2017 - Ongoing
La Puebla de Cazalla, Andalusia, Spain
"And so there are screams and moans and pain, and the smile of the angel fluttering it's wings in the corner of the tavern. Then the scale opens in three hundred directions to touch the dormant beat of silence; where sound is as long as the horizons in which the howling of the dogs, the cries of children and the trilling of the birds blend in a perfect rhythm of agony". Francisco Moreno Galván, "Poesía del flamenco".
These are the words of my great uncle Francisco defining "el duende", a heightened state of emotion and expression connected with flamenco. He was a painter and a poet, who composed lyrics for flamenco singers in the times of Franco's dictatorship to protest against the regime. Today I find inspiration in his poetry to explore the magical values of photography and this “deep” music.
This project is an attempt to find this elusive moment of catharsis and strives to shed light on the origins of this powerful and deep expression, a cry of agony from the poor or minority groups, which is particularly expressed within the gypsy community.
Flamenco is often superficially misinterpreted as a festive and happy performance art, following folkloric stereotypes. Far from being cheerful, its lyrics deal with themes of death, anguish, despair or religious sentiments attached to a collective history of exclusion and marginalization. Its commercialization and world-wide recognition have tended to show one face of it forgetting the conditions that made it flourish in the first place.
Since it's origin, and particularly when flamenco became staged in public, there has been a sense that it will loose it's true essence, it's roots. An essence which is manifest in "cante jondo"- or deep song-. Today, the sensation of loss of that primitive essence is as strong as ever, as I strive to encounter the transitory glimmers of that magical past.