Fun Magazine,May 2003
spices up Taiwan¡¦s
By Vito Lee
Translated by Cheryl Robbins
start out with the strumming of a guitar. The dancer (or
dancers) slowly appear with arms raised and castanets in
hand. The dance picks up speed and later includes dizzying
twists and turns. The dancer's shoes strike the wooden floor
in perfect coordination with the guitarist¡¦s strumming,
from slow and sad to feverishly passionate.
to the increasing popularity of flamenco, performances of
this important part of Spanish culture are taking place
in pubs near Taipei¡¦s ShiDa Road.
is a unique art form that combines dance, singing
and guitar music. Most CD stores classify flamenco
music as ¡§world music,¡¨ but flamenco artists will
tell you that flamenco is not folk music. Derived
from ancient Spanish music, as well as the Byzantine,
Jewish, Iberian Peninsula, and other Mediterranean
cultures, flamenco has developed over several centuries.
limb movements of the flamenco dancer not only emphasize
physical strength, but along with facial expressions,
help to tell the story behind the music. The exquisite
hand movements are similar to those of Indian dance.
In addition to being accompanied by a vocalist and
a guitar player, the dancer may use castanets, clapping
or foot stomping in time with the music.
most famous flamenco singer of modern times is Camaron de
la Isla. He began singing in public as a child. At the age
of 16, he became a professional singer, and has since achieved
great fame throughout the world.
any serious discussion of flamenco guitarists, it is necessary
to mention Paco De Lucia. He is a truly gifted guitar player
who learned the traditions of flamenco very early in life.
He has earned a great following among flamenco guitar fans
all over the world. His later works are more refined and
include rumba and other musical styles.
music has a number of different styles, the most common
having 12 beats per cycle. During the chorus, the guitar
player may improvise. Flamenco styles also have very
descriptive names, such as soleares, which in Spanish
means solitude and alegrias, which in Spanish means
happiness. Both of these styles include 12 beats per
cycle. Flamenco novices usually start out by learning
these two styles. Another flamenco style is Buleria.
This type of music is played at gypsy festivals and
celebrations, and is lively and fast.
has been designated as an important part of world heritage
by the United Nations. For those with a deeper interest
in flamenco music, the CD ¡§Le Chant du Monde¡¨ is a must
have. This collection of flamenco tracks, compiled by a
French music recording institute, can be purchased at fnac.
the increasing popularity of this art form, flamenco
classrooms have opened around the island. Cuadro Flamenco
Fuego Fantastico holds classes in Taipei, Kaohsiung
and Taichung. More information can be obtained online
living in Kaohsiung or Hsinchu can study with Hsu
Jin-hsien, who lived in Spain for more than 20 years.
She can be reached at 0952-528-935