Flamenco or the flamenco song is a relatively new art
form. In fact, there is much doubt as to exactly when
and how it exactly began. All current and received
opinions on its origin and creation are hypothetical.
When flamenco emerged there was no one yet present with
a notebook at hand to document the process. There are
several assumptions, some closer to the truth than
others It is however likely that its origin lays in
Andalucia, and mainly in the south of Andalucia, in the
harbours in and around the city of Cadiz. Seville too,
and mainly the district of Triana, played an important
role. Flamenco has been known there since the end of the
18th century and the last important contribuitions to
the art form were made there towards the end of the 19th
century. These last important songs were created by the
singer Don Antonio Chacón, in the styles of Malagueñas,
Granaínas, Tarantas and Cartageneras.
Although the flamenco as an art form is relatively
young, its roots are found / can be traced to a remote
past very old and distant. Perhaps they stretch
back until to the time of the Tartesos, people that
lived on the river banks of the Guadalquivir at least
1000 years B.C. That town already had a lively
character. A quality that can still be appreciated in
the Andalusians ( Andalusian people ) . The Romans
already contracted artists of Gádes, the present Cadiz,
to perform to the emperor of Rome. There was already
something that one might qualify as typical Andalusian
what you could call typical Andalusian.
The people of Andalucia, highly influenced by Arab and
gipsy presence, were to provide the unique climate in
which an art form like flamenco could emerge and
flourish the Andalusian way of life, with its strong
Arab and gipsy influences was conducive to the birth of
a certain atmosphere, a way of life which would prove
fertile ground for the birth of
an art like flamenco.
this atmosphere flamenco was bound to happen sooner or
later. I often say that flamenco song is the purest
experession of the Andalusian sentiment. Like when the
water in the pot begins to boil. The steam that
came from the pot was what made flamenco song possible
was the base of the flamenco song. Or better still,
which such pressure all around there was no other way
for people to express themselves. To let of steam than
through spontaneous song. Maybe this description is a
bit poetic but I believe it to be a good metaphor.
also believe that out flamenco started in a spontaneous
way and was not premeditated. From the moment of its
spontaneous incipience on that moment the ‘new’
flamencos very intuitively developed rhythms and
melodies that already existed in the folkoric music of
Andalucia, rhythms and melodic structures that one will
find will find in the romances, tonadas, fandangos etc.
The fandangos already existed before flamenco ( insert
came into the world ) but I believe that flamenco
artist took these basic structures and somehow
transformed them into flamenco. I also believe that the
fandangos of Huelva will have sounded almost flamenco.
One does not know if this transformation from Andalusian
folk music to flamenco was something slow or gradual,
or even abrupt.. It is clear however that in the case
of the of soleares, a basic song, we do not know ) where
it came from because it does not have a predecesor. Be
as it may, the fact is that flamenco exists, and that is
most important thing.
More information on the history of flamenco will be
added to this website in the future
is evident that flamenco has undergone great changes
over the last 30 years. In line with to the great
changes in the musical world in general. In Europe the
change began with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and
in the United States with Bob Dylan. In Spain for as far
as the flamenco goes, the change set in with the
flamenco singers Enrique Morente and Camarón de la Isla.
one guitarist who left a distinctive mark on the
flamenco guitar was Paco de Lucía. He brought the music
of the flamenco guitar to the stages of the entire
world. This does not mean that he was the first to play
abroad. Ramon Montoya had already given concerts and
accompanying singers in Argentina, France, Belgium and
England. Sabicas lived and worked in the United States
and famous dancers like Carmen Amaya, the great dancer
Antonio and Vicente Escudero amongst others toured
several countries. Flamenco singers also like Pepe
Marchena, Juanito Valderrama, Pepe el de la Matrona had
done the same.
what Paco de Lucía achieved with his guitar does was
unprecedented. His famous rumba was a radical change to
the flamenco rumba. The way I see it is the
transformation of flamenco by Paco de Lucía and also by
Camarón de la Isla and Enrique Morente in the flamenco
song, was a change for the worse. I do not see quality
in everything what these great artists have done. For
better or for worse, the flamenco was to change, just
like all other things in the world.
do believe that artists should re-evaluate the great
artists the time previous to this era of dramatic
change. In the words of Enrique Morente once
said: Quotation marks needed to take a step ahead one
has to take a step backwards sometimes.
Throughout this Website you will find information about on various flamenco
are interested in seeing other interesting things live, I would recommend the
following : Is probably the best month for travelling through Spain: It is not
as not as steep as in the high season and there is much less tourism. May is the
month of Maria in Spain and especially in Andalucia this is celebrated a variety
of ways, many of which have to do with flamenco / are closely related to the
world of flamenco.
many towns ‘romerías’ are organized. The purest forms can be found in the
province of Huelva. You can find information on dates, times and locations in
all local newspapers. In these romerías all the things normally perceived
to be typical Spanish : There are horse-drawn carriages and people in local
dress singing and playing the guitar. Usually they stop somewhere in an open
field to unfold the their little trestle tables and chairs for a meal folllowed
by plenty of song and dance. The spectator, if he approaches with due respect,
will be welcomed into the group and be invited join in and share the meal and
1970 foto bar Gayango
calle Nuñez de Arce, Madrid
de izquierda a derecha:
1. Pepe el de la Matrona
2. Enrique Morente,
3. Mi Madre,
4. El Payo Humberto
5. Paco Almazán,
6. El pintor Juan Martínez.
Una ilustre foto de la época de los años setenta.
Madrid you can find one of the most famous guitar builders of Spain, the
Guitarerría of Santos Bayón. The guitars of Santos Hernandez were world famous
in his time and continueto be so till the present day. Although the original builder Santos has died many years ago his family have followed in his
footsteps, building both classical and flamenco guitars in the tradition ofthe
great Santos is still continuing the tradtion. They still use the old very workshop in which Santos Hernández
once built his legendary instruments.
Tuesday evening they organize a gathering of guitarists.
are interested in flamenco guitar, it is a very nice place to
visit. You will receive a very warm
welcome. The address is: Guitarerría de Santos Bayón, calle Aduana 23, teléfono,
91 522 95 21, 28013 Madrid (see also photo's Humberto 2007).
are closed on Saturdays and
Sundays.You can find the shopright in the
city centre of Madrid, close to the Puerta de Sol.