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Lessons in flamenco

Pedro Soler took the help of movies like Murder to explain the flamenco genre, during his performance in the city.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2005 20:08 IST

Not well versed in English, flamenco guitarist Pedro Soler was initially finding it difficult to explain what the musical genre was all about. But then he saw a way out.

"Do you remember the Hindi films Murder and Aashiqi? Flamenco is used in some of the numbers of the movies".Pedro said as he performed before a small gathering at Alliance Francaise here.

The presence of an interpreter also helped both the performer and his audience. On Tuesday, a much larger audience was to get a taste of this music in one of the city's prestigious halls.

Flamenco originated from ancient Andalusian chants, folk songs and lullabies in Spain. The centuries-long Moor rule over Spain left its mark and the tradition also derived some influence from the East, especially from Gypsy troupes which had emigrated from India.

According to Soler, some of the purest expressions of flamenco are the styles that originated in India and were developed and that were disseminated by the Gypsies. Hence, it is not difficult for Soler to identify some of the ragas of Indian classical music.

"Indian music is very much confined within its format. It is rigid sometimes. Here in flamenco, you don't find barriers," said Soler.

Soler, who has performed flamenco solos and with dancing troupes extensively in Europe, is excited at his first performance in the city. The aficionados of Western music in the city, on the other hand, are equally happy about his show.

Soler, a Frenchman from the southern province of Toulouse, learnt flamenco in the company of exiled Andalusians who had taken refuge there after the Spanish civil war.

On his second visit to India, Soler has this time got an opportunity to meet some Indian classical musicians. He has studied and tried his hand at the sitar, tabla and sarangi too.

But the instrument that has caught his fancy is the Rajasthani Kamayacha, used exclusively by the Manganiyar community.

First Published: Dec 27, 2005 12:48 IST