Uncovering the Jewish Roots of Flamenco

“The sound of whiskey-voiced singers and the sight of soulful women with snaking arms and electrifying footwork epitomize the fiery Gypsy art of flamenco. But few people realize that flamenco emerged not only from Gypsy passion, but also from Sephardic Jewish roots. In fact, the word ‘flamenco’ means ‘Flemish’ in Spanish, probably because Jews and other minorities targeted by the Spanish Inquisition fled to Flanders to avoid persecution. Their religious songs were referred to as ‘flamenco,’ a term later applied to anything noisy, flashy or scandalous.”

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