Pure Authentic Andalusian Flamenco
The subject of this article is pure authentic Andalusian flamenco.
Most people will probably disagree with my ideas.
Some will quite dislike me and others might feel that they hate the principal that I am promoting.
Essentially what I will be saying is that I love Andalusia.
I love flamenco and I find it to be absolutely perfect without adding any other modern influences.
People can do whatever they want but why change it if it is already perfect.
That, I am proud to say, makes me rather brave.
It is easy to say what everyone else is saying.
Difficult to be different.
This is especially so nowadays where I see huge intolerance.
We live in a time where people become furious when they hear something that they do not agree with.
I will also state from the start:
I am not some great erudite academic professor.
I have no interest in giving my time to what is called research which much of the time is what someone else chooses to believe.
I say what I feel in my heart to be true.
In this current intolerant climate, I state that I am absolutely convinced that flamenco comes from Andalusia, Spain.
Andalusia, of course needs some definition.
Geographically it is the region of the South of Spain.
Culturally, Andalusia and by extension flamenco is rather more complex.
Flamenco from Andalusian people, not composers.
Flamenco, I have no doubt originated with the people of Andalusia.
It was not the individual creations of great composers.
There are Spanish composers who maybe liked flamenco.
They may indeed have found inspiration from flamenco, but they did not compose it.
The Andalusian people developed this sound, mood that we now call flamenco as a means to express their feelings.
Feelings of joy and of sorrow.
Who are the people of Andalusia?
If you agree with my premise that flamenco is of the Andalusian people, perhaps I should attempt a definition of these people.
This will lead to some disagreement.
Not all people will have the same idea.
In fact, I am tempted to ask rather what are the cultural influences in Andalusia.
The reason for this alternative approach is that you might say that the people are Andalusian, end of.
You may not accept that much mixture of ethnicities has ever taken place.
Or at least it is rare.
What I mean is that some people may feel that they are the result of a mixture of ethnicities but for others maintaining the purity of their ethnicity is important.
Hence the better question might be what are the cultures that have helped to shape the Andalusian character that is present in flamenco.
It is typical to name the following cultures:
Most of Spain and especially Andalusia was occupied and ruled by the Moors for more than 7 centuries.
At the same time and continuously there has been a Sephardic Jewish culture
Gipsies settled in Spain and again especially in the South
The simple term Spanish is a tricky one.
I guess it means the people of Spain who do not pertain to any of the other cultures.
Although it may be difficult to ascertain the degree to which each culture has contributed to flamenco, I feel that they all have to a lesser or greater extent.
Therefore, we can suggest that flamenco right from its origins is a music from a mixture of cultures.
We could possibly say that it was never exclusively Spanish.
That it had no one single ingredient.
Was there a main ingredient and if so, do we know which of these it was?
Towards a definition of Pure Authentic Andalusian Flamenco
Those people who do not share my feelings often offer a not entirely poor approach.
They argue that if flamenco was the result of the interweaving of different cultures why should there be any limitation on modern day cultural contributions.
Before I get to my attempt at a long academic type response let me say: I cannot see the point in all this modern stuff; it sounds horrible.
I like (love) flamenco flamenco and I really do not need anything added on.
I guess I am a little like those people who like their coffee straight black.
They don’t need any vanilla, chocolate, froth or anything else.
At the end of the day, I would say flamenco is fantastic.
Why on earth would I add anything to it.
Andalusian Culture Creates Flamenco
Here, for me is the key.
I think that although the Moorish, Jewish and Gipsy people were not originally from Spain they probably did become an integral part of Spanish Andalusian culture.
Hence, they may not have abandoned their own style of music, their own mode of expression.
However, it does seem as if there was a marriage of cultures, not a separation of people by ethnicity.
If I have got this right then when referring to a Gipsy it is important to say “Gitano Andaluz”, not just Gitano.
The gipsy culture does not seek to keep a distance from non- Gipsy culture.
In fact, quite the opposite.
The “Gitano Andaluz” is a key contributor to the development of flamenco.
I will not spend too much time on this here because it is a subject for another post.
However, I will say that flamenco comes from the people of Andalusia, including all these aforementioned ethnicities.
This is what I mean by Pure Authentic Andalusian Flamenco.
Certainly, flamenco does not come from any other country in the world.
I do not enjoy fusions and mixtures with musics from other countries.