Tag Archives | Spain

¡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.

In Spain we are all bailaores

All Around This World map of Western Europe featuring Spain

¡Hola amigos! From the very earliest days of documented Spanish music-making, Iberian music has fused different rhythms, melodies, customs and cultures. The Ancient Greeks, the Romans, Christians and Moorish Muslims, roaming Romani and all sorts of refugee Jews…there were always people with varied interests and musical abilities passing through Spain, and they always had a tale to tell. The folk music of Spain varies from region to region, from community to community, probably even from neighborhood to neighborhood. For example, the music of Galica, ruled by Celts for centuries, still retains a Celtic character. Music from Basque Country has a distinct sound due to the unique instruments used in creating it. Castalonia, in the far northeast, encompasses the dynamic city of Barcelona and is home to the “Catalan rumba,” a genre that developed in the 1950s in Barcelona’s Romani communities. The primary Andalusian musical genre, and the closest Spain comes to having a “national” music, is Flamenco. This week in on our online class we will dance like true flamenco bailaores. And we will be fantastic.


La Rana Mariana certinaly doesn’t sound froggy….

Let’s end our week of enjoying music from Spain with a lovely song about words. “Palabras” is the work of La Rana Mariana, an ensemble from Valencia. Their music crosses genre boundaries, from Catalan rumba to merengue to son and beyond. Whatever is the genre of “Palabras,” All Around This World adores this song. Adios Spain!

The Kings of Catalan Rumba

Gipsy Kings aren’t Spanish, but they’re surely the kings Catalan Rumba.

Catalonia is the Catalan-speaking region of Spain located in the far northeast and encompassing with dynamic city of Barcelona. The “Catalan rumba” is a relatively recent musical genre that developed in the 1950s in Barcelona’s Romani communities. The genre is an old world/new world fusion of Spanish flamenco, Afro-Cuban claves and rock ‘n’ roll. Catalan rumba is buoyant, energetic and features instruments popular in Cuban music such as guitar, bongos, guiro, timbales and conga drums. In this video watch Gipsy Kings, who are French, but who are descendants of Spanish Romani and often play in the style of Catalan rumba, perform “Djobi Djoba.”

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.)

The Basques Dance and Dance and Dance

Is Basque dancing the best dancing?
The Basques are one of Europe’s most unique ethnic groups — linguistically, culturally and politically distinct. Toward the end of the 19th century Basques both in Spain and France rallied behind their language and shared culture and began to talk seriously of breaking away from Spain and France to form their own nation. Nationalist leaders very consciously promoted speaking and creating music in the Basque language as a means of uniting Basque people and stirring pride in the uniqueness of their homeland. From 1939 to 1975 the dictatorial government of General Francisco Franco outlawed the Basque language, but Basques maintained their language, music and folk dances defiantly in private. Today Basques are free to sing, speak their language and enjoy Basque dancing as in this video! Still, the Spanish and French governments still don’t look kindly on the idea of Basque independence.

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.