The great Camarón de la Isla, in an interview in 1988, said : “El flamenco siempre es un pena, el amor es un pena tambien. En el fondo, todo es una pena y una alegría.” (*)… flamenco lovers know what he was talking about; Flamenco is so pure, so full of passion and pain, so powerful that it does hurt. These simple and universal themes which are by no mean exclusive to Andalucia, give to Flamenco a universal aspiration.
Moreover, in flamenco all that matters is the singing (cante), guitar skills (toque), dance (baile), the rythmic handclaps (palmas), and the good company. Beauty canons, age, wealth or the number of cameras around do not have the slightest importance. All this (and more!) puts flamenco at a high artistic position.
Martijn van Beenen and Ernestina van de Noort film-documentary on Jerez’ Morao dynasty in particular and flamenco in general is very interesting and worth watching. It captures the essence of flamenco and its different aspects: family, traditions, gypsies, guitar techniques, etc. As you would expect from the great Morao family, the film is full of wonderful performances. The title of the documentary says it all.
From the description of the video:
This film was made possible through the financial support of NTR television and the Dutch Flamenco Biennial. Cinematographer and director Martijn van Beenen and Ernestina van de Noort director of the Dutch Flamenco Biennial to travel to Jerez de la Frontera in search of the roots of flamenco. They met three generations of guitarists: Manuel Morao, Moraíto Chico and Diego del Morao. The Morao gypsy dynasty has put an indelible mark on the flamenco style from Jerez de la Frontera, one of the most prominent breeding grounds of flamenco. It emerged on the land around Jerez on the large farms where gypsies worked as day labourers. María Bala (76), sister of the great singer Manuel Soto Sordera and one of the last keepers of the old cante jondo, demonstrates how the primitive flamenco singing of the past sounded. With Manuel Morao, Moraíto Chico, Diego del Morao, Jesús Méndez, María Bala, José Mercé, Diego Carrasco y familia, El Bo, Chícharo and many others.
A friend from Jerez sent me some time ago this video footage, extracted from a Spanish documentary about the flamenco tradition of his town, to show me how innate this art is. Indeed, the (natural) performance of these kids is simply impressive! Enjoy the show:
(*) flamenco is always a pain, love is a pain too. As a matter of fact, everything is a pain and a joy