“The Art of Flamenco”

The Flamencos of Cadiz BayAt the outset of discussing setting The Mapmaker’s Opera with Béa as a Musical, I indicated that I would try to suffuse the Musical with a true sense of ‘toque’: an expression referring to all aspects of the guitar in Flamenco. As alluded to in my previous discussion on this subject, that pretty much put the cat amongst the pigeons!

As part of my this journey trying to adapt my classical guitar technique to something resembling very ham-fisted flamenco guitar performance; whilst simultaneously attempting to come to grips with all aspects of Flamenco music theory, I also embarked on a journey to read as much as I could about Flamenco in general. There are a few books that are simply just worth reading for the sheer joy of their narrative.

The first of these is a biographical memoir by the English writer, Gerald Howson. The book is The Flamencos of Cadiz Bay. Originally written prior to 1965, and relating to Howson’s sojourn in Spain between 1954-7; ostensibly as an ESL teacher, the book was re-published in a second edition in 1993 with commentary by the author reflecting on his own writing nearly thirty years prior and the way that life in Spain had radically changed. You have to keep reminding yourself that this is not a novel, and that the author is relating stories of his own experience. Captivating from beginning to end, Howson’s Spain Continue Reading →