Tag Archives | Flamenco

¡Toma que toma!

¡Paco de Lucia!

We can’t help but start our tour of music from Spain with the primary Andalusian musical genre, and the closest Spain comes to having a “national” music — flamenco! Flamenco developed from the multilingual, multicultural mix of Arabs, Jews, Christians and Gitanos present in Andalusia in the centuries after the 1492 Spanish “reconquest” of the Iberian Peninsula. Though the genre may have risen from the Andalusian streets by the 18th century it was well within the realm of professionals, with flamenco guitarists and dancers expected to pursue a rigorous course of study to develop their craft. Even so, flamenco music still moves performers and listeners most when it oozes emotion. Flamenco is not truly flamenco unless there are at least three elements present–cante (voice), baile (dance) and toque (playing guitar). In this video we enjoy master Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia toque-ing his heart out.

Flamenco’s Fancy Footwork

Watch Cruz Luna do some fancy flamenco footwork….

While the “zapateado” can be used to refer to a specific dance flamenco dancers (mainly the male dancers) do to imitate cowboys from Spain, the term can also refer to flamenco foot-stomping, which a dancer uses to demonstrate his or her skill and accentuate the rhythms. There are three very basic moves in flamenco footwork:
— the tacon, in which the dancer stomps with his or her heel.
— the planta, in which the dancer stomps with the ball of his or her feet.
— the golpe, in which the dancer stomps with his or her whole foot.
In this video, Cruz Luna demonstrates “Zapateado de Cadiz” chaps and all. (The dancing starts at 1:00.)

We’re Pretty Good at Palmas

Today in class we try some of this fancy flamenco clapping we’ve been talking about with our simplified version of “Por Colombianas.” Colombianas is considered among the “Ida y vuelta” (“roundtrip”) palos (families of flamenco modes and rhythms), inferring that the palo originated in Spain, traveled to Colombia in the New World and then returned to become part of flamenco.

Fantastic Flamenco Palmas

We absolutely must start our “Dancing With Our Hands” lesson this week in Spain, where master-clappers play an essential role in Flamenco music. “Palmas” refer to the rhythmic hand claps that flamenco dancers use to accent their own performances and that backing musicians and audience members contribute to add to the excitement of the song.