Flamenco: Cante, Toque, Baile, a Way of Life

Antonio Gades: One Man’s Steps to Freedom

The Sunday Times - the Culture
London, 1996, 1,500 words; adapted extracts

Antonio Gades was widely known as a choreographer and dancer when I interviewed him, but the politics central to his work were generally sidelined by journalists writing about him. So I decided to explain how they were the well-spring of his work. The cancer from which he was to die in 2004 had already been diagnosed, but Gades had not made it public.


Fellow Travellers: Eva Yerbabuena & Paco Jarana

Flamenco International
London, 2002/7, 3,000 words; adapted extracts

Conversation between flamencos can be more revealing than anything written about flamenco. When I came upon Ray Gun magazine's dialogues between indie musicians, they offered a good model for experiment. Eva and Paco were the natural starting point for the series.

Also see: A Cuatro Voces / Flamenco Women / Hotel / Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey


Flamenco: A Brief History

Insight Guide to Spain
London, 7th Edition, 2001, 1,500 words; adapted extracts

The flamenco community talks about its history one way, and those outside it see it in a quite different way. Joaquín San Juan, the director of Madrid's Amor de Dios flamenco school, wrote this piece and then we worked together on its cultural translation. These are short extracts touching on a few of the basics.

Also see: Sordera & Family


Japan's Spanish Affair

The European
London, 1995, 1,500 words; adapted extracts

Around 100,000 Japanese are studying flamenco song, dance or guitar on home ground at any given moment - and that's apart from the real enthusiasts, who come to Spain. Japanese flamenco is a phenomenon unrelated to Spanish culture, but with considerable influence in business terms.


The Ballads of Cordoba Gaol: A Prison Workshop

The Independent on Sunday
London, 1996, 850 words
Versión en español | Version de langue française

If I had to pick one privileged work experience from my whole time in Spain, it would be the series of visits I made to Cordoba prison's flamenco workshops and song contest, which were the brainchild of three extraordinary people: a guitarist, prison educator and prison director. From the workshop emerged Antonio 'Agujetas' (pictured right), one of the finest living performers of Jerez's oldest song styles. Thanks to Trini Machuca for the photos.

At the end of the article is an update.

Also see: Picassent, a Mixed Prison Wing


Women in Flamenco: Love and Anger

Marie Claire
London, 1993, 3,000 words; adapted extracts

My first article on flamenco involved an epic trip south with photographer Cristina García Rodero.  We ran out of petrol, got a parking ticket in an empty parking lot and met some impressively strong women - singer María Soleá, dancer Manuela Carrasco, Dolores Agujetas and Tibu Lebart, who died tragically a few years ago.