From Classical Music to Flamenco

(Continuation of this dark side of History)

Artists in Spain have slaves and are their disciples and helpers. They are in charge of preparing the materials and they start learning. In fact, Juan de Pareja becomes a really famous painter when Velázquez gives him freedom.

Gypsies mixed with black slaves and propably created flamenco equally. However, gypsies are thought to be from Egypt and they have certain respect. Black people are still seen as “others” and they are from the lowest social class. Spain cannot have a black person representing their art, while France and Italy have a more serious and elegant demeanour. 

In a 1700 dictionary the word “fandango” is defined as noisy music with drums and which people from the “Indies” do very well.

This rhythm arrives to Spain and expands widely. It joins other rhythms such as jotas and seguirillas which are today known as “fandango”.

“Fandango”:

“Fanda” in Kikongo, one of the Bantú languages, means party.

“Engó” is a suffix that indicates that the word is African.

The way both gypsies and black people do the dance, the music and the party in the streets is very similar. It is not documented anywhere because they were the lowest social classes. All the rhythm that black people did with drums, gypsies do it with their hands and feet and the rest of the body in flamenco. “Since we can’t touch the drum’s skin, we touch our own skin. Also, the gestures are towards ourselves, it’s not to put on a show, it’s about expressing a feeling”.

The compass of 12 beats (Cuban “clave” 3 x 2) is common and classic from that period. The way to mix and match with the rhythm that the slaves from Africa brought to Spain is what allows the jump from classical music to other rhythms.

In the 19th century flamenco is stablished and there are intelectual people who now say what is authentic and what is not. What they do not like is the freedom of black people while improvising and doing whatever they wanted. The thing is, that is exactly what is essential in flamenco.

Black people have been deleted from the creation of flamenco because of this institutionalisation of flamenco. If it is not cannon, it is not flamenco. On top of this, slaves were not in charge of their own freedom, let alone trying to give them any title…

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