Podcasts

blog foto Podcasts

I’m not a person of technology. I’m just hoping to keep up with the changes and innovations to understand what’s happening around me. Therefore I will be eternally grateful to my friend N. – one of the two biggest music fans I have ever met in my life, the other one being my sister-in-law, C. – who showed me years and years back: podcasts. I used to listen to my favourite radio programs live or stream previous episodes via the website of the radio that sometimes worked, sometimes they didn’t.

So podcasts were a revolutionary discovery! They can easily be accessed if you have the podcast app downloaded to your phone (on Apple for sure, but must be similar, if not the same for Android…). Without trying to give technological advice on how to download the app etc., let’s move on to the content!

There are 3 podcasts I regularly listen to:

1. Duendeando: every Saturday and Sunday at 5pm (UK time) on RNE3 (Spanish national radio, channel 3) with Teo Sanchez. The program of flamingos and pelicans (‘flamencos y pelicanos’). A witty game with the words representing an always reliable program to broadcast quality music, interesting guest artists and entertaining conversations. It gives an update on the new albums, upcoming festivals and events from the flamenco world. Best to enjoy with a coffee and cake after an afternoon nap… (I don’t mention the cigarette with the coffee because smoking is not trendy these days, but it does belong to the perfect experience……..).

2. Nuestro Flamenco: every Monday and Wednesday at 11pm (UK time) on RNE Clásico (Spanish national radio, classical music channel) with José María Velázquez-Gaztelu. I already mentioned this radio program in my post ‘Women in flamenco’. It is different from Duendeando in style due to the different personality of the host, and also different in structure. The first part of every program is dedicated to the guitar and guitarists, then they talk about news, new albums, festivals and the invited artists have interesting conversations with José María. A poet, writer and flamencologist, whose name is well known among flamencos, as he had a series about flamenco in the ’70s, called ‘Rito y geografía del cante y del baile’. I love that José María always uses the exact same phrases to start the programme and to present the guests. Exactly the same words! At first it may seem boring, odd or even funny, but I actually think it creates a feeling a safety and security (or is it just me – mother of 2 toddlers – who thinks repetition creates security?!?).

3. ConTraste Flamenco: every Sunday at 10.30pm (UK time) on RNE5 (Spanish national radio, channel 5) with Manuel Pedraz. This program is only 30 minutes long, and therefore information and conversations are more focused and “concentrated”. This is the newest podcast I listen to and I like it simply because it is done by someone different in a different format. And even though topics may be similar or sometimes even the same, the different editors/ directors/ presenters (all in one person!) end up having totally different conversations with the guests.

El flamenco en R5: I also have this podcast on my phone, but if I want to be honest, I have never listened to it. It used to be a micro-space of flamenco, each program 5 minutes long, but I believe it is not ongoing anymore; last one seemed to be broadcasted in May 2017.

I do not spend hours commuting to work, but I do spend some time on the tube, mostly reading and listening to my podcasts. There is plenty of information, lots of music and great conversations. The only thing needed is: Spanish!!!

Women in flamenco

Women, feminism, gender equality: trending topics of 2018.

What about women in flamenco? Well, it is most certainly an intriguing story!

Traditionally, flamenco was rather masculine. There are female artists who were popular and became famous in the first half of the twentieth century, like Carmen Amaya and La Niña de los Peines, but the majority of flamencos – especially singers and guitarists – were men. In the countryside, particularly in villages, the flamenco scene was almost entirely male dominated. In every village, there were one or two family-friendly establishments where women could go with their husbands, and of course in any private home they were welcome, but in the bars visited by men – where flamenco was mostly played – in hours after dark, in an environment with drinks, smoke etc. a respectable woman did not want to be seen. Not the best environment for a woman, anyway, they used to say. The women living in these villages were the first ones to call any woman visiting these bars: a whore… Female presence in these bars was just as uncomfortable for men as for women. Donn Pohren experienced this himself when he arrived to Morón de la Frontera at the beginning of the 60’s, and started going out with the flamencos as part of his flamenco research. His book “A way of life” talks about this and much more, while he lived among the flamencos in the 50-60’s Andalusia.

The story of La Chana – a Catalan gipsy dancer from Barcelona – has recently become  widely known outside of the flamenco world. This is also due to the documentary of the Croatian director, Lucija Stojevic, which won an audience award on Amsterdam’s International Documentary Festival. When Antonia was a young dancer, full of potential and a bright future ahead of her, her husband did not like her being on stage, and forced her into early retirement; only to come back to stage now, in her late sixties. She can only dance sitting down, but she has a footwork that any young dancer would envy, and so much emotion in her performance what makes people cry. I feel lucky to have seen her during the Flamenco Festival in London in February this year. She was helped on stage by two other dancers, sat down in a chair, and the rhythm of her ‘zapateado’, the footwork and the intensity of emotions, left the entire theatre speechless. It was quite moving. One can only hope that we now live in an era where men don’t take decisions about the lives of women anymore, and these stories won’t repeat.

There is still a long way for gender equality to become reality (if possible at all!), but things are changing and the flamenco world is no exception. It welcomes more and more female artists in singing, dancing and also in the guitar! I was happy to hear a few months ago that there is already one known female guitar player (from El Puerto de Santa María): Antonia Jiménez. This doesn’t mean there are no others, but up until recently, I have never heard of any!

As Holly Branson very well said on an international women’s day talk in March 2018 in London: “only sperm donors and surrogate mothers are gender restricted jobs, nothing else should be”. So let women become train drivers, IT specialists and flamenco guitarists, if they want to be. And vice-versa, let men become midwives and nurses, if they want to be. Freedom of choice. For all!

There is a radio program on the national radio in Spain, run by José María Velázquez-Gaztelu, a gentleman with incredible knowledge on flamenco (‘flamencólogo’), writer and poet from Cádiz. It’s called ‘Nuestro Flamenco’, Our Flamenco and it is on RNE Clásico every Monday and Wednesday at midnight CET). They now have a series dedicated to the women in the flamenco world, presenting artists of old times but also contemporary ones. It is called ‘La mujer cantaora’, the singer women. Highly recommended! Podcasts available online.

My women in flamenco are:

Cristobalina Suárez

Fernanda de Utrera

Inés Bacán

Pastora Galván

Mercedes Ruiz

Marina Heredia

La Lupi

María Terremoto

Lucía Ruibal