About

Welcome! My name is Parvati Nair and I have been a flamencoholic for the better part of my life.

I am also a writer and an academic, a hispanist based at Queen Mary, University of London, where I work as Professor of Hispanic Cultural Studies. I write on photography, film and music, most especially when they are related to migration, displacement and ethnicity. I’m interested in how communities of different sorts are formed and sustained through cultural production and in the course of cultural, socio-political or economic changes. So, in a sense, I am curious about the interweave of real life and cultural fictions, be these musical, visual or performative, particularly when there is also at stake a politics of identity for minority communities. This is what led me to write on flamenco first. I began by studying the ways in which flamenco expresses and constructs gitano identities and also how flamenco as a cultural medium has shifted, altered and travelled in the course of time. Contrary to what the purists think, I see flamenco as a very mobile art form, that has adapted itself over the centuries to larger cultural and social changes in Spain — and also in other parts of the world.

More recently, I have been living and working in Barcelona, not a city readily known for its flamenco life — except, of course, for that unforgettable doyenne of the arte, Carmen Amaya, who was born by the beach here, down the road from where I live, when it used to be the Somorrostro slum where gypsies were forced to dwell. As a perennially struggling flamenco dancer, I think of myself as very lucky to have as my teacher here the great flamenca, La Tani. Her academy pulsates with flamenco energy and draws together students, friends, family and anyone else who breathes and feeds on flamenco night and day.

This blog emerges as a sort of notebook in which I can record and share flamenco encounters. In a more pragmatic sense, it serves as a scroll of flamenco notes…  I am, you see, in the midst of researching and writing a book on flamenco. It’s become a long drawn-out process… but that allows me more time for flamenco discoveries. Meanwhile, flamenco gives me so much. Passion, discipline, friendships, focus, energy, well being, a feeling of being centred, a connection between the mind and the body, a community, a whole way of life… need I say more?

I look forward to sharing some of my experiences of the arte with flamenco-philes across the world,  as we continue our individual and collective journeys along the many routes of flamenco.

November 12, 2009 Post Under - Read More

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