It all started on a Saturday in November of 2012. It was raining, and at the Lagar Tio Jose Parrilla in Jerez de La Frontera me and my friend & guitarist Stefano witnessed our first show of our adventure in Andalusia in search of the meaning of flamenco. This is a frame of the video that I shot that night, showing some of what at that time we did not know would later become the project of Flamenco sin Fronteras movie.
We had arrived in Jerez de La Frontera the night before, but too late to have a bit of flamenco, of which we knew that the city was one of the cradles and that was the purpose of our trip. Due to a daring landing at Malaga airport for bad weather on that of Seville, where we had to land, we arrived in the capital of Andalusia by train and from there we went to Jerez with the car we had booked, not having convinced the car rental in the city of arrival to change us the pick up airport, although also in Malaga there was a car hire of the same company.
For the feeling of having lost a good evening for the performances, that of Friday, on Saturday we were therefore particularly hungry for flamenco and wanted to recover after the little unlucky start. Tablao Parrilla was recommended to us among the options for a good show from José of Flamencos de Timbuktu Library, with whom in the morning we had a long conversation which then we will tell. Being our first time in Jerez (but not in Andalusia) and having not found free flamenco events for the evening, we paid a little reluctantly our ticket and we entered into what seemed a very typical place of a family of flamenco artists, the Parrilla precisely. Included in the price we had a drink and so we asked at the counter a red wine, which in truth I remember as perhaps the worst wine drunk in Andalusia. Served cold from the refrigerator (in November!) and maybe it was not the Rioja we had asked. We sat at the tables with the typical wicker and colorful chairs, and slowly the room was filled with foreigners. Probably there wasn’t a Spanish person in the audience, almost certainly not an Andalusian, apart from the local managers. From these first signs we had the feeling of being stumbled on a show for tourists, precisely the situation we wanted to avoid, and with this beginning we felt a little uncomfortable.
But as soon as the guitarist began playing with an amazing “compas” (rhythm), the singer to sing incomprehensible but passionate verses, with his deep low and husky voice, and the dancers to stand up for their performances, we realized that despite a designed and prepared program, that night we were witnessing what for us was the first emergence of the force, and I would say the pride, of flamenco. Then we got to know later some of those artists, especially the guitarist Jesús and the singer Luis, but about this we will say later. This fact was only the start of our first flamenco journey and this article the beginning of our storytelling. Our little merit perhaps is to have considered that night as an “initiation”, to have accepted the challenge that those artists indirectly launched us. To go beyond the ticket shows and the programs, as they themselves were doing while in a programmed situation, and as I did later with my life, because despite that show who were attended maybe by just hurried tourists, we could see already that flamenco is not just a musical style, but much more.
What is really flamenco I do not presume to tell you, but I tried to discover different aspects of thies world and to let it tell from the many people who live or that I met in Andalusia from that evening, and that you will see in the Flamenco sin Fronteras movie if you support economically its realization. I ask your help because first the shooting and now the editing is costing me a lot of work, for the many videos realized in the following months, but mainly because the testimonies of all these actors have a great value and are difficult to cut: for this reason after a feature film I would like to realize a series in episodes. Meanwhile, with the conscience that we are still researching, I remember with pleasure that evening at Lagar Parrilla as a starting point of a journey of discovery and I wanted to tell it. Share this and the upcoming stories, donate and book a copy of the film, if you want to participate. Whether you do not know anything, whether you think you learned a lot, whether you believe that flamenco is not about you, I am convinced that the people I met will come straight to the heart of each one and will involve you as it happened to me.
This is my “F version” of that night at Lagar Parrilla. Would you like to know Stefano version of our beginning story, with other details? Donate and you will read it soon! Olé!