A new book by the English author Tony Bryant, has just been released by Flamenco sapiens, the Seville based publisher that produced the authors last book concerning the art of flamenco - Flamenco; an Englishman’s passion.
Bryant’s latest offering concerns the genealogical line of one of the biggest gypsy flamenco clans to be associated with flamenco, or in fact, any musical genre.
The author has researched and charted this family’s history from their arrival in Andalucia in the seventeenth century until the present day and he has proved that many of the most renowned performers of flamenco are actually related via blood or marriage connections.
The author says, “Many flamencologists and aficionados are aware of the gypsy custom that all gypsies are cousins, but in the case of this family, and after nearly three years of research, I have come to the conclusion that this statement may well have some foundation”
His new book, Herencía del Tiempo is based on the family of Fernando Peña Soto- El Pinini; a legendary singer who was born in Lebrija, Seville, in 1863, but who had spent nearly his entire life in the neighbouring town of Utrera.
The mythical El Pinini was patriarch to a family that has produced some of the most respected flamenco singers of the twentieth century.
La Fernanda and Bernarda de Utrera, Bambino, Miguel El Funi, Bastian Bacán or Pepa de Benito are just a mere few, but the author has also included many anonymous performers from with-in this family, whose reputation has rarely left their birthplace.
The author spent much time in Utrera and he soon made contact with some of the great-grandchildren of Pinini, who helped him to patch together the family’s immense genealogical tree; a chart that contains more than one-hundred flamenco performers, all of whom are included in the book.
Bryant said that it was necessary to understand the life style and customs of these people to truly understand the meaning of their music and “although at first I felt as though I had gate-crashed their village, I was quickly welcomed into the homes and lives of the most welcoming people of Spain; the gypsies!” The fruit of these unusual friendships are contained in this book.
The author had access to birth, baptism and death certificates as well as numerous other documents concerning this family; all of which has given him information that has never previously been published.
Through his friendship with members of the fourth and fifth generations of the Pinini clan, Bryant was able to witness this family’s flamenco tradition firsthand whilst also charting much of their family tree.
The Pinini family were extremely interested in the authors work and they all showed an appreciation because someone was taking the time to research their family and its tradition.
Luis El Marquesito, a great-grandson of El Pinini, endorses the book with a preface, in which he thanks the author for his relentless work concerning his family.
El Marquesito continues to say that it gives him great satisfaction to know that his grandchildren will be able to go to the library to read about their family.
But the book does not only concern the Pinini family; it also traces the links that this family has, with other renowned families of Utrera like that of El Perrate and La Serneta.
The book contains the author’s opinions and knowledge, which has been based on extensive research and a relentless investigation of one of the biggest and most illustrious families in flamenco history.
This book is an excellent follow-up to his last book and it will be an informative read for anyone interested in flamenco, or indeed in Andalucia.