The history of Flamenco

History of Flamenco 3

The proliferation of the Cafés Cantantes all over Spain, many of them in Andalucía, made the flamenco artists to go one place to the other depending on his / her success and on his / her capacity of pulling in audiences, like Galerín relates us. 1

 At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the flamenco artists were already diversifying their work, and were considering the foreign markets, not only for spreading the art, but also for the economic survival of the artists and the companies they formed. They did tours to Central and South America, following the route of the steamships that used to leave from Barcelona and Sevilla, and arrived to Buenos Aires passing through La Habana.

 Also, the artists could be seen in the World Fairs: in the one in Chicago 1893 and the one in Paris 1889. We have information from the investigations of Ortiz Nuevo that for the Fair of 1900 2 the guitarist Rafael Martín de El Pedroso (1862) was hired, and there, people could see a showing of the Lumiére brothers about Baile Español.

 1, In Cádiz, one could earn a lot of money?

So-so. I was 16 years old and people used to cheat with one becauseof the age. From Cádiz I moved to Utrera, to a café which el Junquera, who paid me 6 reales and fired me before, had. This time, he gave me 60 reales. In Utrera I saved some money, and I escaped to Sevilla. I went to Filarmónico. Some acquaintances “asked me”, and I went to the tablao to sing. They hired me.

 And the impresario from Utrera?

He got mad. He came to Sevilla and caught me. He returned Mr. Andrés González, the owner of Filarmónico, 5 onzas that I got paid, and I returned to Utrera. From there I moved to Cádiz, in a theater that was in la Puerta Ontamana. I got paid 60 reales. Silverio came for me in Cádiz and hired me for 65 reales for the café he had in calle Rosario, Sevilla.

 Long time with Silverio?

Yes. They sucked me up. I think they amended the contract, and where it said 1 month, they put 9, and I sand in Silverio for 9 months running. From Silverio I went to Málaga, to the café Siete Revueltas, for 5 duros a day. This was the year’87. I worked for a month and went back to Sevilla, to Buerrero. After 2 months, to Málaga again, to the café Chinita, this time for 8 duros. It is true that I used to sing in a café which was not “cantante”, El Universal, where I got paid 14 duros a day. I remember that the local newspapers used to call me “bandido (bandit)” because I was getting paid 22 duros a day. And nowadays, anyone earns 200 pesetas or more in a tablao!

 2, Diccionario de Flamenco cinterco


Bibliography:  La Economía Sevillana del Flamenco ( Jan. 2009 )

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