Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cayetano, The Gypsy

Chapter 24

gypsy danceImage adapted from:DeFlamenco.com
(Click to enlarge photos)

Cayetano was a flamenco guitar player ....de raza gitana....of gypsy race...who was a good friend of Mr. George Bowden and his family.
Cayetano performed some evenings at The Guitar Centre in Palma and although he wasn't the best of flamenco guitarists, he could be counted on to arrive and perform on time. Tall, slim and with collar-length black hair, he had the strong facial features of his race. With his black eyes and swarthy skin his appearance attracted admiring glances, and when he appeared in his black suit with white shirt open at the neck, his hair slicked down with brilliantine, he looked all the part of a flamenco guitar player....de raza gitana.

alhambra-Palma He sold bolts of cloth in the market and was married with young children. He was quite poor and often didn't manage to have enough to eat. I remember one time when Cayetano and José Cobos, another flamenco guitarist, were up at the apartment with Mr. G. and Helen after a performance, Cayetano mentioned that he hadn't eaten in two days. Without a hesitation, Helen went to the kitchen and in no time prepared him a meal of hamburger patties, peas and chips. He was very hungry and ate quickly.

G.BowdenGeorge Bowden with one of his guitars

While I was teaching guitar at the Guitar Centre I was for a time also trying out a flamenco guitar
loaned to me by Mr. George Bowden, from his factory in the Pueblo Español. Flamenco models have a lighter construction and thinner body in order to give the brilliant sound needed for flamenco playing, as opposed to the deeper, more mellow sound of the classical guitar.
Mr. G. would sometimes take one of his flamenco guitars to Cayetano and ask him to try it out for sound.

Guitar centreAt the Palma Guitar Centre Studio

I never really learned how to play flamenco properly and I believe the rhythms and melodies are instilled as a heritage from early childhood. But I had been practising a few simple versions of Soleares and Bulerias shown me by Bill Lewis when I lived in Vancouver. The music had been arranged by the maestro Bartolomé Calatayud, the beloved Mallorquin guitarist, composer and teacher.

music bookI was very much attracted to the sounds and rhythms of flamenco and when I met Cayetano we agreed that he would give me a few lessons. He came to the makeshift music studio in the guitar centre that I had been using, where an internal door led to the small one room home of Jeremy, the scuba diving instructor.

As I mentioned earlier, Jeremy would sometimes appear in the middle of a lesson with his flippers, tanks and diving gear to disappear into his cubbyhole residence. I enjoyed learning from Cayetano although at that point in time I could barely speak Spanish. I communicated with my own Spanish pupils by hand gestures and the few words I had written down which covered the parts of the guitar and basic instructions.

guitar labelSo I was very pleased when, one day after I had taken a few lessons from Cayetano he got up from his chair and started to dance to my playing. Oh yes that was thrilling, although I was hardly able to keep up with him, he paid me the compliment of affecting that with my attempts at playing Bulerias I could stir his gypsy temperament into dancing.
Dear Cayetano, I hope life has been good to you since then.

Here is an amazing video of a little gypsy girl dancing Bulerías to the sound of many olés and with all the spirit of a grown woman.

And here is another video of Bulerías danced in an authentic setting:

Continue on to Chapter 25......Sopas Mallorquinas

Go back to Chapter 23......A Night in Tagomago


Tigerlily of Borneo said...

Thank you for dropping by at my blog :-) Isn't it great that we can all share our world through this simple but effective way - My World Tuesday. I also will post for Skywatch Friday because I love mountains and skies and guess what? GUITAR MUSIC! Especially this kind! I definitely will be back! Have a good week :-)

Tigerlily of Borneo said...

Sharon, this Bulerias dance is amazing! I enjoy dancing (latin) and used to dance with a traditional cultural group, so this is something that is of great interest to me. The little girl's dancing gives me lots of goosebumps!

Canarybird said...

Thank you for the visit Tigerlily! I agree that the Bulerias is a wonderful flamenco dance and I find it thrilling to watch.

Monica said...

I smiled the entire time I watched the young girl dance. I remember my mom who was of spanish decent trying to teach me to dance. I step on my own feet. I admire those who can dance and those who can play music - two very weak areas for me. Thanks for sharing.

Janie said...

I love flamenco guitar and was interested to see the dancing. The little girl was so cute, and quite professional. The woman was a joy to watch. Thanks for the demos.
And thanks for coming by my blog.

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