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Flamenco History Flamenco

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  • FIRST REFERENCES


    The modulations and melismas that define the flamenco type can come from Islamic single-stringed singings, but others attribute this creation to gypsy people coming from India.
    The first ones to arrive in Spain were uan and Tomas also called Counts from the Minor Egypt, when the king Juan II from Aragon granted them a passing bond.
    Precisely from the name "Minor Egypt" will emerge the world "Gypsy" and the arrival in Andalusia is dated in 1465, November 22.
    The first document describing a gypsy woman and a gypsy man dancing is written by Miguel de Cervantes, on his work piece "La Gitanill", in 1613.
    We cannot forget the existing culture when the "Gypsies" arrived, the psalmodies in the Jewish culture, the Mulsim singings, the traditional Mozarabic songs.
    We think that the first "palo" was "la tona", this singing was not accompanied by a guitar, neither danced and it came from Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera and Triana.
    One of the problems of Flamenco is that its history is passed on orally til years 1900.
    We have Demefilo, who wrote, from 1882 to 1888, the encyclopedia in eleven volumes called "Las Tradiciones Populares Españolas" (Spanish popular traditions). In the first volume we learn about "Fiestas and costumbres andaluzas" (Andalusian holidays and traditions). In 1881 he wrote "Coleccion de Cantes Flamencos" (Flamenco singings collection).
    Demèfilo is the pseudonym of Antonio Machado Alvarez, born in Santiago de Compostela in 1848 and died in Sevilla in 1893. He was a writer, an anthropologist and Spanish folklore expert, first Spanish flamenco expert, father of the poet Antonio Machado. Before him we have very little information about flamenco.

    ORIGIN OF THE WORLD "FLAMENCO"


    Mystery surronds everything connected to the ancient flamenco. This is the same regarding the world "flamenco". They are a lot of theories, but the most accepted belongs to Blas Infante in his work "Orígenes de lo flamenco and secrets of the cante jondo", written in the 20s and published for the first time in 1980. According to him this is an Arabic world and its meaning is "wandering country people" or "Felah-Mengus". Among all the theories we have some interesting ones, like the one provided by Demèfilo, explaining that the gypsies called "gachos" to the Andalusian, and the Andalusian called "Andalusian" to the gypsies, this is a very old denomination.


    GREAT OLD "CANTAORES" or SINGERS


    We believe that the first "cantaor" fo the history was from Jerez, "Tio Luis de la Juliana", but we have no proof of that, we do not have any proof of his life.
    We have to mention "El Planeta", we are not sure if he's born in Bahia de Cadiz, in Puerto Real, but we know that he sang by "Seguiriyas" (his own creation) and by "Tonas".
    His main student was "El Fillo", gypsy from Cadiz, in a relationship with "La Andonda" during many years. She was a woman with a strong character, a drinker and troublemaker, he said about her: "The penknife and the insult were her best friends, her wish to kill or die was clear. She inspired terror like a wolf among the lambs.".
    "La Andonda" was probably the first woman to sing by "Solea", even if we already knew great families of "cantaores" in "Triana", like "Los Pelaos" and "Los Caganchos", also using this "Palo".
    At the very beginning "La Solea" emerged as a danceable singing until the potters of the Sevillan neighborhood began to invent styles without accompaniment, not subject to "compas".
    At this time they also sang by "romances" or "martinetes", styles linked to the "tona".
    At the same time in Jerez and in Los Puertos some important flamenco group are developping, like the great "cantaores" from Jerez "El Loco Mateo", "Manuel Molina", "Diego el Marrurro", "Joaquin Lacherna" or "Mercé la Serreta". Around the "Bahia", "El Ciego la Peña", "Curro Durse", "Enrique el Gordo" or Enrique Jiménez Fernández "El Mellizo" are writing history.
    Nevertheless during this phase, called "secretive" by Ricardo Molina and Antonio Mairena in their book "Mundo y formas del cante flamenco", we don't have a lot of documents and the mystery persists. After that time, everything will change.
    The received inheritance of a kid named Silverio Franconetti, by El Fillo in Morón de la Frontera will be the key for the future of the flamenco.

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