Round about 40 years ago I arrived in Spain as a young thing, enamored of the guitar and Flamenco music. I had been fiddling around with the guitar since my teen years, and never quite got the hang of it, but carrying around a guitar got me into some circles of people who were more expert than I. I love the guitar too much to murder it with my unprofessional playing. Well, after all my experiences with the guitar in Spain, where the heart and soul of this iconic musical instrument will always be, I gave away my original guitar.
"I don't know what the smashed castanets meant, but the intrepid Olga Pericet is certainly a master of smashing tradition as her new all-Spanish show honoring the legendary bailaora Carmen Amaya demonstrated. Amaya (1918-1963) has just been called the greatest flamenco dancer of her generation"
I am anything but Spanish and perhaps that's why I can be somewhat objective about the way Spaniards tend to be depicted, saddled as they are with "topicos tipicos" that tend to arise in a discussion about Spain: flamenco, bullfight, tapas, paradores nacionales. . .
Paco de Lucia: “My music has always been cornered in Andalucia, without prestige, even in Spain itself. For many centuries it was thought of simply as gypsy music, from a people without a social class. As a representative of my music I feel I have an obligation to share it, so that everyone will recognize its value and know its worth… This is what I fight for, and why I work, not for money or to be a star.”
Fame is not what Paco de Lucia is looking for, he says. "It ties you up and takes away. . . an indefinable freshness out of your life.” It's bothersome when people recognize him in the streets, though “at first there is a time when vanity makes you like it. . .”
Contrary to most of the stereotypes linked with Spain, most countries see the Spaniards as tolerant, reliable, democratic, pacifist, honest, strong, humanitarian and hard-working!
We went to Villa Rosa, a tablao in Sol on a Thursday evening, none of us really knowing what to expect. The biggest thing I noticed about flamenco was not the dance itself but the attitude to the dance. It felt as though you could hear the passion in every step, clap and snap.
Flamenco clubs may now be found across the globe but there are very few places that incorporate both Andalusian horses and flamenco dancers into one matchless performance.
Olga Pericet is considered one of the most influential and innovative figures in the current flamenco scene. She performed in this year’s Flamenco Festival, New York. It was breathtaking!