I realize that I'm only 3 or 4 years behind the times when it comes to entertainment technology, but since I only recently figured out how to use a MP3 player and upload audio files from my computer, I thought I should start posting some audio files here as well. There is a ton of good material on the net freely available to download as mp3 files or as a Podcast.
Podcasts in particlular are now offered at most alternative media web sites and you can hear some great interviews by simply downloading the Podcast to your computer. You can further load them into a portable MP3 player and listen to them while doing other work-which is what I like to do. A MP3 player is so small and light, you hardly know you're carrying it.
To listen to a MP3 file, you need a program on your computer that can play those files. You can download Windows Media Player from Microsoft for free and you'll
be able to play many types of audio (and video) files, beside the MP3 files. Windows Media Player 11 is the latest version, but it's a big download and requires an XP platform. I'm using Media Player 10 and I'm perfectly happy with it. If you have Windows 98 or 2000, then you need to download the earlier Media Player 9 or 7.1 version.
Go to this link and choose the Windows Media Player version that best fits your platform and requirements:
After you finish downloading the program, you install it and then reboot your computer.
Then, to hear the files I'll be posting below, just click on the link and the file will open up in your Windows Media Player. If you want to keep the file, then click on the "File" (for Version 7.1) or right click the "Now Playing" tab on the Menu bar if working with Media Player 10 and you will see "File" which opens another menu which you then hit "save as" to whatever folder you want to keep the file stored in.
"Gitano" is the Spanish word for gypsy and I guess you know what Amor means.
The Gypsy Kings are from France and about half of them are related to the late gypsy cantaor, Jose Reyes, and flamenco guitarist, Ricardo Baliardo. Ricardo made a big splash in the 1960's as the flamenco guitarist "Manitas de Plata". Pablo Picasso took quite a shine to Manitas and invited him to play at his villa often, so that made Manitas even more popular with the Jet Set, so he went from being a relatively poor and unknown guitarist to being a much sought-after performer in a very short space of time. Serious aficionados of flamenco could never take Manitas seriously because he did not know how to properly maintain the basic rhythmic undercurrent of flamenco which is referred to as the 'compas', but he was a smash hit with popular audiences all the same, as they didn't need to know their 'compas' from their compass. He played with a lot of speed and genuine fire, so despite his lack of knowledge of the compas, he turned people on because his playing went straight to the heart.
Much the same could be said of the Gypsy Kings. They play a "pop" type of flamenco that draws frequently on the flamenco rumba (different from the South American rhumba). You can't help but want to get up and dance when you hear them play because their playing and arrangements go right to the heart of the matter. The voice of the lead singer (Nicolas Reyes) contains that raspy, gitano quality that is much desired among flamenco lovers. The lead guitarist responsible for those incredibly fast picado rifts is Tonino Baliardo.
Donn Pohren, an American ex-patriot living in Spain, wrote one of the best books ever explaining flamenco to English readers. It was called The Art of Flamenco. I often wonder whether Donn is still alive. I used to write to him occasionally in the 1970's
[Update: Donn Pohren passed away on November 5, 2007
A decent flamenco guitarist in his own right, Donn played a huge role in bringing the true art of flamenco from its confines in the gypsy caves of Sacromonte to
a much wider international audience who, hitherfore, had only been exposed to the trite, Hollywood version of flamenco. He single handedly brought to the world's attention the old-style, flamencopuro guitar playing of Diego del Gastor of Moron de la Frontera in southern Spain].
Music is good for the soul. Listen to good music often and you will refresh yourself and acquire more strength and stamina to handle the more trying challenges in life.
Subject: Flamenco Puro and Paco Peña
Date: Mon, March 22, 2010
To: Ken Adachi
I was really pleased to read your article about flamenco music. I couldn't
agree with you more; we need something like GOOD MUSIC to make us spiritually strong
in facing up to the great challenge of today's evils.
For myself, I play the harpsichord and run an early music group in France. We play
renaissance and baroque music. Without it we would all have "died"
I would just like to have a look at someone who many people consider to be a very
great flamenco artist and who was a personal friend during his early years
(1970-1974) in London (England): Paco Peña.
He was the first flamenco player to introduce authentic flamenco (as far as I know),
which he called "Flamenco Puro" to England. He brought his family and
artist friends over from Andalusia every year. There where usually 2 dancers, a
singer, and two guitarists. After the big public concert they would come back to the
house to eat, drink, play, dance and sing! The music usually started at about
midnight and continued all night. One time the police arrived because of the noise
but when they saw Paco and his troupe, they where so astonished they took off there
helmets, we sat them down and gave them a drink and they stayed all night!
Pity it's not like that all the time, everywhere.
So, until that happens we are doing our little best to make it like that.
Once again, thanks for your wonderful site.
All best wishes from France.
What a great story! Yes, of course, Paco Pena is a wonderful player and a very warm person. Best of all, he's a regular guy and doesn't have the ego problems that many players of his rank are saddled with. I saw him perform a number of times in New York City in the 1980s. I think he comes from Cordoba and must have acquired his humility and warmth from those people.
Very often, whenever a flamenco dance company performed in New York, you could find the entire company partying all night long in one of the many small Spanish restaurants or bars on 14th Street. La Sangria was a favorite watering hole for flamenco types (at the time) and if a big name company was in town, that bar was the place to be because the really good stuff started after 2:30 a.m. when they closed their doors to the public. From then until 7 or 8 a.m., you could hear some truly fantastic playing and singing by local artists who would try to outshine each other and see if they could match the duende of the professionals. Of course, the pros wanted to outgun each other too, so the competition was off the chart and for anybody lucky enough to be there, it was Flamenco Heaven. It was really something to see and hear.
People who are interested in flamenco, whether performer or spectator, love life. That's the thing I enjoy most about that ambiance, or aire, as the Spanish call it. Flamenco is a deep and powerful art form that requires knowledge to appreciate and fathom. Once you understand what's going on though, and given the right circumstances and the right performers, you can be transported to far away vistas of profound emotional beauty. There's nothing else quite like it It makes you happy to be alive.
All information posted on this web site is
the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.
It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor
can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer
of your choice for medical care and advice.