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El Cante - Flamenco Song

El Cante - Flamenco Song

So many people interested in Flamenco dance outside of Spain have a bit of a problem - they don't like the singing. We say it's a problem because, without singing there is no Flamenco! It truly is as simple as that. The singing came first - it is the inspiration for everything that came after, including the dance. In recent years performance guitarists tend to play more guitar-only compositions in which the virtuoso guitar picado takes the place of the singer, but structurally the music still follows the same shape as the song, and the song is vital in understanding the artform itself.

Dancers dance for the song ‑ it colors a dance, it changes the emotion, it is a communication between the singer and the dancer which, when done properly, can take the performance to a whole new level.

It may be true that, to unaccustomed ears, it can sound strange and discordant. Flamenco works from a phrygian scale which is unusual in Western music, so it may sound a little off. But once you're used to it, it sounds perfect. But to get used to it you need to listen. And how do you listen to something that you don't really like?

First of all, don't write it off. You will find that some singers can be a lot easier to listen to than others for those new to the form. It is so important to keep trying, as the beauty of the song will eventually shine through. Everyone has unique tastes, but the more recent Flamenco singers tend to be easier to listen to as they often have a stronger influence of other types of music in their song. Try perhaps Estrella Morente, Mayte Martin or Miguel Poveda and then research what you like from there. But you must listen! It's like strong coffee - you might not like it at first, but once you get used to it you wonder how you ever lived without it!