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The origin of the word “flamenco”


#flamencofans, have you ever asked yourselves where does the “flamenco” word come from? We know that as well as being our favorite music and dance style, it’s also a pink bird, but not much more. So, why is it called like this? In today’s update we will explain you a little bit about the mystery that surrounds the origin of this word.

The truth is there are a lot of theories that speculate about it and none of them is officially accepted as the correct one. However, the one that has probably been most spread is the one supported by Blas Infante, the “Father of Andalucía”, in his book “The origins of Flamenco”. This theory says that the word “flamenco” derivates from the Arabic terms “Felah-Mengus”, which mean “wandering peasant”. Infante believes this is the denomination that was given to the Moorish who had been thrown out from Spain and remained there and mixed with the rest of the population, mainly with gypsies.

“Flamenco” means “original from Flandes”. In Spain, it was used to refer to the person with red-coloured skin, because it was thought that flamenco culture came from Nordic villages (XIII c). Time went by and the word “flamenco” was used as a compliment to the cantaor (singer) that stood out for his or her excellent singings among the Nordic singers who played in Spanish chapels and cathedrals during the XVI century. Then, by association, the singing itself was called like that.

There lots of other theories that ramble on this topic. For example, Manuel García Matos affirms “Flamenco comes from the argot used in latest XVIII century and starters of the XIX. It was used to catalogue everything that was sumptuous, presumptuous or loud-mouthed.

It’s clear that it will be nearly impossible to arrive to a consensus about the origin of this word because its vague beginning. In our blog, we have already given you some hints so you can continue investigating. We still have a lot to learn about the origin about our favorite dance!