Cumbre Flamenca (with a little help from Paco Pena) really taught Londoners this lesson when its visit in 1988 took the capital by storm. Before you could say alegrias, we had all learned our text from the Gospel according to Seville: that flamenco is a serious art bred in the bones of an ancient people. The big, big trouble with this kind of artistic rehabilitation is that it spoils it for the rest of us. We liked it before it was OK to like it. We weren't there on a World Music ticket. We were going to flamenco performances when the audience was composed exclusively of the London Spanish community and elderly matrons trying to recapture the magic of that Palma Nova package.
At the time it seemed a trifle ambitious of the Wells to try to sell fat, red carnations at 50p a stem, for throwing purposes. Don't be daft. We're English. We don't throw flowers at people. For two hours we sat mesmerised as an ageing gypsy with the carriage of an empress trilled her little black toes against the drum of the floor and suddenly it was raining blossoms in EC1.
Cumbre Flamenca is at Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1, 20 Sept-8 Oct (071-278 8916). pounds 5-pounds 22.50
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