May 28, 2009


Pastora Pavon
A-List blogger Fausta takes a break from her serious coverage of all things political once in a while to post a good Tango video. A recent post recalled in video the 100th birthday of "the most wonderful tanguera", the late Carmencita Calderón. The post (and a recent visit to blues fan DadBones) brought back some of the old feeder's childhood memories.

When I was a boy living in Generalissimo Franco's Madrid, I made a crystal radio set. It was unamplified, used a crystal of galena, a wire whisker and a coil of lacquered copper wire wrapped around a toilet paper tube. It didn't require any electricity. I used to sneak it into bed after 'lights out' and listen to Spanish radio broadcasts. That was where I first heard Flamenco music. I liked it.

Later, my Dad took me to Andalusia where we visited various Flamenco dives. I recall the smell of red wine and rough tobacco in the night clubs and cuevas (caves) where gypsy artists played the guitar, clapped complex rhythms and sang to the most doleful music I had ever heard. There were also sweaty, dark eyed female dancers to intrigue the little feeder.

Flamenco makes the blues sound like something joyful. The blues is about being broke and alone. Flamenco is about suffering and death. At least the Flamenco I like is.

So, if you are inclined to take a break from pissing and moaning about the wretched state of government, I invite you to watch and listen to a selection of my favorites on YouTube. All three links are in the same palo or style of Flamenco called Peteneras. Enjoy:
These aren't turista Flamenco performers. Peteneras isn't the most popular palo. You might think it is an acquired taste. You might be right. Not everybody likes John Lee Hooker, either.

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