A Flamenco Show at a Gypsy Cave of Sacromonte in Granada

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Much though Flamenco has achieved recognition worldwide, it is actually one of the trivial Spanish traditions. Years of imbibing, mixing, molding as well as tuning certain features of the local Andalucían, Islamic, Sephardic, and gypsy conventions has led to the development of the Flamenco dance styles and also the music. The traditions belonging to the sub-Saharan African traditions also seem to have influenced the Flamenco and this is attributed to the slave traffic carried out on the Iberian Peninsula.

Initially, Flamenco was a popular yet singular tradition that prospered among other Spanish conventions. The gypsy caverns in Sacromonte, where flamenco shows are still held, was one such site situated in Granada where the flamenco tradition grew and molded itself. 16th century literature has traces of flamenco performances – the enigmatic tunes and the dance practices- much though its proper growth can be followed systematically 18th century onwards. As flamenco music and dance began to flourish, flamenco performers moved out of the caverns to the specialized pubs known as “cafés cantantes” (or singing bars). Thus they were now open to the outside world. However it was the flamenco dance performers and not the vocalists or the guitarists, who turned flamenco into an international sensation. Flamenco, earlier a minor culture, has been appreciated and loved across the world and now is considered to be an essential fragment of the actual Spanish traditions.

Flamenco Music

The music associated with flamenco came to be much before the dance form took shape. The “cantaor” or the flamenco vocalist is the person of prime importance- he or she weaves a heart rendering piece, usually of pain and suffering. His features often contort in distress as he sings the song most ardently and zealously. The guitar that plays along comes second in importance.

The “tracoar”, the person who plays the guitar in flamenco, does a fantastic job of twanging and plucking the guitar strings as well as beating the wood fraction such that it acts as percussion. It is a delight to watch the guitarist in action with the vocalist i.e. the “cantoar” and the “tacoar” as they play off one another thus giving rise to an amazing performance. The “el jaleo” – the name given to the team of people right next to the “tocaor” – applaud, stamp their feet, click their fingers and also call out to the performers especially the dancers or the guitar player.

Flamenco Dance

The flamenco dance is the most attractive aspect of this culture. It is colorful, zealous, and indeed is extremely captivating. Flamenco dance form is not of one kind- 50 “palos” or styles exist and it depends on the individual dance style of that particular dancer. The “palos” differ from one another in form and choreography. The flamenco dancer is expected to comprehend the passionate lyrics of the song as sung by the vocalist and then present them via beautiful and elegant arm gestures. These movements of the body arts oppose the swift movements of the feet that tap on the fo9or as the flamenco dancer sways to the music. Flamenco dance is dependent largely on the personal expression of the dancer, his or her own natural instinct to move his or her body in desired manner to express the vocalist’s message. The basic musical conventions and the rhythms must be abided by no matter what type of improvements the dancer puts in personally.

There are shows where a male and a female figure perform together and this turns out to be the most startling performance for one special evening. Usually, in a duet performance, the zeal, the ecstasy and the intense emotion reaches a palpable form as the figures look straight into each others eyes and remain so throughout the performance. The desire for one another becomes quite apparent in such a show.