Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Flamenco: A Personal Journey (

amsdon Mar 23rd, 2008 08:07 AM

Flamenco: A Personal Journey
For fellow flamenco lovers:

This flamenco documentary filmed in Andalucia is on You Tube in segments by an Italian-American producer/director named Tao Ruspolo.

1. (This one is a preview)

2. Part 1 of 10

Remember there are many "faces" and colors of flamenco, many many levels of interpretation. I personally like all of them,
the most basic and primative (sometimes rough), to the most slick professionals in big venues to the touristy tablaos.
Old school antiguo style to modern cutting edge and even fusion, it is all wonderful. Flamenco can be compared to a spectrum of colors, each interpretation of flamenco should be appreciated individually: one color does not negate or dismiss the other.

Keep an open mind and enjoy this ever changing yet traditional artform.

ekscrunchy Jun 27th, 2008 03:44 PM

Ana: I found your post with a search here. Could I get your opinion on Camaron de la Isla and maybe a recommendation of a CD to buy?

Tu amiga, ekscrunchy

cigalechanta Jun 27th, 2008 04:20 PM

I think Montaya was the greatest flamenco* guitarist. I've seen lots of great *dancers but not on youtube to post.

cigalechanta Jun 27th, 2008 04:34 PM

amsdon Jun 27th, 2008 08:50 PM

Hi Scrunchita & Cigalechanta:

1. Opinon on the cantaor (singer)
Camaron de la Isla?
He is an icon & had a huge
impact on the evolution of
"modern" flamenco. Along with
his equal in the world of
flamenco guitar (& his personal
friend) Paco de Lucia, they
ushered in a new age & ignited
the re-awakening of the
artform. From this point (the
70's) up to his death at age 41
flamenco continued to evolve and
inspire today's artists.
Prior to these two there were
many greats. But these two came
at a critical time when
flamenco was stagnant.

<b>For a 1st CD I would go ahead
and pay the extra $$ for this</b>

<b>and read about him here </b>

<b> and also a special website </b>

Scrunchita I am not the expert on all the newest CDS I have old stuff mostly) But there is no disputing Camaron he was/is the real thing, exuded traditional flamenco yet represented a future for flamencos.

Incidentally you might note in all these articles that the are peppered with the names of some of the touristy tablaos. Again I am always saying to those asking about &quot;authentic&quot; flamenco etc, artists must make a living and many have perfomed on the most touristy of places in Madrid &amp; Andalucia at one time or another. It's a matter of timing that determins if one gets to see (or recogizes ) &quot;it.&quot;

Camaron Biography

and finally good old you tube shows both the giants together:

amsdon Jun 27th, 2008 09:54 PM

Hi Cigale I have enjoyed Carlos Montoya's lps but never saw him in person. I got into flamenco as a teen (70s) and Montoya had already moved from accompanist to mostly solo work by then. I would have loved to have been there so see him accompany La Argentina &amp; Argentinita, even Carmen Amaya (in the 30s/40s??)

His style reflected different times and sometimes created a debate (imagine that just like here on Fodors!) I have several of his albums too.

By the way do they call you MiMi or is that someone else?

amsdon Jun 28th, 2008 07:53 AM

Oops, sorry the biography should be here. You will notice that it mentions a well known tourist trap as the place where he &amp; Paco worked and met (althouh in 68 it was like different) .just goes to show owever flamencos must make a living and you never know where talen will pop up. It's just a matter of timing.

Scrunchita you always get me excited about this topic thank you.

ekscrunchy Jun 28th, 2008 08:01 AM

Ana, thanks! I knew some basics about him and actually spent an hour or so last night watching some performances on YouTube!! Quite a voice! I have been meaning to buy some Cds and will take your advice on this, as on many other things!

hanl Jun 28th, 2008 08:50 AM

I love a good flamenco thread!! :)

Another Camaron album that I would thoroughly recommend is Castillo de Arena.

It was one of the first flamenco albums that I bought just after I started flamenco dancing lessons in 2001 and I think it's very accessible - with the added bonus that el Camaron is accompanied by Paco de Lucia on guitar. It's still one of my favourites - particularly the title track, Como Castillo de Arena.

cigalechanta Jun 28th, 2008 08:59 AM

Hi amsdon, yes, I'm mimi.
I was fortunate to hear both Segovia and montoya here at the Boston Synphony Hall.

amsdon Jun 28th, 2008 09:16 AM

Yes You Tube is so addicting.
But it helps if can get a preview before buying, no?

Camaron is like nobody else.
But he may be too raw for some fodorites (that's flamenco though)
It's hardcore and rough sounding, that was his style and really his soul coming out in song. Paco de Lucia said something about being the &quot;desperation&quot; in his singing.

As one poster,Maria, mentioned in an older post, for those new to flamenco the cante takes some getting used to.

If you are a Fodorite reading this &amp; don't feel that sound is appealing that is ok too. You may change your mind as you get to know flamenco though. Like gospel &amp; blues it is not always pretty sounding.

Here is a quote from an interview with the young singer Arcangel, that might help people understand the place of the singing (cante) in flamenco. The quote is referring to singing for the dancer Eva Yerbabuena.

- - - - - - - - - - --

The interviewer asked:
&quot;What does it feel like to sing for a dancer who transmits so much on stage?&quot;

&quot;....there's no struggle to see whether the chicken or the egg came first, the cante precedes and is the fundamental basis for the dance, and she interprets the cante, she dances the cante....&quot;

- - - - - - - - - - - --

Most observers, especially those seeing flamenco as part of a trip to Spain, do not get this point.
They think it's all about the dance, and they are incorrect, flamenco is all about the cante.

More on Arcangel:

I am discovering more about this singer who, unlike Camaron, is a mere mortal with an angelic voice. I just discovered this clip. Strickly from a dancer's point of view, I love his very strong sense of compas (meter or rhythm). You can see the rhythm flowing out of him as he sings. He is therefore very much a &quot;dancer's singer&quot;. The woman dancing is Rosario Toledo. I would surely see her too if I had the chance. (Fodorites look for these guys on the program if you get to Spain and are looking around at the flamenco venues.)
The cante on this clip is pretty much traditional Alegrias de Cadiz danced with a modern light touch, but very modern movements and accents that are not so predictable as in the old days when all the moves and sections were &quot;announced&quot; by very obvious &quot;calls&quot; . Very exciting without going too modern in IMO.|2249

and a better picure of that incredible vvoice as a soloist
Not everyone can sing this type of thing: Tona

Lastly here's the article on Arcangel:

Hope this is helpful.

amsdon Jun 28th, 2008 09:42 AM


here's the Alegrias with Arcangel singing for Rosario Toledo (I hope)

amsdon Jun 28th, 2008 09:48 AM

MiMI are you living in Boston??
Lucky you!

If you are interested in the Boston flamenco scene why don't you take flamenco class?. It looks like an old dance pal from 20 years ago (La Meira) is teaching there right this minute. Soemthing tells me you would love it. She is American and very good at explaining things.

amsdon Jun 28th, 2008 09:54 AM

Hi Hanl! I hope you are back flamenco dancing now after the baby...?
If I recall you are going to Spain soon? When &amp; where are you going?
You are in Holland, correct?

Here is the album Hanl mentions

ana maria

hanl Jun 28th, 2008 12:30 PM


Still a couple of weeks until baby is due so not much flamenco dancing going on at the moment!! Well I can move my arms OK, but my feet are all swollen so there's no chance they'll fit in my dancing shoes right now :-(

Husband has promised I can have one night a week &quot;for myself&quot; after baby arrives so am planning to start back with the dancing classes in September, if possible anyway! Otherwise will just have to bring baby along - nothing like starting 'em young ;-)

We're planning on going to Seville in the autumn though haven't booked anything yet. And perhaps will add on a few days in Granada - my husband has never been to Andalucia so can't wait to show him some of my favourite places!

We actually live in Brussels (so you were close with Holland!). It's a great place to live if you like flamenco as there is a lot of interest here, plenty of concerts and things to go to (we just saw Eva la Yerbabuena last month). Brussels even has its own Feria every year, the biggest outside of Spain, which is an absolute blast. There are a lot of Spaniards living here and some very established Spanish communities (there's even a misa rociera held every month at one of the big churches in the city) so there is a big market for that sort of thing.

amsdon Jun 28th, 2008 12:40 PM

Wow great!
I have had many friends dance with babies. They will lean good compas that way...

My Belgian friends here in the US just returned from Granada and the the Carmen de la Alcubilla del Caracol. They are still adjusting from the jet lag and have promised to let me know how it all went. I do know they loved this hotel (which I have yet to try)
It was a Maribel recommendation.

Scrunchy aren't you planning a trip too soon to Granada?

amsdon Jun 28th, 2008 12:52 PM

Hanl what did you think of Eva's concert?

hanl Jun 29th, 2008 04:22 AM

Ana Maria, we really enjoyed it, though I did feel it was ever so slightly &quot;serious&quot; - not as much of the playful side of flamenco as I might have liked.
The male dancers that also danced in the show were absolutely excellent - I've never seen such tightly choreographed flamenco, I don't think. They were perfectly in tune with each other.

As for Eva herself - well her style is just beautiful and incredibly expressive.

It was interesting as the week before we had been to see another show called Mujeres, with Merche Esmeralda, Belen Maya and Rocio Molina, who all had extremely different styles - particularly Rocio Molina who danced in a very &quot;modern&quot; way that was quite new to me.

amsdon Jun 29th, 2008 08:34 AM

Hi Hanl.

I totally agree with you. Heavy on the playfulness it was not. &quot;Tight&quot; well very tight indeed. And because Eva Yerbabuena is usually emotionally subtle, yet so technically good, so much of what she does is lost on the general public.

Hanl as you know one only needs to do the same step over &amp; over and the general public eventually bursts into applause. Thankfully artists of this caliber do not repost to these predictable gimmicks. Unfortunately in tablaos or other venues it is common.

As for Rocio Molina, well I am just learning about her. She is so cute with that little face she looks like she could be the babysitter next door. I like all her contradictions: she is so very modern yet clearly had a solid classical background, she is womanly in her proportions and for some reason I always equate the ultra modern style with dancers who are skinny or lean. Don't get me wrong, I love her looking this way and breaking the stereotypes.
I read about her here (Hanl you already saw this I am sure it is for the rest)


her website

and dancing

Hanl I am so glad you are here. I am hoping we can help share &amp; get new information so we and all the folks in Fodorland can enjoy this artform by understanding it better.
It will certainly help when going to Spain or anywhere for that matter.

<b>BTW everyone this is a very &quot;studied&quot; type of flamenco.
More on that topic later.</b>

Enjoy your Sunday flamenco clips. Here is one of the groups Hanl mentioned from the show Mujeres a number not so commonly seen anymore, &quot;Caracoles&quot;

amsdon Jun 29th, 2008 08:54 AM

I meant to say &quot;resort&quot; to, not &quot;repost&quot;.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:50 AM.