Flamenco…you either get it or you don’t…

the real Andalusian flamenco, the kind that gives you shivers up your back at 4 a.m. as you’re walking down a street in Jerez de la Frontera, and it’s Semana Santa (Holy week) and the crowd of ten thousand that walks with you following the bleeding Jesus float decked out in gold and flowers, and who are all dressed in their best clothes, suddenly stops and there’s absolute silence until an amazing singing voice cries out from a balcony above, and it’s a gypsy singing a saeta to Christ or Mary or God or the Holy Spirit, and you realize what you’re really hearing is someone’s soul, and the saeta (arrow) is aimed straight at your heart, and it’s a bullseye…

or one day you’re in class and it’s your turn to dance alone, and there are three guitars and your teacher is singing, and the other five dancers are doing palmas, you start your piece and suddenly you’re not thinking about your feet, your arms, where your body is, and you’re in compas, and you’re transported maybe for a few seconds, or if you’re lucky, a few minutes…then all the years of listening, practising, which have led up to this moment are worth it…

or when you just have to hear the opening chord of a seguirea and you forget everything about yourself, your life, your worries, your happiness even…

that’s when you know you ‘get’ flamenco. A taste for flamenco can be acquired, like good whisky I suppose, but to really feel the “dialogue of souls”, you have to be willing to open up your own for others to see…


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