Flamenco Music and Dance
Some purists disapprove of the fashionable attempts to blend flamenco with other music styles like jazz, blues, rock and pop music. But it’s no wonder that so many young people embrace it wholeheartedly. Apart from songs delivered from different regions such as fandangos from Huelva, alegrias from Cadiz, there are broadly speaking two main styles in Flamenco: the "jondo" - profound and serious, the cry of people oppressed for many centuries; and the "chico" - happy, light and often humorous. The song lyrics are the most important as it is considered to be the source which gives inspiration to the guitar playing and the dance.
Flamenco dance is by nature oriental, so it is fundamentally different from other well established European dance forms. Complex rhythmic patterns are created by a sophisticated footwork technique and elegant arm and hand movements. The flamenco dancer wears special shoes or boots with dozens of nails driven to the soles and heels. The women wear long, colourful, gipsy style dresses with many frills. Perhaps the best way to become familiar with the complexities of flamenco singing and sentiment, is by going to a "tablao" (flamenco show), a flamenco club (peña) or to one of the countless festivals that are organised every summer, such as the Bienal del Arte Flamenco in Seville, the Vela de la Fuensanta in Córdoba and the Fiesta de la Bulería in Jerez.
The Sacromonte gypsy caves at Granada, though very tourist-orientated, provide an unforgettable experience and there are many other flamenco meetings and associations throughout the region. Andalusia is a place that burns with life, colour, and romance. A place of music and dancing, of plucked guitar strings, the snapping of fingers and the stamping of feet. All this together creates the wonderful culture we know as Flamenco.