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Flamenco in Sevilla

   

Also known as cante jondo (Andalusian gypsy singing) represents the purest Andaluscian expression of folklore. Its origins, still disputed, are linked to the arrival of gypsies during the 14th C to the flat farmlands of Cádiz and Seville. It is believed that they originated from a region in the north of India called Sid, that today is part of Pakistan, fleeing from a series of conflicts or invasions from foreign conquerors.

During the middle of the 19th C, flamenco was made popular by singers who frequented cafes. rThe first such café opened in Seville around the year 1885. They later extended throughout Andalusia and Madrid. Up until then flamenco was not common in family reunions or private parties.

Mythically this art form has been related to the gypsy race. However flamenco is a complex phenomenon, with multiple variants making it difficult to circumscribe it to a specific social or ethnic group.

All experts of this expressive artistic form agree on its three essential elements: song (cante), the guitar (toque) and dance (baile), having countless styles (palos), grouped according to more or less common structures, melodies or themes.

Today, flamenco has a history full of extraordinary figures, such as Enrique el Mellizo, Manuel Torre, Tomás Pavón, La Niña de los Peines, Antonio Chacón, Manolo Caracol o Pastora Imperio. These are some of the legends, pilars of this historical art form rich in interpretations, which has become one of most significant tokens of culture from this land.

José Monge, better known as Camarón de la Isla,, deserves special mention. He is considered the last great figure of gypsy singing. Tracing his flamenco repertoire, he reached the highest levels of popularity and stood out for his innovative initiatives and experiences.

Today’s interest in everything that is autochthonous has coincided with a surge in flamenco that is extraordinary. Thus the birth of "nuevo flamenco" (new flamenco), classical and virtuous on the one hand and more open to new musical genres on the other. This panorama, still in a state of flux, has launched the fame of stellar artists such as Enrique Morente or Carmen Linares in song, Cristina Hoyos, Mario y Belén Maya, Milagros Mengíbar, Antonio Canales or Joaquín Cortés in dance and guitarists such as Vicente Amigo, Tomatito or Paco de Lucía. In short, a long list of which we can`t leave out the Compañía Andaluza de Danza (Andalusian Dance Company), an extraordinary public troupe that since 1995 has been in charge of investigating and promoting flamenco on stages throughout the world.

Tourists in Seville can enjoy daily performances of this art form in all of its splendor in well known flamenco tablaos (venues for flamenco), direct inheritors of the ancient cafés, the neighborhood peñas (flamenco club enthusiasts) or village festivals.

Just the same, throughout the year numerous flamenco festivals are held. The famous Bienal de Arte Flamenco, celebrated every other year, attracting the biggest names in song and dance, is definitely worth highlighting. This incomparable encounter has been held for twenty years. Its main objective is to internalize this culture in the social fabric of Seville and later throughout all of Andalusia.


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