What kinds of music are
you going to hear when you arrive in Spain? ¡Mucho! But just because
Enrique Iglesias is from Spain, not Mexico, does not mean that you are
listening to real Spanish music. When kids turn on the radio in the states
they might hear Shakira singing her popular song la tortura (the torture)
along with Spanish Grammy winner Alejandro Sanz, but sorry Enrique and
Alejandro, Spanish music is and always will be flamenco, de pura sepa (the
best of the best).
There are at least 30 varieties
of flamenco in Spain and can be found everywhere, and since Spain invented
the guitar the people know their music. The famous Spanish poet Fredrico
Garcia Lorca called flamenco one of the greatest inventions of the Spanish
people. During my 2½ years in Spain I heard flamenco more than anything,
and especially in los barrios gitanos (gypsy neighborhoods).
Flamenco can be considered
much more than music, rather a lifestyle, with so much diversity in Spain
the love of flamenco has been a constant through out and even has roots
in France. The beauty of flamenco takes more than just a guitar; the style
is tied to the elaborate dancers with castanets and the traditional hand
type of flamenco most tourists see is with colorful dresses and music dating
back to the 16th century beginning in the region of Andalucía with
traces of Moorish and Jewish traditions.
But flamenco is not just
a style from centuries before, El Camarón de la isla (1950-1992)
is considered a legend in Spain, his image is everywhere from car stickers
to t-shirts, Camarón helped bring about nuevo (new) flamenco with
the induction of the electric bass.
After a battle with lung
cancer Camarón died, with over 100,000 mourners at the funeral it
truly showed the world the power of music with people. Following his death
film director Jaime Chávarrí made a movie of his life which
later received several nominations for the prestigious Goya Awards.
Today flamenco is still a
huge part of understanding the culture; don't think that Enrique Iglesias
is what Spanish music is all about. To really enjoy Spain and flamenco
I would encourage listening to the various types of flamenco, preferably
Camarón, Paco de Lucia, and Tomatito and when you arrive make sure
you see a show. ¡Vive España!