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Manuel Ríos Ruiz

Origin and evolution of flamenco URL:

An examination of the musical and social history of Andalusia is essential for an understanding of the origin of such a unique musical art form as flamenco, which consists of a combination of many tonal and instrumental influences, finally creating its very own sounds and expressions, which is the surprising key to its present well-defined characteristics and its superiority in terms of artistic nuances and density to mere folkloric elements. In the search for the geo-musical genesis of flamenco, apart from taking for granted that from immemorial times there must have been a genuine and innate musical deposit in certain people in Andalusia, which has led the Andalusians to adopt the most varied kinds of music over the centuries, without ever losing their musical conception. This has always been taken as certain and hence the constant references to the classical accounts.

Flamenco song, dancing and guitar are presently considered an artform as a whole, because their styles, created from a folkloric basis, Andalusian songs and ballads, have surpassed their popular values, reaching a superior musical dimension, whose performances require special artistic faculties in every respect, maintaining an extremely popular aesthetic, typical of the Andalusian people. Representations of flamenco have thus materialised into authentic artistic expression, completely differentiated from their original folkloric beginnings, meaning the anonymous and personal compositions that have formed part of it and stylistically evolved, have remained as music and lyric poetry of popular roots. It can thus be said, according to the generalised opinion of the majority of scholars, that flamenco is folklore elevated to art, both for its interpretative difficulties and its musical form and conception.

In addition, it must also be kept in mind that almost all flamencologists consider that certain styles of the genre, even the names of some of its most famous performers, became known around the last quarter of the eighteenth century, moving from presentations in country inns and taverns to local cafés with entertainment by 1842, with the performances given at the Café Lombardo in Seville. From then onwards, the presence of the art of flamenco began to increase on the public stages of all Spanish regions and immediately after this, abroad.

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