Flamenco is one of the quintessential aspects of Spain and the
Spanish culture. A dramatic form of song, music, and dance,
flamenco long ago began to thrill and captivate the world outside
of Spain, even though its true character and purpose have often not
been fully understood. The culmination of centuries of folk
tradition, originating in the expression of suffering, lamentation,
and protest among gypsies and other oppressed peoples, flamenco has
evolved into an entertainment by professional musicians and dancers
that is popular with audiences throughout the world.
Gwynne Edwards, an expert on the Spanish language and
literature, provides a text that clarifies and illuminates the
complex history of flamenco, from its beginnings in old songs that
are still sung today, to its sophisticated presence in the modern
repertoire of leading singers and dancers. He describes and
analyzes the religious and ethnic influences on flamenco; its place
in literature; the themes that appear in its passionate songs and
the various ways in which they are sung; its grounding in
Andalucia; the famous flamenco singers of the past; and the
twentieth-century revival of its basic meanings under the aegis of
the poet Lorca and other Spanish notables.
Ken Haas''s original color photographs of flamenco today, and
the background against which it flourishes, form a complementary
essay on a unique and enthralling art form.