Archive for June, 2011

Córdoba’s Long White Night of Flamenco

It’s hotting up in Spain and time once again for flamenco under the stars… As I sit watching the rain here in London, I’m wishing I were in Córdoba tonight, where no less than 300 artists will perform flamenco in the historic centre of the city for over 8 hours from 10.30pm  to 6am tomorrow. Flamenco en la Noche Blanca… A long, white night of flamenco. And how many people are there in the audience tonight? No less than 250,000. A quarter of a million flamenco aficionados have gathered in Córdoba tonight for a spectacular night of open air flamenco. A very wide range of performances are on offer, from the more established to the zany, the ethnic, the Moorish and the avant-garde. Eva Yerbabuena opens the night, followed by a concert by NIña Pastori and India Martínez and much, much more… all night long. All the way upto 6am, by when it will be time for chocolate y churros… A highlight without doubt will be at 2am, when Los Evanglistas, members of Lagartija Nick and Los Planetas pay tribute to the memory of Enrique Morente, the great maestro, at once traditional and experimental, of flamenco.

All of which is a reminder that flamenco is not really quite the same outside of Andalusia. Where else could you just run into a really good flamenco show out in the open? Or stay up all night and feel the sense of community that flamenco creates? Or enjoy the spontaneity of performance in the midst of walking down the street? Or live flamenco through the scents and the stars of the Andalusian night?



June 19, 2011 Posted Under: General   Read More

The Day of the Cross

One aspect of flamenco that I’m really interested in exploring is the way in which its more folkloric expressions form part of the local culture in southern Spain — something that those of us flamencos who live outside of Spain miss greatly out on. As I see it, many of us have to learn flamenco, while many others just acquire aspects of it from their environment. A bit unfair… because of course the next question that comes to mind is whether the learning of cultural forms can ever be the same as the acquisition of it.  Of course, these social expressions of flamenco-esque folklore come with a good dose of religion, so they do require a certain tolerance and openness to overt Catholic expression. This is not in line with my own preferences, but when it comes to flamenco, I do envy the ease and the joy with which festive days are celebrated through dressing up in flamenco gear and dancing on the street.

In early May, despite some pretty relentless rain, southern Spain celebrated the Día de la Cruz or Day of the Cross. This is a day when every Church confraternity vies with the others to create the best display of a large cross made of red carnations — that most Andalusian of flowers… And on this day (despite the rain) everyone — yes, nearly everyone — dresses up and walks around. It is a day for seeing and being seen… I managed to take several photos, all of them, I hasten to add, with the explicit permission to reproduce on this blog from the subjects and/or their parents. So here they are:

This lovely little girl did lots of twirls for the world to watch and enjoyed being the focus of attention.

This next one, however, was a bit older and more self-conscious, but she too really enjoyed being there and looking the part:

As for this next little girl, when I told her that she looked very pretty, she pointed at her grandmother and said ‘My grandma also looks very pretty’:
There was also this handsome little chap, who will no doubt be ready to go on horseback very soon:

There were many dancing couples too and I was happy to see that having learnt to dance sevillanas, there was not much difference between what I know and the acquired version of this fab young couple:

June 6, 2011 Posted Under: General   Read More