Sal's flamenco soapbox

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Duende in folklore

The Duende are best described as gray little old men. They are one-eyed, big-nosed, and have only one nostril........ Regardless of how the parents treat the Duende, the Duende will steal children at night.....And like a leprechaun, the gold it gives disappears after some time and must be spent quickly..... Read full text of Duende folktales


The sexual connection

Have you ever seen the wild look on the face of an accomplished dancer in full flight. It may be considered theatrical and well rehearsed by some, but the sexual overtones are not exactly subtle when that special something takes over. samThe seductive moves and gestures are part of what a dancer would learn in class, but the passionate expression of these moves comes from somewhere inside. Whether it's put on or not, it works for me. Of course, not all dances are designed to be seductive. We are talking here about buleria, tangos and similar dance forms. The elegance and grace of the more stately dance forms are a different subject altogether. 


It's been around for a long time

While we're on the subject of demons and sex, another obscure connection just sprang to mind. It may be stretching the imagination a bit, but I can't help thinking of the similarity between Denude and the seductive demons Incubus (male) and Succubus (female), appearing in Medieval Christian folklore. These were supposed to be responsible for any display of unbridled sexuality, public or otherwise. The usual excuse was, "the devil made me do it". Mention of the devil in this way (in modern times anyway), does not imply overtones of evil, but rather a playful and unexpected deviation from our normal behavior. The flamenco dancer Antonio Canales goes a little further with this sexual connection by stating simply that he thinks Duende is "God's orgasm".


Rock concerts and a wild violinist

What's this got to do with flamenco? It's all a matter of context. I just think it's worth mentioning here that even though Duende (the wild, untamed version) is normally associated with flamenco performance, it is not exclusive to flamenco. In all but name, the same thing can be experienced at any good rock concert.  Those of us who witnessed the hysteria of Beatlemania for example, will know exactly what I'm talking about. Their music breathes life and energy. In my opinion, the Beatles possessed duende in abundance because they were able to push the right buttons deep inside. The Beatles were a mystical happening that many people still don't understand. Phenomenoligists (and psychologists) had a ball in 1964 with Beatlemania, a generally harmless form of madness which came from Britain in 1963.


As a child of 12, I can still remember how their early music enchanted me like some kind of fairy glamor. The effect on me was profound and lasting. Even now, it is capable of transporting me to a stimulating, multi dimensional head space that can only be described as pure magic (without drugs). 

Beatles in Mardid 1965


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