Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gitanerias; the essence of flamenco

Gitanerias; the essence of flamenco is the third book in a trilogy of flamenco books by English writer Tony Bryant.

Gitanerias; the essence of flamenco, is based largely on a period time that the author spent in a town called Utrera in Andalusia; a small gypsy enclave in the southernmost part of this splendidly romantic area of Spain.
Although the larger towns of Spain have become merged in the life of the modern world and left behind the village orbit that allowed them to be self-sufficing, Utrera has kept much of its idiosyncrasy.

The author spent many years in this town in order to work a previous project, and during this time he became acquainted with some of flamencos most celebrated performers; many of whom have become close and trusted friends.
During his stay in Utrera, the author was invited into the homes and personal lives of these gypsies and he was confronted with a way of life that far exceeded anything he had ever witnessed before.
He gained the trust and friendship of this family in such a way that he was invited to personal family celebrations like communions, birthdays, funerals, and fiestas of all kinds, and it was during these intimate fiestas that he witnessed a flamenco way of life that few will ever get the chance to experience.
This book is full of these experiences and it focuses on every aspect of their calendar: the fair, Easter, the bullfight, the flamenco festivals and the traditions and customs that make the art of flamenco so fascinating.
The book is also packed with anecdotes and legends, and scrutinizes the andalusians attitude towards piety, death and superstition.
The author takes the reader on journey around the small back-streets of a town that has adhered to an antiquated way of life that disappeared from most towns after the demise of Franco.
The reader is introduced to the died-in-the-wool locals whose lives have altered little in the last fifty years, and he explains many of the legends and myths that fuel their daily lives.
Gitanerias describes the everyday lives of these people and how flamenco affects just about every part of it: of course there are numerous recollections of high-wired fiestas and drunken nights at the fair, but this is only a small part of what makes Gitanerias; the essence of flamenco, so pictorial: although there is an underlining flamenco theme to this book, it is principally a look at the andalusian gypsy’s way of celebrating life.         

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