Attempts to map flamenco abound, most often in the form of hefty books that construct histories, narratives and routes of flamenco. Few, however, manage to really get the imagination going. True, we do get to know the iconic names and the landmark moments in the evolution of flamenco, maybe even recognise the great performers from past decades, but we are too often left with a basic knowledge of the main palos and only a vague sense of how they connect or may be related. So it was great to find this blog with its maze-like depiction of the complex, and distinctly incestuous, flamenco family (not sure the buttons to turn the blog into English or Japanese work as yet…). The detailed descriptions of each palo and sub-palo are refreshing. The map made me feel as if it were moving, as if flamenco has a huge life-force that makes it grow and change even as it is being tracked. What I liked as well, beyond the dynamic, multiple connections, was also the fact that this map puts to rest, once and for all, the incredibly tedious debate about how to quantify or demarcate the gypsy contribution to flamenco as opposed to the Spanish one… I’ve decided I far prefer maps that draw connections and chart flows to ones that lay down boundaries. Yes, this is definitely a processual map.
As for the name, Flamencopolis, well, it kind of says it all… I never knew, for instance, that the soleá and cantiñas are related! My thanks to the author, Professor Faustino Núñez, a musicologist and writer on flamenco. I am really hoping to catch a few of his ongoing seminars on flamenco at Barcelona’s Taller de Músics.