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Preserving the Gypsy spirit of Flamengo

07-25-2011 10:44 BJT

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Our next stop is the spiritual home of flamenco -- the Spanish city Granada. In the shadow of the ancient Alhambra Palace, locals are fighting to maintain the historic gypsy spirit of the area, under threat from the pressures of tourism and developers.

The seductive and rhythmic music, dance and songs of this gypsy tradition has its home in the streets, alleyways and bars of Granada.

The Spanish region of Andalucia is famed for flamenco, but Granada is its beating heart.

The spectacular historic highlight of the city is the Moorish Alhambra fortress that still stands above the modern town at the top of the valley.

On the other side, clinging to the hillside, are the Albaycin and Sacromonte neighborhoods, the home of flamenco.

Both these quarters as well as the Alhambra have been listed as World Heritage sites by UNESCO.

Ever since, the area has undergone constant improvement and restoration. But the locals are determined to preserve the original wild spirit of their gypsy music and dance.

By the 19th century, Sacromonte already had a significant gypsy community. They built their homes in caves carved from the soft limestone of the hillsides.

The area is home to an estimated 500 people. To them, flamenco is a way of life.

The music of the gypsies can be simultaneously mournful and full of passionate rage, love and tenderness.

Salvadora Maya is one of the city's most famous flamenco artists and owner of the legendary flamenco venue "Cueva de la Rocio". She proudly declares herself a flamenco gypsy, and says many people in her community have flamenco in their soul.

Despite recent changes, she doesn't think the spirit of the old community is in too much danger.

Flamengo artist Salvadora Maya said, "I don't think the neighborhood is disappearing. Sacromonte remains as it once was. In the old days it was different because there were a lot more residents. Nowadays we have fewer neighbors, but when it comes to gathering and dancing flamenco in any place and at any time, things are still the same."

At "Cueva de la Rocio", the show is supervised by Juan Andres Maya, son of Salvadora Maya and one of Spain's most eminent flamenco dancers and choreographers.

Editor:Li Wanran |Source: CNTV.CN

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