Let’s still talk about Rosalía

The idea of this blog has always been to write about flamenco, and this has not changed. But I have been contemplating for weeks now, whether to write about her. I have asked myself the same questions that the flamenco world has been asking for a while: Is she a flamenco? Is it flamenco what she does? Is it any good what she does? Is it bad what she is doing to flamenco? My answers may not be the same as of the flamenco world’s, but I have decided to write about her, because she is a constant topic among flamencos and as a matter of fact, in entire Spain. Including my Spanish family!

So let’s talk about Rosalía!

Rosalía Vila is a Spanish singer, born in Catalonia in 1993. From the age 20, she has collaborated with flamenco artists, like the guitarists Chicuelo and Alfredo Lagos, and in 2015 she worked with Rocío Márquez on the presentation of her album El Niño, produced by the producer/musician Raül Refree, on the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona. Probably this is how she got to know Raül, who then produced her first album ‘Los Ángeles’ (Angels) in 2016, which made her famous all over Spain instantaneously. The album is versions of flamenco classics sang by Rosalía with the guitar of Raül. She received lots of praise and criticism, but just listen to the song Catalina and decide for yourself. Originally sang by Isabelita de Jerez, this is a re-work, not intended to be pure flamenco. As a lover of flamenco, and my daughter called Catalina, I get goosebumps every time I listen to the song. It’s so beautiful.

In 2018, she released a series of videos on her YouTube channel, (‘Malamente‘ and ‘Pienso en tu mirá‘), which went viral on social media, and were praised for their aesthetics and poetic symbolism. These were the first and third chapters of her new album ‘El Mal Querer’, which tells the story of a toxic relationship through different songs, each being a chapter of the story. It is written and produced by Rosalía, with the collaboration of El Guincho.  The album was released at the beginning of November, together with the single of the eighth chapter of the album, ‘Di mi nombre‘, which is a tribute to the flamenco singer Repompa de Málaga, with a video clip quite experimental and conceptual, all recorded in one sequence! (Breaking news report that it may actually not be one sequence…)

I am not an expert in audiovisuals, but I am surrounded by people who are. I heard from them that the videos were made by famous Spanish producers Canada and Caviar, who have done many spots for TV, and are well known in the advertising/music world. Rosalía described in an interview how the creation happened on different levels: there is the album, the live concerts and the visuals in the videos.

A. says, first, she reminded him of Lana del Rey. I remembered M.I.A.’s Bad girls video when I saw the video of ‘Malamente’. Her inspiration definitely comes from varios artists, and she may have something from all of them. How original is she then? Well, she is definitely moved very well in the marketing world by some professionals, who know what sells well. (Last chapter of the super famous Spanish TV series ‘Cuéntame’ is called ‘Mal querer’. Is it a coincidence!?) But I also think that she created something new in terms of visual presentation and the representation of flamenco in the new waves of music, call it fusion, if you want.

She has been talked about extensively in flamenco circles (let’s not say criticised), because of the way she uses flamenco in her songs, and because of the representation of Andalusian and gipsy cultures in her songs. Her inspiration clearly comes from flamenco, and while lots of other artists are inspired by flamenco, what she has created is different. The aesthetics are beautiful, the songs are fresh, a mix of pop, trap and flamenco. Many songs have the Mellis participating, two twin brothers, professional flamenco singers and “clappers”. While the song ‘Que no salga la luna’ starts exactly the same as a pure flamenco song, you can also hear the sound of brakes, cars and motorbikes marking the rhythm in “De aquí no sales’. Or a tribute to Justin Timberlake’s Cry me a river in ‘Bagdad’! Is this new flamenco then? What is this?

I have to admit, I was very sceptical with Rosalía all through 2018. After the beautiful Los Ángeles album, I did not like the direction she chose with the bad girl image, long nails, guns, trucks, dancing in tracksuit on top of a car…….. The first two videos did not convince me. Then the third one came out, ‘Di mi nombre’, and the family chat was on fire again! Yes, no, beautiful, horrible and so on… my sister in law, C. shared an interview with us, and I heard Rosalía speak for the first time. This interview has changed my mind. I was amazed how she expressed herself, how she explained her ideas, and how this album was her final project in university! My preference in music is still different and I may never become a fan of this new wave, but it cannot be denied, that her projects are new, fresh, very well thought, well designed (well selling!) and executed with nice visual and audio results.

There is pure flamenco and there is new music inspired by flamenco. New is not always nice, but doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. It’s different. I do think that if flamenco is used in projects with this end result, that should only make flamencos proud! Because it shows the beauty of flamenco, taking it to another level and to a different audience. Without pretending to be pure flamenco, this only makes the world of music richer!

 

 

*Correction of the post “Flamenco Festival London” – published on the 30th of October 2018 – is required. I found out on the 11th of November 2018 that the date of the Flamenco Festival in London has been moved to the month of July as of 2019. This means that the program won’t be published and the tickets won’t go on sale until the spring of the same year. Flamencos, a bit more patience… We will get through winter somehow, and then bring on the hot summer London nights packed with flamenco! Olé!

Flamenco Festival London

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As we are approaching the end of October, I find myself checking the website of Sadler’s Wells every other day. Even though I am signed up to their newsletter, and I would receive an email when the new program is announced, I am too excited to lose even a few hours when the announcement is made.

This is the time of the year Sadler’s Wells, THE dance theatre of London, announces the line up for next year’s Flamenco Festival, and tickets go on sale. The festival always takes place in February*, over the course of a week, with the majority of the shows on the main stage of Sadler’s Wells, and some of the smallest shows in the Lilian Baylis studio, right next to Sadler’s Wells.

Since 2013 I have been to the festival every single year to see all of the shows I was interested in and could afford. The two are never the same…

But what is the Flamenco Festival?

The Flamenco Festival is the initiative of a gentleman called Miguel Marín, who realised -while studying in New York around 2000 – that there was a lack of flamenco in town, when there would actually be interest. I heard him tell the story in one of the radio interviews he gave, when presenting that year’s program and the destinations where they bring the festival. Throughout the years, this initiative has expanded, and the festival got to several locations, on different continents even.

The very first Flamenco Festival was in New York, then it came to London in 2003, which means that this year, in 2018, they celebrated the 15-year-anniversary of the festival in the British capital. Then Japan and Brazil was added to the destinations for a few years, but on the long run, the US and UK festivals continue only. They incorporated in the tour different cities within these countries though: Miami in the US and Manchester in the UK.

I found it interesting listening to Miguel talk about the beginnings of something so big and established now, when it was just an idea of a flamenco aficionado roughly 20 years ago. How he started planning to bring the artists from Spain, to create a program, to get funding, to organise and manage logistics, accommodation, venues, fees etc. With the overall and long term objective in mind to bring flamenco – represented by contemporary artists – to different parts of the world.

Funnily, I also looked into the options of bringing flamenco artists to London, when I quit my job in the city (and was in the process of re-inventing myself), but I found it extremely difficult and complex. My idea was to bring less known and established artists, within the frame of something much smaller and rather intimate, possibly combining the shows with dance and clapping courses, Spanish lessons…

Although I am a big fan of the Flamenco Festival, I do think that it is a platform for rather established artists, who can fill up an entire theatre with the ticket sales. The organisers must have their reasons behind this, which I am not here to argue. It was nice to see that this year they already had their own production too (I believe for the very first time) : Carmen Linares, Arcángel and María Heredia singing together (and individually) in the The Tempo of Light. This was specifically created for the Flamenco Festival, and was most certainly an interesting idea. I like all three artists individually, but this collaboration was not quite my cup of tea.

In the past 5 years, I have enjoyed many concerts of the festival and I am grateful to the festival for bringing all these people to the February cold of London*. I have enjoyed the concerts of so many people! I have seen dance Eva, La Yerbabuena, Mercedes Ruiz, Farruquito, Manuel Liñán, Rocío Molina, Israel Galván, Isabel Bayón, Patricia Guerrero, Belén Maya and last, but not least, La Chana! I was lucky to hear El Lebrijano sing the year he died, I heard sing Miguel Poveda, Arcángel, Antonio Reyes, Estrella Morente, Esperanza Fernandez and I heard play Tomatito and Gerardo Núñez. This is just the list of artists I have seen, the list of artists performing at the festival is so much longer! Just to mention some: Olga Pericet, Jesús Carmona, Vicente Amigo, Ana Morales, Leonor Leal, Alba Molina, Marco Flores, Sara Baras, Antonio Canales, Rafaela Carrasco, Rocío Márquez, Ángel Muñoz, the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía and so on.

The 2019 program is not published yet. I wish I could already share the shows that I will go to (and at the same time, give a shout out to all available baby sitters for those nights), but for now, I can only encourage all Londoners, to keep an eye out for the new program and the tickets!

*Correction of this article – published on the 30th of October 2018 – is required. I found out on the 11th of November 2018 that the date of the Flamenco Festival in London has been moved to the month of July as of 2019. This means that the program won’t be published and the tickets won’t go on sale until the spring of the same year. Flamencos, a bit more patience… We will get through winter somehow, and then bring on the hot summer London nights packed with flamenco! Olé!

Masterclass on how to combine education with tradition

There are people in the world, whose work makes a difference in other people’s lives. Today I want to talk about one of these people.

Ángeles Acedo López.

Ángeles is a psychologist in Marchena, Andalusia. 25 years ago she created ‘El Roete, Asociación Cultural’, a cultural association called “The Bun”. This non-profit organisation has two functions: 1) promoting flamenco 2) by using it as a tool in the social & emotional education of children aged between nursery and secondary school. The aim is to bring flamenco closer to children by showing them that it is not only an art form from the past, but it is vivid and alive! Through day to day examples, they bring flamenco to the children’s territory, and help them realise that flamenco is around them in all shape and form, even if they don’t know about it. A good example is Rosalía, who is popular among the youth, but they wouldn’t necessarily know that her songs from the album ‘Los Ángeles’ are versions of old flamenco songs. Through someone they know and like, they are introduced to flamenco artists and they learn about the art itself. Collaboration with local artists, like Dani de Morón, brings live music to the sessions, and at the same time, by simply discussing the places Dani goes on tour, children discover new countries and cities. The learning process is through someone who is familiar and close to them, without the constraints of a school class.

Teaching is done in various forms: in workshops, in the El Roete centre in Marchena, and on visits around Andalusia, where El Roete bring their different projects. Local artists often collaborate in these projects. The use of social media, like Facebook and Youtube is part of the communication channels, and exchange of ideas through them is encouraged between the participating children.

Besides the promotion of flamenco, they also use flamenco as a tool in the emotional education of children. Handling emotions is difficult, a map of emotions contains more than 300 types of different emotions. But when at the beginning of their sessions, children are asked how many emotion types they can identify, they mostly say two: happiness and sorrow. This can be greatly improved with these sessions and they can successfully name many more afterwards. Methods include recognising emotion types heard in the different songs or trying to associate feelings with the different ‘palos’ or song forms. However, the opposite direction is also used in teaching. With which ‘palo’ would you express this feeling? El Roete teach the younger generations about the different flamenco forms and what they are about. Children from bigger towns, like Seville, may find more familiar the urban song forms like alegrías or rumbas, and children from the countryside, may understand and enjoy better the abandolaos and fandangos originated in the villages. Sessions are always practical, never theoretical. Ángeles explains that rather than flamenco becoming a school subject, they prefer having flamenco as an extracurricular activity, so that it doesn’t become an obligation for the kids, something they have to prepare and study for.

Ángeles and her colleagues have also created a small competition around every fifth anniversary of the association, whereby people are asked to design a poster for El Roete, and winners are rewarded with small prizes.

I find absolutely fascinating what Ángeles and El Roete do. Education is key in the upbringing of children, but there is actually little or no time spent on social and emotional education. Doing this through their local tradition is extraordinary! They teach children about emotions and expressions via their local customs and traditions. Flamenco is present in Andalusia. Not everyone is interested or actually likes it, but everyone hears it in the radio, on concerts and festivals, on local events, parties and weddings, and possibly even listens to it at home. Children have a general idea about flamenco, and this is enhanced, further trained and used in their emotional education. There are many ways of promoting art, but there is nothing more future proof than introducing it to the younger generations and help them create their identity through their local history and traditions.

Combining education with tradition seems to me exceptionally brilliant.

I raise my hat to Ángeles and her crew.

Rocío Molina

Rocío Molina  deserves a post without any further explication.

Contemporary flamenco dancer, who “reinvented flamenco” – according to 1843 (the magazine of The Economist). I only decided to write about her now, when I heard her big news: she is expecting! Why is this relevant on a flamenco blog? Oh, for so many reasons. Before I explain, let’s talk a bit about who she is.

Rocío is a flamenco dancer from Málaga, born in 1984 to a former ballet dancer mom and a chef dad. At 17, she graduated with Honours at the Royal Dance Conservatory in Madrid and danced in professional flamenco companies for a while, including the one of María Pages, but soon started her solo career. She presented her first work “Among the walls”  (Entre paredes) at the age of 22, which was strongly criticised by the traditional flamenco world. This was followed by many more self-creations such as “Turquoise as a lemon” (Turquesa como el limón, 2006), “Old Gold” (Oro Viejo, 2008), “When stones fly” (Cuando las piedras vuelen, 2009), “Affections” (Afectos, 2012), “Ardora’s forest” (Bosque ardora, 2014), and “Fallen from Heaven” (Caida del Cielo, 2016). I was lucky to see a few of them in Spain and in London, in the Barbican; my absolute favourite being “Affections” with Rosario, La Tremendita (the favourite flamenco artist of my friend X.).

The first official recognition came in 2006 with the “Dancer of revelation” title from the critic “Flamenco Today” (Flamenco Hoy), and many other awards followed. Just to mention a couple: in 2008, she received the Giraldillo Award for Best Choreography and Best Dancer Award in the Seville Bienal, and in 2010, she received the Spanish National Award for Dance from the Ministry of Culture. More interestingly, after her performance of Old Gold in the New York City Center, Mikhail Baryshnikov kneeled before her at the door of her dressing room! And if this wasn’t enough, in 2017, the Spanish newspaper ‘El Mundo’ included her in their list of 50 most influential homosexuals in Spain.

My personal preference has always been the more traditional flamenco dance, but I have always said that the talent, innovation and courage of people like Rocío Molina and Israel Galván, have to be acknowledged and respected. They are geniuses of our times in a way, whether they are understood, accepted or liked…

If it’s possible to top all this,  she has done it with her latest creation, ‘Grito Pelao‘. This production is about maternity, becoming a mother – in this case, a single mother – with all the fears and excitement that this entails; it is also a tribute to women giving birth every single day, and an homage to life itself. People ask all sorts of questions: But isn’t she lesbian? And isn’t she single? Yes and yes, but does that really matter? Without going into her personal choices in life, I want to talk about this. We can talk about this, because she talks about it in her show, in her performance. Artists always say that their way of expressing themselves is in their art, therefore their creations will always be personal and unique(!). This latest show of Rocío is special, even exceptional. Not only because she dances while being pregnant. Obviously, you cannot compare, but I have also danced when I was expecting my daughter K. When one’s body is used to regular dancing, then dancing can be continued, having taken the obvious precautionary steps. It is not necessary to stop right away: the intensity can be lowered, the steps can be changed, the moves can be softened. In Rocío’s case, the jumps can be eliminated. This is what Rocío has done. She created this show, before actually getting pregnant, when she was dreaming about becoming a mother, and when she got pregnant, she adapted the show, so that she can continue dancing it.

I think it is special, exceptional and fascinating, because as a contemporary art production from a contemporary artist, it places into a contemporary scene the eternal topic of maternity. A gay single woman’s journey towards maternity makes us think about IVF and single parenthood. We may agree or not, we may like it or not, but this exists, now, in our lives, in the XXI. century. There are women who dream about becoming mothers, even if they are single; there are gay men and women, who dream about becoming parents, even if they don’t have a man or woman in their lives. And there is IVF: a solution for them and for many other “traditional” couples, who are having difficulties. But no one talks about this, or not much at least. Not even in modern, open London.

I do believe that the way forward is via communication and transparency in all areas of life. We talk about this at home with my husband, I talk about this on forums at work.

Now, I am not trying to open Pandora’s box and talk about something that I have no idea about. I just want to draw attention to people, like Rocío Molina, who are raising awareness, even if this is not their/her primary intention. Rocío is just expressing her feelings and her fears through the art she knows (and is so good at!), and I like that. Saying that, I have not seen the show (yet). I only read reviews, saw videos, heard flamenco critics and flamenco radio programs talk about it, heard Rocío, Lola and Silvia talk about it. In the production, besides the mother of Rocío, Lola Cruz, the singer Silvia Pérez Cruz and a 4th lady participate (I suppose a guitarist, but there was always a bit of secrecy in the interviews about this 4th person, so I am not 100% sure who she is). Considering the fact that Rocío is 7 months now, I may not see this production in its current shape and form, so I can only wish for one thing:

Long continue the career of Rocío, so we get to enjoy more of her spectacular creations!

Chapeau, mon amie.

Andalusia Flamenco

Is it a Hungarian tradition? A Catholic tradition? Or perhaps a Hungarian Catholic tradition? I am not entirely sure about the origin, but we most certainly go to the cemetery frequently, and bring flowers to our lost beloved ones. I grew up with this tradition and I find it a nice way of remembering our people. I also find comfort and piece in the process itself: going to the cemetery, buying flowers, refilling the vase with water, taking a walk under the big trees providing shadow on a sunny summer afternoon, while thinking of the person, whose tomb I am visiting. My memories are mostly from the cemetery in my hometown Szombathely, but in the past few years, I combined this tradition with my flamenco interest, and whenever we are in Spain visiting my in-laws, we take trips visiting Andalusian towns and it’s cemeteries. We walk around the town, looking for memories of the artists, have a coffee at the main square and visit the cemetery. I like getting to know the atmosphere of these little towns and villages, imagine the flamencos sitting at the same square, walking the same streets. It’s not only sightseeing but paying a visit/tribute to the flamenco artists, either alive or already passed away.

This is how I first went to San Fernando in Cádiz, to see the resting place of José Monje Cruz, or better known around the world as Camarón de la Isla (San Fernando is also known as ‘La Isla’, The Island). Camarón’s tomb is a piece of art. There is a massive statue above the grave, remembering Camarón at its best, singing. It felt special being there, in a small cemetery of a small town, somewhere in south Spain, and stand beside the memory of a flamenco legend, known all over the world for his voice and his revolution in flamenco. Cliché but true: music knows no borders. Felipe Benítez Reyes, the poet and this year’s ‘pregón’ of the Bienal of Flamenco, put this much nicer in his opening speech of the Bienal: “music makes us universal by allowing us to fly through space and time”.

Besides the cemetery, we also visited the Venta de Vargas, which is the restaurant outside San Fernando, where Camarón started singing as a boy. The place has not only kept its original function as a restaurant, but also serves as a museum of Camarón; full of his memories, fotos, cards and flamenco in the air. I recently heard that the Venta also participates in a festival organised in San Fernando, called ‘La Isla, Ciudad Flamenca’ (“The Island, City of Flamenco”). The festival celebrated its fifth edition this year, starting at the end of July with flamenco concerts throughout the whole month of August; the Venta de Vargas being one of the locations.

Throughout the years, we have visited many places in Andalusia: Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera, Chipiona, Utrera, Lebrija, Algeciras, Granada. Nothing compares to a coffee on the streets of Utrera, a vermut in la Plazuela in Jerez, or a ‘pescaito frito’ (fried fish) in Cádiz.

Next stop: Morón de la Frontera!

The finishing thought is a quote from the singer, David Lagos. I came across this quote on the photo blog of Rubén Camacho, whose day job is lighting technician in theatres and festivals, and he has a photo blog. The post on David starts with this thought that connects here brilliantly:

“In singing, the cemetery is a must visit, but never a place to live.”

La Bienal de Flamenco 2018

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The summer of 2018 will always be remembered in the UK for its exceptional weather: temperature above 30 degrees for long weeks without rain, wind or any disturbing factor. They called it “extended heatwave”. I call it my best summer in London. We have spent every single day outside, in parks, gardens, on the English seaside, bathing in the sea(!), having a brilliant time. There was clearly no time for blog writing. Now, with autumn around the corner, I am back. The days are shorter, more time is spent inside again, in front of screens. So what better topic to come back with, than the Bienal of Flamenco! Although summer is over, there is nothing to be sad about, the Bienal is just starting!

As it’s name suggests, the Bienal is a flamenco festival organised bi-annually, in Seville. It started in 1979 and with time, it has grown into one of the biggest (if not the biggest) flamenco festivals in Spain, celebrating its XX. edition this year. It provides an excellent opportunity for singers, dancers and guitarists, be world famous or only at the start of their career, to present their latest creations in the different theatres of Seville throughout the month of September. Artists representing the pure, more traditional flamenco perform side by side with the artists representing a more innovative, new flamenco.

In recent years, the festival started to invite artists to prepare a choreography for a flashmob, which opens the Bienal. This is distributed well in advance, so everyone can learn the steps and dance along the people in Seville. This year’s choreography is from dancer Jose Galán, and it draws our attention to the importance of diversity, inclusion and tolerance. The flashmob will actually be performed by the statue of tolerance.

Throughout September, the theatres of Seville fill up with flamenco ‘aficionados’, fans of flamenco from all over the world, and the air is filled with ‘compás‘, the rhythm of flamenco. If you ever have the chance to go, do not hesitate for a moment. Go and enjoy the gathering of flamencos, the late night concerts and the special atmosphere of the Bienal!

The festival finishes with the distribution of the ‘Giraldillo’. This is the award of the festival given in various categories (singing, dancing, guitar, best show, best moment, best choreography, innovation etc.) and it is regarded as a prestigious reward within the flamenco world.

The website has the full programme and updates are posted on all social media (worth to check out, especially if one cannot be there…):

Instagram

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

If I had the time and money, I would probably go to every single show and spend the entire month in Seville : going from show to show, enjoying the late nights and the farewell to summer amid the smell of the orange trees in the Alameda. But until the time arrives of me having time and money, here is my “shortlist” for the 2018 Flamenco Bienal of Seville:

7 Sept – Israel Galván: Arena

9 Sept – Inés Bacán & Niño de Gines: Cien años de arte

9 Sept – Patrícia Guerrero: Distopía

10 Sept – Argentina: Hábitat

11 Sept – José Valencia: Bashavel

12 Sept – Lebrija, Luna Nueva. Al arte de su vuelo. XX. edición

13 Sept – Flamencos de la tacita. Al arte de su vuelo. XX. edición

14 Sept – Alfredo Lagos: Sonanta Club

14 Sept – El Granaíno: Granaíno Jondo

16 Sept – María Terremoto: La huella de mi sentío

17 Sept – Compañía Mercedes Ruiz: Tauromagia

18 Sept – Tomasito & Gipsy rappers

18-19 Sept – Rocio Molina& Sílvia Pérez Cruz: Grito pelao

19 Sept – Compañía de Israel Galván con Pastora Galván: La edad de oro

19 Sept – Tomás de Perrate: Soleá sola

20 Sept – Rafael Rodríguez: Dejándome llevar

20 Sept – La savia del tronco “Utrera”

20 Sept – Bolita Big Band: Caótico

21 Sept – David Carmona: Un sueño de locura

21 Sept – Compañía María Pagés: Una oda al tiempo

22 Sept – Santiago Lara: Una guitarra de dos caras

22 Sept – Tomatito: Viviré

23 Sept – Antonio Rey & Diego del Morao: Guitarras de Jerez

23 Sept – Leonor Leal: Nocturno

25 Sept – María Moreno: De la concepción

26 Sept – David Lagos: Hodierno

27 Sept – Tía Juana La del Pipa, Remedios Amaya, Juana Amaya: Gitanas. Al arte de su vuelo. XX. edición

27 Sept – La Moneta: Granada solo tiene salida por las estrellas

28 Sept – Ana Morales: Sin permiso

28 Sept – Rosalía: Rosalía

29 Sept – Compañía Eva Yerbabuena: Cuentos de azúcar

29 Sept – Isabel Bayón: Yo soy

30 Sept – Nano de Jerez & Anabel Valencia: Cien años de arte

30 Sept – Dorantes: La roda del viento (with the one and only Javi Ruibal!)

Global world with global responsibility

Migration and immigration have recently become burning issues all over the world, even though they are not new topics. People have always been moving around the world in smaller or bigger numbers, from south to north or east to west, for one reason or another.

The books about the history of flamenco talk about the different possible routes how the gipsies – originally from India – reached Andalusia. Via land through Turkey and Europe or via land and sea, through Africa and through the Mediterranean. This was the first major migration relating to the people of flamenco and at that time, they were not even called flamencos yet, they were just people moving in the world. After this journey, as the gipsies settled down in Andalusia and their culture mixed with the locals and the local traditions, flamenco evolved and surged.  Throughout history, people of flamenco had to leave their homes many times in the search of a better life (and mostly simply for survival). Famous example of migration is the one around the Spanish Civil war. Lots of people, including the flamencos, left Andalusia when the Spanish Civil war started, and many of them settled down in Catalonia. They are called ‘charnegos’ in Spanish. Flamenco examples of the people leaving Spain in 1936, at the start of the Spanish Civil, are Carmen Amaya, the gipsy dancer from Barcelona and Sabicas, the gipsy guitarist from Pamplona. During the ’30’s and ’40’s they first toured together South & Central America, then the United States, and while Carmen Amaya returned to Spain a decade later, in 1947, Sabicas settled in New York permanently, and didn’t even visit his native Spain until 1967.

Sometimes, circumstances of life force us give up our current lives. Be it a desired change, or not! No one can be blamed for fleeing war or poverty, or for wanting to have a better life for themselves and for their children.

Some of us were lucky to be born in a country where there is no war or poverty, and some of us even had the luck of having parents who wanted and could care for us. But not everybody. Turning away from these people, building fences and walls, separating children from their parents, is not the solution. Over the past decades, the world has become global. We know now what’s happening around the world, because technology allows us to have connection and communication with distant parts of the world, not to mention the possibility of travelling there.

This is why I strongly believe that we should all realise that the responsibility is also global! The ones in a better position must help the ones in need.

After all, we are all humans.

Londro – Yo vengo de Hungría

(The song is a mariana sang by a singer from Jerez, his name is El Londro and he sings “I come from Hungary with my caravan searching for life”. The original was sung by Bernardo de los Lobitos, but I really like this version too. Interesting to think that the song could be about me, as well.)