Flamenco: the Land Is still Fertile - Home
We believe that traditional flamenco, declared a "cultural heritage of humankind" by the European Union, is in danger of disappearing. And while we recognize that there is room for debate, we also believe that flamenco's core and most emblematic forms come out of and have been preserved by the gitano (Spanish Gypsy) community, and that it is intimately linked with the history and values of that community.
We are creating this documentary not only to show these links, but also to encourage its continued vitality. The music industry, changes in the way of life, and modern forms of communication such as television and the internet are threatening to flood the market with music and dance referred to as "flamenco" but which in fact represent various forms of fusion of traditional flamenco with other art forms.
While we don't want to do harm to these new art forms, we do still hope that traditional flamenco will continue on, both because of its beauty and because of the important lessons it embodies about universal sentiment and the history of the gitano community.
Scenes we have shot
We began with a generous grant from Media Art Works (MAW), choosing our first scenes based on the age or health of the participants: small children, the elderly, and those in poor health.
When the money from the initial MAW grant ran out, we used our own funds to shoot famous singer (cantaor) Manuel Agujetas shortly before his untimely death. Other fine singers we've filmed include Manuel Moneo, la Macanita, Manuel de Malena, Antonio Agujetas, Elu de Jerez, and Antonio de la Malena.
Since singing is a critical part of our documentary, we created scenes to play in the background in parts of the verses to make them more accessible.
We have also added two solo guitarists: Diego del Morao and Manuel Parrilla. Guitarists accompanists include Malena Hijo, Domingo Rubichi, el Barrullito, and Santiago Moreno.
We have also filmed interviews of key experts: Manuel Morao, Manuel Ríos Ruiz, Pepe Marín, Mateo Solea (who also sang a trilla and a nana for us), Curro Cajón. Diego Fernández and Estela Zatania. We filmed several elders including la Yoya and la Curra who danced a wonderful bulerias, as well as several scenes related to the history of gitanos.
Most recently, thanks to another generous grant from MAW, we filmed the spectacular dancing of María del Mar Moreno and Antonio el Pipa. Each one performed a solo for us, and in addition, they danced one number together.
Scenes we will shoot next
In the spring of 2017, finances permitting, we plan to film two young professional dancers, representing the hopes for the future. We will also shoot a lively fin de fiesta, hopefully including Juana la del Pipa and el Capullo.
And we hope to film a performance of the mirabras and scenes related both to it and to the alegrias that la Elu de Jerez has already sung for us: scenes of with fishermen mending their nets and the like. After all, the great singer la Paquera came from a family of fishmongers!
Plus if ever we could find the funding, we'll film a scene representing the cafés cantante of yesteryear, and a recreation of the dichos gitanos, part of a traditional gitano wedding celebration.
There will also be more scenes to tie all this together and make a rich tapestry of the film, showing the connection between traditional flamenco, the land from which it springs, and the way of life that it celebrates.
We invite you to contact us, to participate in the creation of this documentary. We can send you a business plan and other details and would welcome the chance to talk to you.