I’ve been reading a brilliant book about our ‘shadow’ the dark part of ourselves that we put away and repress. It’s a brilliant book and describes how we learn to shut off certain parts of ourselves that we feel are unacceptable.
My favourite quote is from Carl Jung : ‘I’d rather be whole than good’. It sums up so much of what I feel about Flamenco in that we can express our ‘whole’ rather than just the pretty, pleasant, jolly side to ourselves and life. Life is bitter sometimes, we feel defeated, alienated and alone, our own thoughts too, if we accept them openly, are not always happy or wholly ‘good’, but they are part of what makes us whole. I don’t need to shut down some aspect of my feelings or expression in Flamenco, I can feel the ‘amargura’ (bitterness) and fear in a Tarantos, identify with the hopelessness of the soleá grande and appreciate the inconsolable grief of the Seguirilla. By contrast but equally as valid is the need to express the joy and fullness of life. I can be coqueta and playful in a Guajiras, carefree and joyful in an Alegrías and sensual and provocative in a Tangos.
We re not one dimensional as human beings, we are multifaceted and complex. We can feel envy and anger, resentment and bitterness. We are also capable of great humour, happiness and deep love and all this and much more is Flamenco. It feels to me so honest and accepting of all that we are and feel that Flamenco, so powerful, majestic, humble and honest enables us to connect with all aspects of ourselves if we are to be authentic in our expression of this complete art form.
¡Que rico, lo amargo!’
*El Rincón de Los Amargos’ Vicente Amigo y El Pele.