Flamenco is the soul music of Andalucía and Spain.
Much like the history of Spain, it is complex and entangled; a form of music with a number of influences where the soul of Spain is manifested in rhythm, melody, singing / storytelling and dancing. Flamenco is understood by some as the artistic expression where northern and western African, Arabic, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean, Indian and Latin American musical heritages are threaded and distilled to their bare and shared essences.
From wikipedia :
Flamenco, in its strictest sense, is an art form based on the various folkloric music traditions of southern Spain in the autonomous community of Andalusia, specially in areas of Sevilla, Cádiz, Huelva and Jerez de la Frontera, as well as in some areas of the Region of Murcia and Extremadura. In a wider sense, not always in a correct way, the term is used to refer to the variety of similar Spanish musical styles from the South of Spain.
Flamenco dates from the 18th century. The oldest record of flamenco music dates to 1774 in the book Las Cartas Marruecas by José Cadalso. Although the RAE dictionary associates it with Andalusian popular culture and the notable presence of Gitanos in Spain during its origin, the exact origin of flamenco is unknown and the subject of many hypotheses. Current studies about the genre tells us that it is in fact a cross-cultural interchange of different cultures that coincided in Andalusia.
The musical genre influences can be seen in its dances, singing, music, clothing, instruments, rules, etc. from Romani (they came from India)/Gitanos, Gregorian chants from the Catholic Church, Oriundos, Jewish, Al-Ándalus, Castellanos... that converged in Spain and created the modern flamenco.
Although its germ already existed in the Andalusian region long before the Gitanos arrived, also taking into account that there were Gitanos in other regions of Spain and Europe; flamenco was only cultivated by those who were in Andalusia. In Spain Flamenco has been influenced by and associated always with Gitanos and Romani people from Spain; however, its origin and style are uniquely Andalusian (Hayes 2009, 31–37) and Flamenco artists have historically included Spanish in both Gitano/Romani heritage or not.
Manuel Ríos Ruiz notes that the development of flamenco is well documented: "the theatre movement of sainetes (one-act plays) and tonadillas, popular song books and song sheets, customs, studies of dances, and toques, perfection, newspapers, graphic documents in paintings and engravings....in continuous evolution together with rhythm, the poetic stanzas, and the ambiance" Flamenco has become popular all over the world, especially the United States and Japan. In Japan, there are more flamenco academies than there are in Spain
On November 16, 2010, UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity (Anon. 2010), and it is also Andalusian Ethnological Intangible Cultural Heritage and is registered in the General Inventory of Movable Assets of the Region of Murcia established by the General Directorate of Fine Arts and Cultural Assets.
This description uses material from the Wikipedia article Flamenco, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.