FLAMENCO EN BREVE
Flamenco es sentimiento, es hondura; un arte que nació en la baja Andalucía, al sur de España. Es un arte muy ligado al pueblo gitano. Además, es un arte a la vez complicado y compleja, un arte que el UNESCO denominó "Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la Humanidad."
Se ve como actuación en el escenario, sino también es parte de la vida cuotidiana, especialmente para los gitanos, que les suelen cantar en cualquier celebración o simplemente al final de un día laboral o en un bar, con amigos. Una persona empieza a cantar y lo demás contribúan ritmo - con palmas, o pegando la mesa con las manos. Si alguien tiene una guitarra, hay que tocarlo y si otra persona sabe bailar, cuando entra bien en el cante, se va a bailar.
Hablo aquí del flamenco tradicional, el flamenco de raíz, el flamenco puro y no el flamenco fusión ni el flamenco moderno que hoy día se ve mucho en los escenarios fuera de la Andalucía (y a veces, dentro también).
Otra definición: flamenco es un arte en que el aspeto más importante es la profundidad de la emoción expresado. Se dice que no se puede cantar flamenco si no has sufrido - y si no eres dispuesto a revelar este sufrimiento al p&uactue;lico.
Esta emoción se expresa con un vocabulario músical, ritmico y de baile específico. El cante es el elemento más importante. The song, music and dance are most often broken into units of 12 beats in uneven but repeated meter - so, for example, the form can go 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, or 2, 2, 2, 3, 3. The singer - called cantaor - needs to keep to the 12 beats but can slow them down or speed them up at will; and the musical accompaniment must follow the singer. The songs are a combination of memorized "traditional" verses (some of them very old) and newly minted verses that are passed from one singer to another. So long as s/he keeps to the tune and rhythmic pattern of a specific flamenco form, the singer can sing whatever verses s/he pleases.
The music consists of rhythmic accompaniment and often, a guitar; but no other instrument if its traditional flamenco. For the guitar, the music favors certain specific chords and chord progressions; I've been told they're called "frizian." The guitarist's chief role is to accompany: first and foremost the singer and secondarily, the dancer. However, at the very beginning and, if there is no dancer, at any time that the singer allows it, the guitarist can play a small solo, often improvised.
If there is a dancer, s/he must also follow the singer when that person is singing, but there will also almost always be a section (the escobilla) where the singer stops but the music continues, and this is where the dancer leads, where the dancer can show off his or her stuff. In addition, at the beginning of a dance, right after the guitarist's opening solo, the dancer has a similar, short section where there is no singing and where the dancer is supposed to shine.
FLAMENCO, FLAMENCO FUSIÓN el y NUEVO FLAMENCO
The main confusion between flamenco, flamenco fusion, and modern flamenco is that performers executing flamenco fusion and modern flamenco don't call their performance by its proper name. They simply refer to it as "flamenco;" some out of ignorance and some, because the term "flamenco" sells more tickets. As a result, you see performances where the cajón drum is used, or a flute or piano that call themselves "flamenco." You see dancers that are clearly using movements from modern dance, or hip hop, or dancers who perform without a singer, and yet they are calling this "flamenco."
In some cases, this misnomer comes from confusion: there is so much emphasis in flamenco on the emotion that some performers feel as long as they are full of true emotion, what they are performing is "flamenco." This is partly due to the world-wide popularity of flamenco, because as you move further from its source in Spain, there is more of a chance of the connection to the tradition being broken. I have heard people call themselves flamenco cantaors - flamenco singers - that couldn't even speak Spanish. Here they were, passionately singing verses that they couldn't even understand. It is very strange.
In the final analysis, as one of the experts in our documentary has said, flamenco has an "odor." If you see something and it doesn't smell like flamenco, it's not flamenco. Our documentary has lots of flamenco in it, so by the time you've watched it, you should have a much better idea of what flamenco really is. And I think you will find it very moving.