Sal's flamenco soapbox

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What flamenco is NOT

Armik is another good example of an artist who is stretching the boundaries of New World fusion guitar music. This man has a unique talent and his music has a soul which puts him, in my opinion, at the top of the heap in terms of sincerity and passion. I have been criticized for placing Armik in the non flamenco basket. I even stumbled upon a message in a discussion room recently where somebody suggested my website as a source of flamenco information. Another person read this and after visiting my website said; "Wow! That guy said Armik isn't flamenco. Now I'm upset." Well, sorry about that, but he isn't. Or rather, his music isn't. When I read that comment, I felt like a real cad like someone telling a small child there is no Santa Claus. Heart felt beliefs are such delicate, emotional things.

Armik's bio on his website describes him as a "Flamenco virtuoso". World Music fusion artists and their promoters love to throw the magic word flamenco in there somewhere, but no matter how hard they try to change the definition by implication, it is not convincing to me. Nor will it be convincing to reference sources such as Encyclopedia Britannica for another hundred years. Flamenco is what it is and it (by definition) can't simply be changed through popular opinion, or manipulated through the mechanical act of endless repetition of a catch phrase like 'New Flamenco'. Unfortunately, the term 'New Flamenco' DOES appear to be taking root in the popular consciousness, since it shamelessly appears again and again on CD covers and in record store catalogs. In this regard, Armik is hanging his hat on the same flamenco peg as many other recording artists as a means of identifying a musical influence, rather than the generic form they actually play, whatever that is. The record buying public seems unable to distinguish between the two. I dare say most music lovers couldn't care less anyway. That's the sad part.

"His music is passionate, sensual, exotic and definitely romantic. Flamenco virtuoso Armik is a passport to an intoxicating musical world..... Fusing traditional Spanish melodies with jazzy improvisation and progressive rhythms..... Armik has concocted a passionate new sound recognized by so many as his own unique style described as "Latin-gypsy-jazz". His six successful albums have clearly set new standards for "New- Flamenco" music."
Armik's bio


That's nice. The problem I have with all this is that no matter how fast this "flamenco virtuoso" can play scales with a plectum, there will always be something missing from his cds. Namely flamenco music. How come it's nearly all 4 beat rumbas? Where are the 12 beat palos and rasgueados? Hey. Come closer. I will tell you why. They are not there because this music is not flamenco. So why is it called flamenco? Beats me.


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