Flamenco Origin


Mixture of Moorish, Arabic and Jewish influences

Flamenco historyFlamenco roots - Flamenco art - The name Flamenco - Flamenco palos

The origin of flamenco music cannot be traced back to a specific time, moment or place. Flamenco music is an ongoing evolution influenced by a variety of musical cultures, with roots going back to ancient times. Writers of the early imperial period such as Martial (40-104 BC) already described the dancing girls of Cadiz, in southern Spain, as a well known attraction during these times. Martial speaks of slave dancing girls skilled at performing wanton gestures to Baetican castanets and dancing to Cadiz tunes.

Gypsy migration routes Between 800 and 900 A.D., a large exodus of people occurred from the Sindh, Rajasthan and Punjab regions of the West Indian region. These people are believed to be members of the Chandalas, the lowest class of labor workers within the ancient Indian caste system. Being considered as contagious, treated as less than human beings, they were excluded from the main society, suffered from social segregatioArrival of the Gypsiesn, restrictions and extreme poverty. The exodus from India likely took place in the context of the raids by Mahmud of Ghazni, the ruler of the Persian Ghaznavid dynasty. Once linguistic and genetic evidence indicated that the Romanies, also referred to as Gypsies, originated from the Indian subcontinent; these nomadic groups, migrating from India, were considered to be the Romani or Gypsies. As pilgrims they migrated to Iran about 1100 AD where they divided into two major migratory routes, travelling by horses and other animals while dancing and playing music. One major migration route led them North through Armenia to Byzantium into the European continent, explaining traces of Greco-Byzantium vocabulary in their language. The Romani from this first migration route, going North, were again divided into Romas, with historical concentrations in the Balkans, and Sintis, with settlements in Central Europe. The second major migration route went West through the Middle East and Syria, clarifying the presence of Arabic vocabulary, into "Egipto Menor" or the Peloponnese region where they stayed for a long time. When a large group of pilgrims from this second major migration route finally arrived in southern Spain in the 15th century via the Strait of Gibraltar, as described in a document by King Alfonso The Magnanimous in 1425, they called themselves, as a reference to their origin of Egipto Menor, "Egypcianos'. The current Spanish name "Gitanos", as we call the gypsies of southern Spain today, is derived from this term "Egypcianos'. The ones from the second major migration route, going West, are generally known as “Kale” or black. An important historical record, the Rumelia Tax Register of 1522-1523, solely dealt with the gypsies, entitled as “Comprehensive roll of the income and taxation of the Gypsies of the province of Rumelia. This register clearly describes many of the occupations of the gypsies. There were so many musicians that they made up entire tax communities.