In conjunction with the New York Flamenco Festival, we invite you to join us for a presentation by K. Meira Goldberg, resident scholar at the Foundation for Iberian Music and director of the Natives, Africans, Roma, and Europeans interdisciplinary conference series on Hispanic and Latin dance and rhythm (which will have its third installment this April).
Goldberg will present her latest book, Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco, in a discussion with Antoni Pizà. You will have the chance to see the films that are the subject of two of the book’s chapters: Danse Espagnole de la Feria (1923), shot by Lumière at the World’s Fair in Paris, 1900, which features the first male flamenco dancer ever recorded (a black man of Cuban descent, Jacinto Padilla, “El Negro Meri”); and four short films shot in Sevilla in 1917 by Léonide Massine as preparation for choreographing The Three-Cornered Hat (1919), which feature Juana Vargas “La Macarrona,” her sister María Vargas “La Macarrona,” and their first cousin Antonio López Clavijo “Ramírez.”
About the book:
What can flamenco dance tell us about race and racism in the world wrought by slavery? From 711–1492, parts of the Iberian Peninsula were ruled by a succession of vast Afro-Islamic caliphates—and were simultaneously the epicenter of Christian Europe’s battle to eject these forces. Christian victory came in the same year that Christopher Columbus’s landing in the Americas set in motion a massive and catastrophic shift in global hegemony. Gradually, Spain’s system of “blood purity,” a tool in the battle against Islam, became what we now think of as “race”; Christian evangelization was a weapon of conquest. Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco (Oxford University Press, 2018), traces how flamenco’s ostentatious rebelliousness, tumultuous sensuality, quixotic idealism, and fierce soulfulness embody resistance, the lament for what has been lost, and the values and aspirations of those rendered imperceptible by abjection, enslavement, and colonization.
Brenda Dixon Gottschild (professor amerita Temple University, author of The Black Dancing Body) calls the book “a majestic work—readable, revelatory,” Alberto del Campo Tejedor (Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville) calls it “surprising and necessary.” Please join us for this chance to have a conversation with the author about a vital and overlooked part of flamenco’s history.