Christopher Ross

Escape To Iberia

Duende: A Journey In Search of Flamenco


Doubleday 292pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Flamenco is a love-it-or-hate-it art form. Aficionados find in its music and dance all that it means to be human. Those on the outside, however, like Aldous Huxley, dismiss it as ‘dismal Spanish wailings punctuated by the rattle of the castanets and the clashing harmonies of the guitar’. But there is more than one flamenco, and the most authentic forms function, it seems to me, for performers and audiences in the same way as Greek tragedy: as a system of catharsis, a way of resolving the most painful frustrations of the human condition – lost love, death, disaster; as an echoing yell into the uncaring void. I have seen crowds tear their clothes and smash up the chairs they had been sitting on, as they succumbed to the duende moment. Duende is indefinable (a know-it-when-you-experience-it thing), but it is when everything comes together perfectly. Luis Antonio de Vega said, ‘Flamenco is the means through which man reaches God without the intervention of the saints or angels.’ Real flamenco is exciting, alive, vibrant, and, above all, passionate.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,