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.”)
|CAN YOU PICK OUT THE TWINS?|
I chose this video to give you an idea of the power and importance of the palmero.