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Flamenco Roots 2021

Flamenco (Spanish pronunciation: [flaˈmeŋko]), in its strictest sense, is an art form based on the various folkloric music traditions of southern Spain, developed within the gitano subculture of the region of Andalusia, and also having historical presence in Extremadura and Murcia.[1][2][3] In a wider sense, the term is used to refer to a variety of both contemporary and traditional musical styles typical of southern Spain. Flamenco is closely associated to the gitanos of the Romani ethnicity who have contributed significantly to its origination and professionalization. However, its style is uniquely Andalusian and flamenco artists have historically included Spaniards of both gitano and non-gitano heritage.[4]

Flamenco Roots

In 1881 Silverio Franconetti opened the first flamenco singer café in Seville. In Silverio's café the cantaores were in a very competitive environment, which allowed the emergence of the professional cantaor and served as a crucible where flamenco art was configured. In them Gitanos and non-Gitanos learned the cantes, while reinterpreting the Andalusian folk songs in their own style, expanding the repertoire. Likewise, the taste of the public contributed to configure the flamenco genre, unifying its technique and its theme.

Flamenco, defined by the Royal Spanish Academy as a "fondness for flamenco art and customs", is a conceptual catch-all where flamenco singing and a fondness for bullfighting, among other traditional Spanish elements, fit. These customs were strongly attacked by the generation of 98, all of its members being "anti-flamenco", with the exception of the Machado brothers, since Manuel and Antonio, being Sevillians and sons of the folklorist Demófilo, had a more complex vision of the matter. The greatest standard bearer of anti-flamenquism was the Madrid writer Eugenio Noel, who, in his youth, had been a militant casticista. Noel attributed to flamenco and bullfighting the origin of the ills of Spain which he saw as manifestations of the country's Oriental character which hindered economic and social development. These considerations caused an insurmountable rift to be established for decades between flamenco and most "intellectuals" of the time.

Between 1920 and 1955, flamenco shows began to be held in bullrings and theaters, under the name "flamenco opera". This denomination was an economic strategy of the promoters, since opera only paid 3% while variety shows paid 10%. At this time, flamenco shows spread throughout Spain and the main cities of the world. The great social and commercial success achieved by flamenco at this time eliminated some of the oldest and most sober styles from the stage, in favor of lighter airs, such as cantiñas, los cantes de ida y vuelta and fandangos, of which many personal versions were created. The purist critics attacked this lightness of the cantes, as well as the use of falsete and the gaitero style.

In the line of purism, the poet Federico García Lorca and the composer Manuel de Falla had the idea of concurso de cante jondo en Granada en 1922.[10] Both artists conceived of flamenco as folklore, not as a scenic artistic genre; for this reason, they were concerned, since they believed that the massive triumph of flamenco would end its purest and deepest roots. To remedy this, they organized a cante jondo contest in which only amateurs could participate and in which festive cantes (such as cantiñas) were excluded, which Falla and Lorca did not consider jondos, but flamencos. The jury was chaired by Antonio Chacón, who at that time was the leading figure in cante. The winners were "El Tenazas", a retired professional cantaor from Morón de la Frontera, and Manuel Ortega, an eight-year-old boy from Seville who would go down in flamenco history as Manolo Caracol. The contest turned out to be a failure due to the scant echo it had and because Lorca and Falla did not know how to understand the professional character that flamenco already had at that time, striving in vain to seek a purity that never existed in an art that was characterized by mixture and the personal innovation of its creators. Apart from this failure, with the Generation of '27, whose most eminent members were Andalusians and therefore knew the genre first-hand, the recognition of flamenco by intellectuals began.

At that time, there were already flamenco recordings related to Christmas, which can be divided into two groups: the traditional flamenco carol and flamenco songs that adapt their lyrics to the Christmas theme. These cantes have been maintained to this day, the Zambomba Jerezana being spatially representative, declared an Asset of Intangible Cultural Interest by the Junta de Andalucía in December 2015.

During the Spanish Civil War, a large number of singers were exiled or died defending the Republic and the humiliations to which they were being subjected by the National Party: Bando Nacional: Corruco de Algeciras, Chaconcito, El Carbonerillo, El Chato De Las Ventas, Vallejito, Rita la Cantaora, Angelillo, Guerrita are some of them. In the postwar period and the first years of the Franco regime, the world of flamenco was viewed with suspicion, as the authorities were not clear that this genre contributed to the national conscience. However, the regime soon ended up adopting flamenco as one of the quintessential Spanish cultural manifestations. The singers who have survived the war go from stars to almost outcasts, singing for the young men in the private rooms of the brothels in the center of Seville where they have to adapt to the whims of aristocrats, soldiers and businessmen who have become rich.

In short, the period of the flamenco opera was a time open to creativity and that definitely made up most of the flamenco repertoire. It was the Golden Age of this genre, with figures such as Antonio Chacón, Manuel Vallejo Manuel Vallejo [es; fr], Manuel Torre, La Niña de los Peines, Pepe Marchena and Manolo Caracol.

Starting in the 1950s, abundant anthropological and musicological studies on flamenco began to be published. In 1954 Hispavox published the first Antología del Cante Flamenco, a sound recording that was a great shock to its time, dominated by orchestrated cante and, consequently, mystified. In 1955, the Argentine intellectual Anselmo González Climent published an essay called "Flamencología", whose title he baptized the "set of knowledge, techniques, etc., on flamenco singing and dancing." This book dignified the study of flamenco by applying the academic methodology of musicology to it and served as the basis for subsequent studies on this genre.

As a result, in 1956 the National Contest of Cante Jondo de Córdoba was organized and in 1958 the first flamencology chair was founded in Jerez de la Frontera, the oldest academic institution dedicated to the study, research, conservation, promotion and defense of the flamenco art. Likewise, in 1963 the Cordovan poet Ricardo Molina and the Sevillian cantaor Antonio Mairena published Alalimón Mundo y Formas del Cante flamenco, which has become a must-have reference work.

For a long time the Mairenistas postulates were considered practically unquestionable, until they found an answer in other authors who elaborated the "Andalusian thesis", which defended that flamenco was a genuinely Andalusian product, since it had been developed entirely in this region and because its styles basic ones derived from the folklore of Andalusia. They also maintained that the Andalusian Gitanos had contributed decisively to their formation, highlighting the exceptional nature of flamenco among gypsy music and dances from other parts of Spain and Europe. The unification of the Gitanos and Andalusian thesis has ended up being the most accepted today. In short, between the 1950s and 1970s, flamenco went from being a mere show to also becoming an object of study.

Flamenco became one of the symbols of Spanish national identity during the Franco regime, since the regime knew how to appropriate a folklore traditionally associated with Andalusia to promote national unity and attract tourism, constituting what was called national-flamenquismo. Hence, flamenco had long been seen as a reactionary or retrograde element. In the mid-60s and until the transition, cantaores who opposed the regime began to appear with the use of protest lyrics. These include: José Menese and lyricist Francisco Moreno Galván, Enrique Morente, Manuel Gerena, El Lebrijano, El Cabrero, Lole y Manuel, el Piki or Luis Marín, among many others.

In contrast to this conservatism with which it was associated during the Franco regime, flamenco suffered the influence of the wave of activism that also shook the university against the repression of the regime when university students came into contact with this art in the recitals that were held, for example, at the Colegio Mayor de San Juan Evangelista: "flamenco amateurs and professionals got involved with performances of a manifestly political nature. It was a kind of flamenco protest charged with protest, which meant censorship and repression for the flamenco activists ".

As the political transition progressed, the demands were deflated as flamenco inserted itself within the flows of globalized art. At the same time, this art was institutionalized until it reached the point that the Junta de Andalucía was attributed in 2007 "exclusive competence in matters of knowledge, conservation, research, training, promotion and dissemination".

In the 1970s, there were airs of social and political change in Spain, and Spanish society was already quite influenced by various musical styles from the rest of Europe and the United States. There were also numerous singers who had grown up listening to Antonio Mairena, Pepe Marchena and Manolo Caracol. The combination of both factors led to a revolutionary period called flamenco fusion. Seville Flamenco Dance Museum 2014.

The singer Rocío Jurado internationalized flamenco at the beginning of the 70s, replacing the bata de cola with evening dresses. Her facet in the "Fandangos de Huelva" and in the Alegrías was recognized internationally for her perfect voice tessitura in these genres. She used to be accompanied in her concerts by guitarists Enrique de Melchor and Tomatito, not only at the national level but in countries like Colombia, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. 041b061a72

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