When many people think of the guitar, they think of the dramatic folk music of
southern Spain known as flamenco. This passionate music is closest to the heart
and soul of the Spanish guitar, and every guitarist will be tempted to learn at
least one flamenco piece.
Flamenco is the music of the gypsies of Andalusia, with origins that draw on
the musical tradition of the Moors and Sephardic Jews as well as that of the gypsies
themselves. In the early part of the nineteenth century, this music found popularity
with a wider audience through its presentation in the café cantante, a place for
enthusiasts to gather and hear what was previously the music of the campfire.
Like the blues in America, flamenco acquired a following among privileged groups
of people far removed from the suffering and deprivation that gave birth to many
of the songs. These songs that cry from the heart are the essence of flamenco, and
the guitar, now as then, is the favored instrument of accompaniment.