The uniquely Spanish art form of Flamenco dancing has expanded well beyond its borders, experiencing growth both in the Americas, and Japan. Flamenco engages the senses and incorporates dancing, singing, guitar playing, hand clapping and finger snapping.
Flamenco’s roots are in Andalusia, with records of the dance dating back to 1774. While exported throughout Spain, and now, the world, it remains uniquely Andalusian.
Flamenco incorporates as many as fifty styles, or Paall olos, which are classified by criteria such as rhythmic pattern, mode, chord progression, stanzaic form and geographic origin. Flamenco can be accompanied with or without a guitar. Some are danced only by men, and other only by women. The Palos are placed in one of three classes: the serious is known as Cante Jondo, the lighthearted is Cante Chico, and all other forms are classified Cante Intermedio.
Flamenco music cuts a wide swath, and has been performed by a vast array of performers from assorted cultures well outside Spain. From Frank Sinatra, to Roy Clark, many great songs and artists are associated with the Flamenco. Here are our picks for the Ten Best Flamenco Songs Of All Time.
List of Top 10 Best Flamenco Songs of All Time till in 2017
10. Poemas del exilio Rafael Alberti – Miguel Poveda
A native of Cádiz, Rafael Alberti fled from Spain after the Republican government was defeated in 1939. He went into exile in Argentina, where he penned many poems to express his yearning for home and worry for his embattled country. His verses with their Andalusian stylings, motivated composer Enric Palomar to write a suite for a chamber orchestra and flamenco voice which resonates elements of Argentinian music, and which Miguel Poveda performs with precision and ardor.
9. El Porompompero – Manolo Escobar
Written and performed by Manolo Escobar in 1962, a Spanish actor and singer of Andalusian copla music, as well as Rumba, Bolero, and Tango. The song is considered his greatest accomplishment, though he is likely more famous for his seminal song Y Viva Espana. Escobar christened his home El Porompompero after the song.
8. Oye Como Va – Tito Puente
Made famous by Carlos Santana with his interpretation on the 1970 album Abraxas, Oye Como Va was first penned by mambo and Latin jazz artist Tito Puente in 1963. Covered by a number of acts, Santana’s treatment gave the song a distinctive Latin rock sound, making it unique from Puente’s original cha-cha tempo.
7. Libertango – Astor Piazzolla
In 1954, tango writer Astor Piazolla composed and performed the song, and is mostly recognized for the creation of Nuevo Tango, a Jazz-infuse style of Latin music. An entire album, completely dedicated to the creations of Piazolla, was recorded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Libertango has been recorded over 500 times by a wide array of artists.
6. Ni Rosas Ni Juguetes – Paulina Rubio
A major accomplishment for Rubio, Ni Rosas Ni Juguetes appeared on her ninth album Gran City Pop in 2009. The widely regarded and commercially successful album achieved platinum status in sales and produced the hit which broke onto the singles charts at number three. The Latin pop singer also recorded a remix with rap artist Pit Bull. Ni Rosas Ni Juguetes rocketed to number five on Billboard’s Latin Pop Songs chart, and number nine on Billboard Hot Latin Songs. This is one amongst the Top 10 Best Flamenco Songs of All Time till 2017.
5. Asturias, Patria Querida – Various Artists
A song that can be performed with a variety of instruments, from the acoustic guitar to the bagpipes, Asturias, Patria Querida is not necessarily uniquely Spanish, per se. Rather, it is the official anthem of the autonomous state of Asturias in Spain. Often performed with bagpipes, the song has taken on new life, particularly for the acoustic guitar. Penned in the 1890’s, assorted versions have been written in Polish and Portuguese, and the American rock group The Doors used the melody on their song, Spanish Caveman.
4. Romance Anonimo – Various Artists
Another century-old composition, Romance Anonimo originated either in Spain, or South America, with its author remaining unknown. Whomever penned the classic ironically inserted the word anonimo, meaning “anonymous.” The earliest recordings were made in Madrid sometime between the years 1897 and 1901 on cylinder.
3. Besame Mucho – Luis Miguel
In 1911, Spanish composer Enrique Garnados penned his suite Goyescas for the piano. Garnados would add the piece to his opera Aria Of The Nightingale in 1916. Inspired by the composition, Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velazquez composed Besame Mucho in 1940. A romantic bolero song, Besame Mucho has been recorded by a wide array of artists, from Frank Sinatra to the Beatles, and Nat King Cole.
2. Malaguena (La Malaguena) – Various Artists
Written in 1928 by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, Maleguena (or La Maleguena) pertains to the city of Malaga, Spain. A love song, the lyrics speak of a man who pines for his seniorita, complimenting her on the beautiful eyes underneath her eyebrows, and how poorly he will feel is she rejects him. Also popular in jazz and marching bands, a wide array of artists have recorded Lecuona’s song, including Connie Francis who recorded it in 1960, Jose Feliciano, who recorded it on his 1969 gold record Alive Alive O!, Roy Clark, who performed it in an episode of the American television show The Odd Couple, and Richie Valens, who recorded the song as an instrumental in 1960. Notably, it is the first song The Rolling Stones’ gutarist Keith Richards learned to play on his guitar.
1. Historia De Un Amor – Various Artists
Historia De Un Amor is undoubtedly among the most romantic Latin songs ever composed. Carlos Eleta Almaran, a Panamanian, penned the song for his brother after the latter’s wife died. The grieving brother is left to suffer the loss of the love of his life. Numerous Latin artists have recorded the song for decades, and Historia De Un Amor was the name of a Mexican film starring Libertad Lamarque in 1956.
So, these above are the Top 10 Best Flamenco Songs of All Time till 2017. Often dismissed as Gypsy music, Flamenco is a stylish, multi-rhythm genre of hand-clapping, finger-snapping music which transcends cultures, incorporating ballads, psalms, dirges, laments and chants, capturing the moods of performers and their audiences, usually with a guitar, a song and a dance. The music captures various rhythyms of flamenco, from tangos, tarantas, alegrias, siguiryas, soleas, guajiras, peteneras, angst-ladenmartinetes, brooding farrucas, up-tempo bularias, and usually, a final rumba.