Argentina And The Twins

San Geraldo and I went to Teatro Cervantes Friday night to see a performance by Argentina Maria Lopez Tristancho, known simply as Argentina. She’s a brilliant cantaora (flamenco singer). Her voice and delivery are magnificent. Her two guitarists, percussionist, and three “palmeros” — those are the accompanists who clap and perform other percussive effects using their hands — were equally magnificent.

The dialects, the additional (traditional) sounds and non-words added into the lyrics, and all the other variations made it difficult for me to follow more than a small bit of the Spanish. But my favorite performers are the palmeros, who also sang. Some of their skills:

— hand clapping; an intricate art requiring skill and knowledge of compas (the measure, and the rhythmic skill of a performer.

Palmas Altas (Palmas Claras, Palmas Agudas)
— percussive effect performed with the fingers of the right hand on the left palm, resulting in a sharp sound

Palmas Sordas (Palmas Graves)
— muted clapping (more often done by Argentina)

During a moment between songs, I commented to San Geraldo, “How do you like the twins?” 

“Which ones?” he asked. 

“Uh… the ones that look exactly alike?”

It turns out the twins are equally famous performers. Like Argentina, the brothers are from the town of Huelva, about an hour west of Sevilla. Their names are Antonio and Manuel Montes Saavedra, but they’re known as Los Mellis. (One of the words for “twin” in Spanish is “mellizo.”)

(Click here if you want to read more about them.)


I chose this video to give you an idea of the power and importance of the palmero.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

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