What does Flamenco Puro mean?
It is hard to define what Flamenco Puro is. It is
more a feeling than a style of music and dance.
Traditional flamenco (which is also hard to define) is usually referred to as "flamenco puro". In the Spanish language puro means the same as pure in English, that is: unadulterated. But there is another meaning in the Caló language (the language of the Spanish Gypsy). In Caló, the word puro means old, antique, and hence traditional.
However, flamenco has been undergoing change from its beginnings to the present time. Change is always present in flamenco, and it has been through change that it has been made appealing to a wider audience.
With change though, can often come a loss of purity of character. Most flamencos know flamenco puro when they hear it, but it is very hard to define.
Is it an old-fashioned style, maybe. We often think of old style flamenco as being "puro".
It is perhaps best to say that flamenco puro is a style of flamenco that tries to keep a closer connection with the style of bygone eras, and it is a style that attempts to avoid straying into the world of jazz and other modalities of music that tend to be fused with modern style flamenco.
These days the inclusion of other instruments has given modern flamenco a sound that has lost its soul. Electric bass guitars, trumpets, flutes and almost every other instrument can be heard in flamenco these days. The cajón is heard everywhere, often overpowering the dancers footwork. Flamenco these days has a very "jazz" feel to it.
Flamenco puro is a simple soulful style that does not attempt to dazzle with virtuosity, but simply tries to express itself honesty.
Perhaps the best example of flamenco puro would be the simple unaccompanied style of song such as Martinete. Click here to listen to a brief example by José Menese.
Indeed, the strength of flamenco rests in this continued existence of the flamenco puro base, performing in a style which has changed little in the last hundred years. Flamenco culture, Gypsy culture, is surprisingly conservative.
For a comparison of modern guitar versus traditional
guitar, listen here to some modern Paco
de Lucia, and then listen to some traditional older style flamenco from Juan
Maya (Marote). Paco de
Lucia is a technically superior guitarist, but which music has the most soul?
No easy answers, but the group Flamenco Puro tries to perform the more traditional styles of flamenco.