Alonso Núñez “Rancapino Chico” es hijo del gran cantaor de Chiclana de la Frontera, Cádiz, Alonso Núñez “Rancapino”. Siendo así, es poseedor de una herencia cantaora de raigambre. Su padre era gran amigo del legendario Camarón de la Isla y compañero suyo de correrías juveniles y flamencas, especialmente en la Venta Vargas, en San Fernando, donde comenzaron sus primeras experiencias como cantaores.

Alonso Núñez “Rancapino Chico” is the son of the great flamenco Singer Alonso Núñez “Rancapino” from Chiclana de la Frontera, Cádiz province. Thus, he possesses a deeply rooted flamenco family heritage. His father was Camarón de la Isla’s best childhood friend with whom he shared many of their first experiences as cantaores or flamenco singers in their teens, specially legendary were their performances at Venta Vargas (Vargas’ Inn) in San Fernando.

Flamenco is a music and dance form that originated in Andalusia, in the south of Spain about 200 years ago.  It encompasses a great number of styles with different origins, melodies, rhythms and types of verses or stanzas.  It is very important to know all this elements to be able to dance with authenticity these songs or “cantes”.

"What are they singing here? What type of bulerías are these?" That is what a friend and flamenco dancer asked me the other day. It turned out that finding an answer led me into a far deeper analysis than she was asking for. My research inspired me to write this article. First, let’s have a look at the video she was talking about.

                        This is a very enjoyable number by dancer Pastora Galván with ¡mucho arte!  You should note that there is not a single step of zapateado or heel work.

There is a lot of material to dig out in this piece of beautiful art work.

Why Flamenco does not come from India.

“Flamenco comes from India”.  I have heard this said so many times over the years.  Every time I hear it I think it is such a simplistic statement.  It shows how little information there is about the origin of this beautiful art form we all love so much.

 

We all know that Indian Kathak and Bharatanatyam dances have footwork, very different footwork technique to flamenco, but footwork.  Despite that, Kathak as we know it today was developed in the courts of the Mogul Empire starting in the 16th Century.  As we will see later the gypsies arrived in what today is modern Spain in 1425.  If we think about the length of time the gypsies took in their migration from Rajasthan and the Punjab, it is very unlikely that they knew what Kathak dance was.       

Today we can see connections between these two art forms despite the great geographical, historical and cultural differences they have.  I wonder why we don’t see the connection between flamenco and the zapateo or footwork of the Mexican Jarabe Tapatío?          

Manuel Torre.  The singer of the black sounds. 

(Manuel Soto Loreto.  Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz), 1878-Sevilla, 1933)

 

I’m going through a phase in which I can only listen to Manuel Torre.  Every time I listen to his recordings I find a new reason to go back to him, a new turn of his voice that I didn’t notice before.  The lack of high fidelity in those recordings doesn’t bother me at all because Manuel Torre was one of the most enigmatic figures of flamenco history and that is clear in those sounds from nearly a century ago.  He is considered to be an icon of the era of classic flamenco and is still a great influence for all flamenco singers.  He created and recreated variations of flamenco styles such as seguiriyas, soleares, saetas, tonás, tarantos and even farrucas.  He was like King Midas, turning into gold everything he touched…only when he was inspired.      

Peñas Flamencas.

(First published in Phillyflamenco.com on September of 2007)

 

After eleven years living away from Spain I can’t help thinking about peñas flamencas with nostalgia. When I first started going to a peña flamenca, I was twenty years younger than I am now and falling in love with that pristine and innocent love that is the first one.  If you add to this picture the dazzling streets and parks of Sevilla where my friends and I used to hang out, then you have right there the whole set up to get an idea of what those memories mean to me. 

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    La Nacional,  New York
     
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Gazpacho Andalú: Flamenco de vuelta e ida.

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Dientes de Caramelo: Pulpo

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