How To Be In The Flamenco Moment

I recently went to my first flamenco gig/show at the well-known bar/club Le Chien Andalou in the Albayzin in Granada and absolutely loved it. Before going, I admit to having reservations about the night turning into some kind of so-called authentic ‘chicken-in-a-basket’ show designed for tourists, however it seemed more than authentic enough for my uneducated flamenco ears. The venue was small with only about 30-40 people in the audience and the stage was tiny and so the feeling was quite intimate.

Flamenco dancer Sara Baras performs next to flamenco guitarists during the filming of "Flamenco, Flamenco" in Seville
Flamenco dancer Sara Baras in the film ‘Flamenco Flamenco’ by Carlos Saura

I’ve never previously been too bothered about the dancing element of flamenco and so I was quite surprised seeing how important it was to the whole show. I saw how the guitarist followed the singer and then when she appeared, the two musicians both followed the dancer. You could really feel the almost primeval communication on stage and it was really hypnotic.

However, while all this was going on, there were a handful of people who weren’t watching and engaging with the show directly but filming it on their phones. Now I love technology and understand wanting to take pictures of an event/show/gig as a keepsake/souvenir, but why on earth would you want to film such an intimate event and watch it through a phone when it’s right in front of you? Isn’t the experience you came for in the reality as opposed to watching it after the fact? Unless you have a state-of-the-art movie camera, how good would the quality really be anyway?

Ian Brown

The situation reminded me of a comment by Ian Brown of the Stone Roses on stage at one of their comeback gigs a couple of years ago. He was getting annoyed about audience members filming the gig with their phone and not actually watching it when it was actually happening and said:

“If you put your cameras down you might be able to live in the moment. You have a memory there of something you’ve never lived.”

In a society full of constant technology, it is perhaps important to consider that although having ‘sparks’ to help you remember important moments in the past can be a lovely thing, experiencing the moment at the time you have it is surely the most wonderful thing, isn’t it?

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