Wooo–weee, it is so hot! How hot is it? It is so hot that it reminds us here in An Sibin of that gap year we took in Spain. Just kidding! We never took a gap year; however, we have been to the Iberian peninsula and we can tell you that right now Lancaster is giving Cartagena a run for its money (in degrees). With this in mind, we decided to dig into our ‘Cartagena Collection’ and select some weather appropriate tunes.

For the week of August 2nd, 2018 The Public Records of An Sibin has selected ‘Festival Flamenco’ (Yupy, 1970). This is sweet compilation album that came from a garage in Algameca, Cartagena, Spain.

Spain, at one point was a massive melting pot due to the Roman and Arab invasions; not to say that it isn’t now. However, a millenia or two ago on the indigenious Iberian population began to diversify with centuries of mixing with Greco-Latin culture and the peoples that came with it – Roma, Jews, and the other peoples that were part of those empires – and then later the Vandal, Gothic, Arab and Moorish invasions and their occupations and influences. All these different empires brought their languages and music, their instruments and cadences.

It is in the southern regions of Spain: Murcia, Extremadura, and Andalusia where many of these cultures met and melded to develop the art form of flamenco. Which we get our first written acknowledgement of this folk movement in the mid 18th century by Jose Cadalso. A few weeks ago, if you remember, we had an album of the week about folk music. Flamenco is a special case when it comes to folk and what makes this form unique is that it has fairly rigid rules in the sense that there are parts that all must blend to make the whole – dance and music.

The parts are broken down into the baile (dance), cante (vocals), toque (guitar), jaleo (non-lyrical vocalisations and clapping in a chorus), palmas (solo hand clapping), and pitos (finger snapping). Just through seeing that these parts all exist demonstrate how communal flamenco is in order to be. On top of all these different parts of the whole, there are about 50 styles, palos, that break it down even further.

There are palos that are gendered; forms specifically for men, women, or mixed choruses. Some palos are for instrumental accompianments, some for solo vocalisations, and some for danced pieces. On top of all of these specific forms, improvisations are allowed; however, these are based on traditional lyrics or melodies and must be tailored to them.

Outside of Spain, flamenco has got its hooks in the world. One can find flamenco academies all over the globe and in Japan there are even more academies teaching the art than Spain itself. In 2010, UNESCO proclaimed flamenco to be among the ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’.

Come downstairs and join us to beat the heat with a cool compilation of some fiery tunes and a nice chilled Pacific Oasis Riesling.