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.