After recent excursions into other genres of musicking around the world (Iran, Uyghur, Hélène Grimaud, Noh, Polish jazz, and so on), it’s always wonderful to come back to the Rito y geografia del cante series on flamenco—what a great achievement it was!
I gave a roundup of my posts on flamenco here. We might also incorporate it into our consideration of improvisation. Many of the programmes in the Rito series focus on bulerías. I’ve already explored this genre in some detail, but the programme Fiesta gitana deserves a separate post.
It features several lengthy sequences in the setting of a bodega: the Utrera sisters (regularly featured in the series), with Miguel Funi, accompanied by Pedro Bacán; the Perrata family, with some fabulous dancing, accompanied by Pedro Peña; Manolo Jero, Juan Morao, Juana la del Pipa, and Tío Borrico; and El Chozas. And for rhythms, don’t miss the sequence (from 21.05) at a cooperage in Jerez (cf. martinetes)!
But most exhilarating is the street scene near the opening (from 1.26) with young flamencos in Seville. How wonderful to grow up in such an environment, surrounded by (and receptive to) the domestic culture of one’s family elders, a world of pain and joy—singing, clapping, dancing, and guitar all one seamless whole. Another genre to consider along with those in Growing into music!
Indeed, the series devoted a whole programme to young flamencos. Niños Cantaores features enchanting vignettes: Antonio de la Marena singing seguiriyas accompanied by guitarist Moraito, comments from Carmen Montoya introducing bulerías and rumbas featuring her daughter Carmellila, Manuel Morao introducing his son Manuel Moreno Pantoja, and Luisa Peña Soto’s daughter La Macanita, with comments from Camarón (himself part of some great family scenes towards the end of this post). It’s not currently on YouTube, but you can watch it here.
With the filming matching the majesty of the subject, the point is not stardom but the whole environment of domestic and street culture.
See also A flamenco Christmas.