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Flamenco is an art form and genre of music and dance native to the southern Spanish regions of Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia. It includes cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance) and jaleo, which refers to the vocalizations and rhythmic sounds of palmas (handclapping) and pitos (finger snapping). First mentioned in literature in 1774, the genre is thought to have grown out of Andalusian music and dance styles. Flamenco is often associated with the gitanos (Romani people of Spain) and a significant proportion of famous flamenco artists are of this ethnicity. However, unlike Romani music of eastern Europe, the style is distinctively Andalusian and the fusion of the various cultures that have coexisted in southern Spain is clearly perceptible in Flamenco music. Although there are many theories on its origin, the most widespread highlights a Morisco heritage, with the cultural melting pot that was Andalusia at the time (Andalusians, Moors, Castilian settlers, Gypsies and Jews) fostering its development over time. Flamenco music, as a theatrical representation of Andalusian musical tradition, was first recorded in the late 18th century but the genre underwent a dramatic development in the late 19th century.
In recent years flamenco has become popular all over the world and is taught in many non-Hispanic countries, especially in the United States and Japan. Professional Flamenco is an artform that can take a lifetime to master. In Japan there are more flamenco academies than there are in Spain. On November 16, 2010 UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
There are many suggestions for the origin of the word flamenco as a musical term (summarized below) but no solid evidence for any of them. The word was not recorded as a musical and dance term until the late 18th century.
The Spanish word flamenco could have been a derivative of "fire" or "flame", as it is connected to the 'Cante' and the dance's strong, passionate and solemn nature. The word flamenco may have come to be used for certain behaviour in general, which could possibly have come to be applied to the Gitano players and performers.
A theory proposed by Andalusian historian Blas Infante in his 1933 book Orígenes de lo Flamenco y Secreto del Cante Jondo suggests that the word flamenco comes from the Hispano-Arabic term fellah mengu, meaning "expelled peasant"; Infante argued that this term referred to the ethnic Andalusians of the Islamic faith, the Moriscos, who in order to avoid forced exile and religious persecution, joined with the Roma newcomers.
Main article: Palo (flamenco)
Palos (formerly known as cantes) are flamenco styles, classified by criteria such as rhythmic pattern, mode, chord progression, stanzaic form and geographic origin. There are over 50 different palos although some are rarely performed; only about a dozen of these palos are commonly played. Some are sung unaccompanied while others usually have guitar or other accompaniment. Some forms are danced while others are not. Some are reserved for men and others for women while some may be performed by either, though these traditional distinctions are breaking down: the Farruca, for example, once a male dance, is now commonly performed by women too.
Palos traditionally fall into three classes: the most serious is known as cante jondo (or cante grande), while lighter, frivolous forms are called cante chico. Forms that do not fit either category are classed as cante intermedio. Cante jondo has clear traces of Arabic and Spanish folk melodies, as well as vestiges of Byzantine, Christian and Jewish religious music.
These are the most known "Palos":
Bulerías por Soleá,
Fandango de Huelva,
Soleá por Bulerías,
Forms of flamenco expression :
The origins, history and importance of the flamenco guitar is covered in the main Wikipedia entry for the Flamenco guitar
Main article: Cante flamenco
Flamenco performance by the La Primavera group
El baile flamenco is known for its emotional intensity, proud carriage, expressive use of the arms and rhythmic stamping of the feet (cf. tap dance). As with any dance form, many different styles of flamenco have developed. 💕🎻🎶 ... 💕🎻🎶