Interview with Paco Pena on Andalucian music

The Spanish guitarist, Paco Pena, has performed many different countries, carrying flamenco music to the world.

Interview with Paco Pena on Andalucian music


World Bulletin / Talha Ustundag

-Only to cry out and say “What’s happening to me?” you know, but I don’t see that as a mystical manifestation. It is a very down to earth manifestation.

-When you say Spanish identity, I say “No, no, but the Spanish music make, young people go with flamenco, and enjoy it, and explore the potential of flamenco music. I’m not suggesting that flamenco influences the development of Spain, in the general sense, I can’t say that. It is rich contribution that young people use. 

-It is very rudimentary poetry, not elite poetry. In that sense it is poetry from the people so it is delusion of telling stories in a folk way. Definitely flamenco is the expression of the ordinary people. So from that point of view, it is what they feel, that is what Projects to the future thru their songs. There are also stories that one reads, and i do not know personally. But one reads that the story tellers went around the cities, telling sort of epic stories, may have a disposition that people sing flamenco. But that is, if you like, in an academic way of analyzing the thing, i do not know. But definitely the poetry belong to the people, to down to the earth. From that point of view they are telling the stories, from that point of view, which is the continuation of history. 

-The arabs coming ot spain in the past have contributed to the culture, of course, un doubtedly. İf you go around spain, you see the architecture, the mosque, the cathedral in Cordoba, is one mosque, is wonderful, brilliant, it was a mosque, huge place, and in the centre when the moors were defeated, they built a cathedral in the centre, it is crazy. But it is the most beautiful building. İt is arab. Not only that, but many other parts of the country, you see arab elements, in the architecture, in the culture, excavations, discoveries, all kinds of proofs, the life of, … on Andalucia, and also on other parts of Spain, the life of people was affected by the way that existed in the arabs. They built houses in narrow streets to keep the sun out, and all kinds of things, the patios inside the houses, it has a tradition that is very much part of the arab tradition as well. Undoubtedly yes. Don’t really like to think in those terms. İ think flamenco is of the people, is of the earth. People have to say what they feel. And it is role, it is difficult, it is hard life. They may reach to supernatural ideas…

-… tradition of spain. May be wrong, but Andalucia is, par excellence, Spain. I think because of that, it has influence, these cultures have influence on other parts of Spain, as well.

-What do you mean by Moriscos? No, there is a very strong Arab culture. The mors, it is a very strong Arab culture. Some people converted to Islam, some people did not convert, but they were arabs. But it was an arab ruling, rule, so in a way, that affected everything. And the culture of the arab people, has been fundamental. As been interimly important for the creation of flamenco music. And you can hear that, if you hear, there is, there are similarities between one with the other. But i am not saying that the arabs created flamenco, no. İ am saying that during 800 years of the domination of arabs, of course it has strong influence. Not only in music, but also in architecture, in culture, in philosophy, in many ways. So, in music that is an influence, it is impossible to go away from that. So how important? They are very important, but they haven’t created flamenco. Flamenco is the end result of these mixtures.

-(Multicultural society) it might be a way important, indigenously it is a music from Andalucia. İt has many different elements. But it is a geography. İt is geographical and cultural phenomenon. So it grows there, not anywhere else, so i mean there are many other people, you mustn’t forget the gypsies who came into spain as well. Around the same time when arabs were finally defeated. All these elements come together in a specific, in a particular way in Andalucia. So there is also a geography phenomenon.

-(Genuineness, originality) it is the history, it is not something that you can, at least i haven’t studied to been pointed, spain has had interesting music, folk music for many centuries, so spain is rich in folklore, always has been rich in folklore, so you cannot say that anything begins 400 years ago or 300 years ago, you know, it is a long history. Tell you one thing. İn the year one of christian year, in the year 1, the roman society, high society, (it is written, it is history), imported people from Andalucia from Cadiz, which is Andalucia, the way they had it, the Romans, they imported artists to perform for them, to perform for the elite. That means it was a disposition for music and for dance for 1000s of years. So where does anything begin? I don’t know where it begins. But the disposition and the readiness to create music, and to have rhythm and so on has been there for many centuries.

- (Feeling, meaning of flamenco) it is a difficult thing to answer briefly. İt is really a very important part of my life. İ have grown up among the people who make up his musical culture. İt is my tradition, in a way it is the tradition of my people. So i feel very passionate and strongly about the connection that i have with my people and my culture thru this music. So it is really in a way strongest manifestation of who we are in a musical sense in Andalucia, in southern spain. So for me it is very important.

-(Your emotions) well ,it is like, it is a complete thing, i feel connected to the roots of my culture, my people as i said before. İ feel connected, so when i am playing, i articulate if i can with a guitar, i articulate the emotions and the way my people express themselves. İ feel of course moved, because i am a musical person. İ like, i express myself thru music. But with flamenco i feel moved, i feel connected strongly to what my people have to say and it is difficult to explain what essentially i feel, but i think connection to the emotions of Andalucian people, of Andalucia, that is the most important thing that i feel.

-(Andalucia no and before) there is no difference between andalucia before and andalucia now. İt is only that history changes everything. You know in the old times you have to go and collect water from river. Nowadays you open the tab and you have hot water. Life is better in many ways. So how people were. They had to adapt to their conditions of that time. How poeple are? They adapt to their conditions now. But they are essentially the same people. There is no difference really in that. But andalucia, i think it is a very important part of the contribution, and part of what the history of spain represents. İ think a lot has happened in andalucia. It has been a land of visitas, or “invaders” in duty of many thousands of years and mainly thru the middle east, eastern mediterranean cultures, byzantine, and other cultures have come to Andalucia very strongly, to Spain but primarily to andalucia. The arabs had the center of their power was in Cordoba, eventually went to Granada, has been in many parts, but the important caliphate was in Cordoba. So that is part of the history but that is it shows clear indication of how it influenced the land has been by foreign cultures, but foreign which are familiar in that part of the Mediterranean which goes to the east to andalucia. İ think that connection has made it a special, spicy, a place with great variety, ad that has influenced other parts of spain, in a way that i think it is probably the most characteristic understood personification

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Haziran 2010, 03:51