Flamenco’s famous people: Marcos in conversation with Andrew Beck
This year marks the third anniversary of flamenco week at Coventry University. A range of events was held that allowed the public to learn about the underrepresented flamenco culture for free. Marcos Young joined Andrew Beck to discuss the lives of some of the pioneers of flamenco music.
The first conversation kicked off with a discussion of Federica Garcia Lorca’s contribution to flamenco music. Since the downfall of the empire, Spain struggled with their identity as a state. To quote Marcos, “People began to question, what is Spanish?”, and in the midst of the increasing flamenco popularity, they found themselves ‘Spanish-ness’. Lorca was a playwright-poet and theatre director. Born in 1898 after the downfall of the Spanish empire, he played a massive part in introducing flamenco to the world. Growing up, he had gipsies nannies who sang flamenco song to him. Lorca was fascinated by flamenco music’s four-line structure. People like Lorca, who were playwrights and poets, began to see flamenco as a Spanish element that people could be proud of- something they can share with the world. In 1922, Lorca helped put on a festival at the Concurso in La Plaza de Los Aljibes that was dedicated to flamenco music, to showcase the different talents in flamenco music in a competition-styled event. Unfortunately, it did not receive a positive response from the press- gipsies were disliked by many, and this was most prevalent especially during the Franco regime, where they were prosecuted and harassed. In his dedication to flamenco music, Lorca found interest in its political aspect, which eventually led to his assassination. The second part of Marcos in conversation with Andrew Beck continued with an in-depth discussion about the year of Cameron. Cameron was a prominent figure in flamenco culture because of his singing. Marcos who wrote a book dedicated to Cameron’s legacy said: “Cameron is simply the greatest singer in the three hundred years of flamenco as we know it today”. Cameron, who was born in 1950, changed flamenco music during his career as a singer. During this time, flamenco music started to become a style of music that was mostly for the older generation. “Cameron revised the different forms and rhythms to produce a very new sound, and then young people started coming back to it,” Marcos said. The singer attracted enormous crowds wherever he performed, including in Paris where they compared him to the famous Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger.
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