Sunday, 8 December 2013

Record Players and Flamenco

Oh come on, he's having a laugh now surely?! This is his fourth blog and he finally mentions record players, but he's going to talk about Flamenco! And they're not record players, they're gramophones. What does he know about Flamenco anyway?

Well truth be told not a lot. But the more I experience it (and I think you do experience Flamenco) the more fascinating I find it. Until my last couple of trips to Andalucia the little I knew of Flamenco came from TV and according to telly it's not easy to see the real deal y'know, most of it is for the tourists de diddly dee. Real Flamenco is squirrelled away behind closed doors. Now I don't know how "real" it is but Flamenco is pretty easy to find on the streets, bars and restaurants of Malaga and Cordoba.

Whilst walking into Plaza Constitution in Malaga a couple of weeks ago there was some live Flamenco mid-afternoon which the locals and a few tourists were enjoying.


And then a chap in the audience fancied an impromptu dance and joined in. Clearly Flamenco was in his blood. As it was the locals watching.


I saw him walking away down Calle Marques de Larios afterwards breathing a little heavily and drawing hard on a fag. And looking rather content.

Malaga is an interesting and vibrant city and as we had an evening flight home the following day we had plenty of time to take in the Flamenco Art Museum. But first breakfast and as a last-day treat it had to be churros con chocolate y cafe doble. General I find that food which is brown is unhealthy. And rather yummy. You really couldn't eat churros every day and live a long life, but as a treat it's fabulous! And I don't drink coffee so you can imagine what a double hit does to me...

Now buzzing from caffeine, sugar and fat it was off to find the Museum of Flamenco Art.

It's a relatively small museum in a couple of rooms above a bar on the ground floor, but has a number of old wind up gramaphones which were interesting. Flash wasn't allowed so the exposure isn't ideal in some of the photos.

This is Carmen Amaya. I'd never heard of her until a few days earlier when I saw an old film of her in the super Flamenco Centre in Cordoba.

This is a clip from the film Los Tarantos, shot in 1963, the year she died. I think it's extraordinary and compelling, and unlike any of the Flamenco I've seen myself. Perhaps because they can't match her speed? See what you think.

There's a colour version out there too but I prefer the black and white version, perhaps because it's grainy, perhaps because it's the first version I saw.

Back to the gramophones

Close up of the horn

And finally The Graphophone with presumably wax cylinders

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