folklore.

The Milonga is a type of music originally from Argentina that shows the influence between America and Andalusia. In Milonga flamenco and Milonga Argentina, the rhythm is similar and at other times is not so much,  but they both always speak of love and heartbreak. They lasted until the end of the 1950s and were heard in meetings, clubs and halls. They manifested themselves only as instrumental melodies, where meant for dancing with a partner and not listening to the singer.

La Guajira is named after “Guajire” which is a Cuban peasant. The Flemish Guajiras have a 12-beat tempo. They dress in light colors with many flowers and fans, using a sensual and tropical touch while stomping seated. The Guajiras offer us romantic lyrics that are presented in scenarios, singing Antillean verses. The Colombian, like Palo Flamenco, created by the flamenco singer Pepe Marchena with the first version that bears the title “Mi Colombiana”, contains 6 verses of eight syllables and the metric melody is considered sober in binary tempo.

Flamenco is a pure genre, but as the years go by the melody is acquiring other rhythms from America. When traveling, they provided all kinds of information at a time where there were no advanced means of communication that exist today.

There are a lot of Flamenc dance schools around the world today. Americans, Indians, Japanese, etc., continue to teach about the scenarios and highlight the tempo, elegance and figure of flamenco.

Model of flamenco wedding dress acquired by an American client. 

flamenco wedding dress

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