“Crónica Jonda” is the first book of the journalist Silvia Cruz Lapeña. It is the story of her flamenco journey, sharing her thoughts and experience about flamenco and its artists, talking about her impression around flamenco events, mixing it up with family stories and sometimes even with her opinion on local politics.
I find it an interesting read: contemporary, relevant, from a female writer, written in an easy-going style (and easy to understand style – especially for foreigners- unlike José Manuel Caballero Bonald…).
Based on the book, she has also published a podcast series, proof to me how contemporary and up-to-date she is with the latest trends. The podcast is called “Crónicas Jondas”, it’s easy to find on iOS devices in the Podcasts app, or for Android devices, you can download the iVoox app or Podium Podcast (who actually published it).
The title of the book/podcast is difficult to translate as it uses the word “jondo” which has no English translation. “Jondo” is a flamenco specific word, coming from the word “hondo”, which means deep and according to the RAE (Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy), it refers to the gypsy version of an Andalusian song. In flamenco, they refer to the old, more traditional style with the word “jondo” and Silvia’s are supposed to be stories of these. However, I feel there is a game with words there too, as she is nothing but old or traditional. She may represent traditional flamenco but she looks at it through XXI. glasses, she is open and inclusive.
The podcast has been published recently, and it only has 6 episodes. I really like the format of the episodes, because they are only 30-minute-long, I listened to all of them while washing the dishes in the evenings.
The content is brilliant, because it’s not only flamenco related, but it looks at flamenco from a fresh perspective. I am also reading the book and while I see topics discussed in the book, the podcasts are different, they share new information, they have interviews with artists and some music too. (Not as much music as regular listeners are used to from other flamenco podcasts like “Duendeando” or “Nuestro flamenco”, but to be fair, they are both one hour long and serve a whole different purpose. Two years ago I have already written about those podcasts, link to my previous post here).
A few examples of the content: in Episode 06, Silvia talks about the role and importance of the rhythm and percussion in flamenco. Funny, I also wrote a post about this earlier (link here) because I agree that although the percussionists, clappers and cajón are in the background, they form an essential part of today’s flamenco. Episode 06 about the “magicians in the shadow”, as Silvia calls them, also has interviews with artists, including our friend, Javi Ruibal, percussionist of the pianist, David Dorantes. We can also listen to parts of his new solo album, “Sólo un mundo” (‘There is only one planet’).
Episode 05 talks about the siblings of famous flamencos, like the brother of Camarón, Jesús, or the little brother of La Niña de los Peines, Arturo. How is life when your brother/sister is a famous flamenco? Does it benefit you, or on the contrary?
Episode 02 discusses the role of women in flamenco, starting at the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century, showing us how this evolved over time. The physical aspect of the dancers was so important in the past, that they even explained the success or failure of a show with that…
No teaser for Episodes 01, 03 and 04, I let you discover them.
The cherry on top…
… is that the podcasts are also available on Spotify under Crónicas Jondas, and Silvia has also created a playlist for the episodes that can be found under the playlists of SilviaCruzFlamenca. They include background songs from the podcasts and songs, artists she talks about in the podcasts. The added bonus are the images of the episodes of the podcast on Spotify (not the playlists). Beautiful and meaningful images.
Go and listen to the podcasts and the playlists, as I always say, you won’t regret it!