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BarkellWH

Posts: 3386
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

Flamenco Literature 

I am posting this query in the "General" category, as it clearly has relevance to flamenco and has been mentioned before. This time let's stick to it. I have read neither "And the Wind Cried" nor "The Flamencos of Cadiz Bay," but would be interested in more than a one-line review of both from those who have read them. After spending more than two months in Oro Valley/Tucson, Arizona, I return to Washington, DC April 5. One of the things I would like to do is get my hands on one or both of the aforementioned books, providing they hold up over time. Are they well-written? Do they accurately describe the flamenco scene and culture, at least at the time they were written? Do they hold up over time, i.e., even if the cultural scene is different today, can one still enjoy them and learn something about how things have changed, if they have changed?

Richard, you mentioned you just received "And the Wind Cried." I would be very interested in your take on it? Stephen, how did you find it years ago? And how about "The Flamencos of Cadiz Bay"? Is it good? Does it hold up over time? Richard, Stephen, and anyone else who has read one or both, please chime in with a review and a recommendation if they are still relevant and worth reading.

Many thanks,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 25 2016 16:43:24

El Frijolito

Posts: 131
Joined: Feb. 27 2016
 

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to BarkellWH

While searching for an essay on "The Wind Cried" (actual title), I stumbled across this interesting piece, on Brook Zern's site, about one of the early published descriptions of flamenco:

Spanish Vistas, by George Parsons Lathrop

Apparently Spanish Vistas is a short (72 page) travel guide to Spain, dating from 1882. Although technically OOP it seems that PDFs might be available for a price through both Google books (ugh) or Harper's (the latter entails a subscription/archive access fee). However, Zern seems to have excerpted the relevant section at the above link.

There are some priceless bits in the excerpts.

I get over to Tucson myself on occasion. You may be aware of Zavaletas (and possibly also the Folk Shop) in that area. As Dr. James Greenberg (flamenco enthusiast, purchasing agent and husband of the owner) teaches anthropology at the U. as a sideline (joke intended), I suspect he would have much to contribute on this topic, if you were to visit with him.

Not sure what to make of my exclusion from the invitation to post on this topic, I will assume it's on the basis of comparative lack of familiarity or simply an oversight until otherwise informed.

Regards,

El Frijolito
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 25 2016 17:55:35
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

Not sure what to make of my exclusion from the invitation to post on this topic

quote:

and anyone else who has read one or both, please chime in

No llores guey....

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\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 25 2016 18:16:35
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1711
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to BarkellWH

The book is on google books:


https://books.google.nl/books?id=w9l9it1H8cQC&pg=PA22&lpg=PA22&dq=the+flamencos+of+cadiz+bay&source=bl&ots=SsS4jb0kht&sig=0iGX-N6OnBDyPv3I3qH3WZjpVk8&hl=nl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7oNLCxtzLAhWF_A4KHfK1A2MQ6AEISjAM#v=onepage&q=the%20flamencos%20of%20cadiz%20bay&f=false

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 25 2016 18:21:30

El Frijolito

Posts: 131
Joined: Feb. 27 2016
 

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to Leñador

quote:

No llores guey....


I just don't want to be the guy who arrives on time instead of being invited.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 25 2016 19:05:13
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1766
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

I have read neither "And the Wind Cried" nor "The Flamencos of Cadiz Bay," but would be interested in more than a one-line review of both from those who have read them.


http://www.amazon.com/review/REX8FLY55JZ1H/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B000J35AC6
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 25 2016 22:58:46
 
estebanana

Posts: 8665
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to BarkellWH

Donde esta Enrique?

You have to read FOCB to get the punch line.

Paul I read your review. I agree one of the best books I've ever read in addition to being the flamenco classic.

Bill, I'm waiting for Richard's remarks on *And* the Wind Cried. Please read Flamencos of Cadiz Bay, I have confidence you'll have a satisfying read.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 26 2016 0:36:42
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3260
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to BarkellWH

Bill-

I agree wholeheartedly with Paul Magnussen's review of The Flamencos of Cadiz Bay.

I'm about a third of the way through The Wind Cried. So far I'm enjoying it, but that's not a review. I'll post after I have finished it and digested it a bit.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 26 2016 2:05:59
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3386
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to Paul Magnussen

Paul, many thanks for your review of "The Flamencos of Cadiz Bay." Sounds like a keeper, and I will definitely try to get a copy upon my return to Washington, DC.

Stephen, appreciate your seconding of Paul's review. I, too, await Richard's review of "The Wind Cried."

Richard, appreciate your seconding of Paul's review as well. Will await your review, and usual incisive comments, regarding "The Wind Cried."

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 26 2016 15:32:29
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3386
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to El Frijolito

quote:

Not sure what to make of my exclusion from the invitation to post on this topic, I will assume it's on the basis of comparative lack of familiarity or simply an oversight until otherwise informed.


It was neither "lack of familiarity" nor an "oversight." You are making a huge assumption if, as the quote cited above suggests, you think that I (or anyone else) am obligated to specifically cite you by name when requesting information, reviews or recommendations. In case you missed it, I cited Richard and Stephen by name because they already indicated they had read one or both volumes; and I stated "...and anyone else who has read one or both," which clearly would have included you. And your suggestion that you will hold to your assumptions "until otherwise informed" reeks of arrogance, as if you are laying down rules for Foro members to follow when inter-acting with you. "Until otherwise informed"???!!! Will we be sent to detention hall if we do not meet your expectations on the Foro?

Regarding James Greenberg and Zavaleta's. Zavaleta's La Casa de Guitarras, located in Oro Valley, just north of and adjacent to Tucson, Arizona, is a marvelous guitar emporium for both flamenco and classical guitars. James Greenberg runs it out of his home in Oro Valley, and one must make an appointment to meet him and see his guitars. He imports medium to high-end flamencos, largely from Spain, and he also sells guitars on consignment.

Several years ago I made arrangements to meet James in order to view and play his guitars. I ended up buying a Manuel Adalid flamenca blanca (Viviana) that had a fine set-up and beautiful sound. James also collects vintage guitars, and he let me play a 1935 Santos Hernandez, which was a real treat. Although I did not do it justice, it was fun just to be able to hold and play an original Santos Hernandez.

James is an interesting person. He, his lovely wife (who is from Oaxaca, Mexico), and I went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. He is a professor of applied anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, specializing in various aspects of the Borderlands. My wife Marta, who has a doctorate in Medical Anthropology, has crossed paths with James at several anthropological conferences over the years.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 26 2016 16:03:33
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1766
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

I agree wholeheartedly with Paul Magnussen's review of The Flamencos of Cadiz Bay.


Thanks, Richard. Shortly after I posted it, I got an e-mail of appreciation from Gerald Howson, which gave me considerable pleasure, and we corresponded for a bit.

Unfortunately, he was 84 by then, and he died shortly afterwards.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 26 2016 16:16:18
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to BarkellWH



_____________________________

\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 26 2016 17:06:10
 
Piwin

Posts: 3458
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to Leñador

Olé!

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"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 26 2016 17:06:54
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3260
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to BarkellWH

I finished "The Wind Cried" night before last, and slept on my response for a couple of nights.

The book isn't long, 197 pages. It's out of print, the first place I found it was at Danzeffguitars.com, in hardback, $27.95 plus shipping--if pages per $ is important.

It is chiefly a memoir of Paul Hecht's time in Spain in the early 1960s. Hecht was thirty years old in 1957 when he made his first trip to Spain. He had studied Spanish at university and lived in Mexico for a while, so he was reasonably fluent in the language.

The book narrates Hecht's fascination with cante and the social phenomena of the peña as they were at the time, and their effect on his own struggle to overcome alienation and inhibition in order to become a writer.

He tells of his first serious contact with cante at the Peña Juan Breva of Malaga. His emphasis throughout the book is that the validity of a cante performance depends upon the cantaor's ability to access and convey with sincerity and purity the emotions of the palo and letras, and the reciprocal sincerity of the responses of a small group of listeners, maybe only one real aficionado among several listeners.

He finds in this experience something foreign to his own culture as an American academic from New York, and sets out to become an aficionado. We get an account of the journey over a period of several years.

Along the way we get several good character sketches of cantaores and aficionados, and penetrating observations of the culture composed of flamencos and of aficionados of all social classes, as it was in the early 1960s.

Hecht points out the forces of modernization in Spain at the time, which tended to destroy the culture he was bent upon joining.

The book is well written, and it engaged me. In only one chapter does Hecht emphasize his personal quest to overcome alienation and inhibition.

You won't get any technical info about cante or guitar, though these are among the main subjects. This is true of every book about flamenco I have read, addressed to a general readership.

The present edition came out in 1993, 25 years after the first edition. Hecht says he corrected a few factual errors, but did not otherwise update the main text. He added an epilogue, saying how things had changed in the intervening 25 years, and giving a warm sketch of his friendship with the family Peña of Lebrija. This family includes El Lebrijano, Pedro and Inés Bacan, and had connections with Fernanda and Bernarda de Utrera, as well as many other historical figures of the arte. He describes the personal stamp each member gives to palos from the family tradition.

There is an appendix of letras accompanied by Hecht´s translations. He says he is not well satisfied with the translations. The letras themselves may interest the reader.

All in all, I liked the book. I enjoyed the many character sketches, and Hecht's perceptions of how the society of flamencos and aficionados functioned. Hecht figures as a character in the book, as he must in a memoir. I found him sympathetic.

Whatever you may think of Hecht's quest for personal authenticity, it can't hurt to be reminded to pay attention to what we are trying to convey when we play, and whether we are making that connection, at least to some of the listeners.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 1 2016 22:55:07
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3386
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Richard,

Thank you for posting your thoughts on Hecht's book, "The Wind Cried." Your take on it reflects your usual erudition and is much appreciated.

Marta and I are departing Oro Valley/Tucson tomorrow for a couple of days in Tempe, Arizona, and then returning home to Washington, DC April 5. We have really enjoyed the two months in the Tucson area. Will be sorry to leave.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 2 2016 16:29:19
 
Piwin

Posts: 3458
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to BarkellWH

I would like to follow up on this thread with a query of my own.
I recently heard of a book called "El Guitarrista" by Luis Landero. It seems to be at least in part autobiographical as the author did work as a flamenco guitarist in Madrid to make ends meet during his teenage years. He later moved on to literature once his academic career got on track. It doesn't seem to have been translated into English.
Has anyone read this? Can you recommend it?
Here is the summary from Casa del libro:

Una nueva novela de Luis Landero siempre es una fiesta. Pero, con El guitarrista, los lectores percibirán una inflexión, tal vez un nuevo registro, en su trayectoria literaria, lo cual, ya de por sí, reserva alguna grata sorpresa añadida a la calidad y gratificación que nos tiene acostumbrados: la coincidencia inicial que acerca de un modo asombroso el autor al narrador que cuenta, desde la madurez, sus años de formación. Emilio, un adolescente obligado a trabajar por las mañanas como aprendiz de mecánico en un lóbrego taller y a estudiar por las tardes en una academia, vive esos años decisivos como «un laberinto de instantes, de promesas» en sus encuentros con los tipos a los que su madre alquila una habitación. Pero, un día, aparece su primo Raimundo, que vuelve de París y le cuenta sus éxitos como guitarrista de flamenco. Emilio se deja arrastrar por el señuelo de la vida bohemia que éste le promete y aprende a tocar la guitarra con la esperanza, que no la convicción, de escapar del taller y las clases. Lo que no puede imaginar es que su recién adquirida pericia con las cuerdas le pondrá en contacto con la mujer de su patrón, Adriana, una joven despampanante y extrañamente fatal, a quien se ve obligado a dar clases de guitarra. Emilio intuye que su vida puede caer en una trampa aún más traicionera que la del propio taller, pero gustoso acepta por una vez el reto que se le presenta.

_____________________________

"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 23 2016 22:00:27
 
kitarist

Posts: 1568
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

Paul, many thanks for your review of "The Flamencos of Cadiz Bay." Sounds like a keeper, and I will definitely try to get a copy upon my return to Washington, DC.

Richard, appreciate your seconding of Paul's review as well.



This book came up again recently via Richard Jernigan in the 'best article on flamenco' thread, and I was writing a response when Simon locked it so am posting instead here in case you, Bill, (or anyone else ) is still looking for the book:

quote:

ORIGINAL: Richard Jernigan
One exception: "The Flamencos of Cádiz Bay" by Gerald Howson. It's not history or flamencology. It's an account of the author's acquaintance with the Cadiz flamencos of the 1950s, centered around the great cantaor Aurelio Selles. Names are changed in the book, but the characters are real people. Unfortunately it's out of print and the quoted web prices are outrageous. If it's available from a local library or even if you have to use inter-library loan, it's worth the trouble to get hold of it.


I recently discovered a hitherto-untapped source of the 1994 revised edition of "The Flamencos of Cádiz Bay" (where names of those who have passed have been revealed) and managed to finally get a copy of it.

It seemed highly unlikely that it would happen as I inquired about a deep google search hit - a list of books for sale from the 2000s on a webpage that hasn't been touched since (how likely is it to still have copies of an out-of-print book after selling it on the web for 10+ years??) To my amazement, the owner replied and, despite giving the impression of someone who hardly wanted to be bothered pre-retirement, confirmed he still has the book and gave me extremely fast and accurate service.

I got the impression he might have more copies of it and, in gratitude, offered to let like-minded people know on a forum so he gets a few more customers; he never replied to that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (see "giving the impression of someone who hardly wanted to be bothered" above ) So I will not put his contact details here in public, but if anyone is still looking for this book, I can pass on the contact info via PM (he never said not to do that, so I think I am ok there; after all, the webpage with the list is still public).

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 17 2021 0:09:59
 
devilhand

 

Posts: 1243
Joined: Oct. 15 2019
 

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to kitarist

quote:

I was writing a response when Simon locked it so am posting instead here

Didn't understand why the thread must be closed. Nothing abnormal happened.
People shared information and recommended flamenco books. Some people like to read books, some don't from different reasons.
It was an overreaction from Simon. All I can say is Laissez-faire!

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Say No to Fuera de Compás!!!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 17 2021 15:23:56
 
Escribano

Posts: 6356
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to devilhand

quote:

It was an overreaction from Simon.


Try me

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 17 2021 16:15:35
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1766
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to kitarist

quote:

I recently discovered a hitherto-untapped source of the 1994 revised edition of "The Flamencos of Cádiz Bay" (where names of those who have passed have been revealed) and managed to finally get a copy of it.


I got some further revelations in the e-mail from Gerald Howson that I mentioned previously:

quote:

Yes, Efren was Eloy and Serafin de Algondonales was Felix de Utrera. Porfirio Diaz was Amós Rodriguez, the brother of Beni de Cadiz. I renamed him after a Mexican general for a joke. I suspected the brothers tended to seek litigation whenever the slightest chance presented itself.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 17 2021 18:12:01
 
estebanana

Posts: 8665
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to Paul Magnussen

I understand that in the epilogue Howson talked about the wizz kid guitarist in Madrid that got kicked out of the gig was Geronimo Maya, his dad Felipe wouldn’t put up with him rolling his eyes at a senior guitarist warming up with old style toque.

This story is true as David Serva related it to me, says Felipe banned the boy for two months from visiting dad at the Coral for being an impudent brat. Geronimo apparently also was amazed that Uncle David Serva as from California as he was surprised to hear David say he was going to America to visit his family.

My question, I was never able to figure out who the guitarist was that young Geronimo rolled his eyes at? Anyone?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 28 2021 10:29:11
 
kitarist

Posts: 1568
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Flamenco Literature (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

I understand that in the epilogue Howson talked about the wizz kid guitarist in Madrid that got kicked out of the gig was Geronimo Maya, his dad Felipe wouldn’t put up with him rolling his eyes at a senior guitarist warming up with old style toque.

This story is true as David Serva related it to me, says Felipe banned the boy for two months from visiting dad at the Coral for being an impudent brat. Geronimo apparently also was amazed that Uncle David Serva as from California as he was surprised to hear David say he was going to America to visit his family.

My question, I was never able to figure out who the guitarist was that young Geronimo rolled his eyes at? Anyone?


I was looking at that postscript yesterday and there is some other information in there that should help identify the guitarist:

1. The anecdote happens 1991-1992 (since Jerónimo Maya is 14 at the time).

2. The "elderly and much respected tocaor [..] had been regarded as an ultra-modernist of the school of Niño Ricardo and Sabicas". (this should narrow it down considerably; also 'elderly' in 1992 would mean someone born in the 1920s or before).

3. He had recorded together with Niño Ricardo accompanying a singer (so he is among the few guitarists whose names appear on Niño Ricardo's records).

This should be enough for someone who knows his flamenco guitarists. I don't know enough, but from looking at the Niño Ricardo LPs, maybe Antonio Albaicín (1912 - 2009)? I see his name next to Niño Ricardo's on some.

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2021 6:21:35
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