“RAICES: A Further Exploration of the Tangled Roots of Flamenco”

In 1997, Flamenco Rosario and the Indian Music Society embarked on an exploration of the shared bonds between Kathak rhythms and Sephardic music in the development and culture of flamenco with Raices at the Norman Rothstein theatre. A demonstration of the early influences on the form, the show presented dance, Kaddish and musical works. Returning to both this historical view of the medium and its multicultural development as well as the current appeal of working with diverse artistic communities, Flamenco Rosario will undertake a further exploration of Flamenco’s roots among Persian culture in an added collaboration with tar musician Amir Koushkani and percussionist Hamin Honari adding a further dimension to this work. In the year 711, the great Muslim Arab Empire was ruled from Damascus as its Berber troops crossed the straits of Gibraltar and began its conquest of Spain. This area was given the name ”al-Andalus” which is often translated as Andalucia but in its strict sense, it designates Muslim Spain. In 750 AD the Abbasid revolution in the East swept away the Syrian Umayyad caliphate and savagely butchered its princes. Miraculously one of the latter ‘Abd al-Rahman grandsons of the caliph escaped and made his way to Spain and established the Cordoba caliphate. In the tenth century, Cordoba became one of the leading political and cultural centres of the Muslim world renowned for its libraries assimilating the best of Judaism and Byzantine science as well as providing the rest of Europe with translations of Greek philosophers. This Arab Spain linked Orient and Occident, past and future, Antiquity and the Renaissance. In the IX Century, the reigning Califa of Cordoba sent for Ziryab a famous Persian singer and musician to teach the court musicians songs and their accompaniments on a four-stringed tar. Over time two more strings were added and the result was the birth of our modern day guitar. Ziriyab had an enormous influence on the development of Andalucian music. He introduced the Persian Lute that evolved into the Spanish guitar and he taught the passionate songs and dances of Persia and Mesopotamia. The guitar, same as its forerunners was primarily an accompanying instrument closely connected to the poetry and this relationship also continues in Flamenco, as its most important role is still the accompaniment of the song and the dance. Eventually, this music embraced the influence of the Romani and became known as Spanish Flamenco. The passion of Flamenco embodies a universal experience regardless of origin.

Victor Kolstee

Flamenco Rosario Musical Director