This was interesting in the El Pais weekly supplement:
"Female flamenco guitarists are so rare that Eulalia Pablo, a retired flamenco teacher and lecturer at the University of Seville, is often asked by her students why and if it was always like this. Analyzing press clippings from the 18th and 19th century, Pablo tries to answer these questions in her book Mujeres Guitarristas – Female Guitarists. “It’s a myth that women have never played the guitar,” she says. “But the flamenco world has always been very macho and inflexible. It remained that way until last century.”
Not something that I had given much thought to previously so I decided to browse to see what I could find. I wonder what Paco de Lucia or Sabicas would have said? I think the big question is not male vs female but are they any good as flamenco guitarists? According to the article some of the ladies already have the endorsement of Tomatito so we can start with him and then see what follows (not all are flamenco because there is a very large repertoire of Spanish guitar music)
Just like Johann Sebastian Bach, who composed his famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor at a the young age of 22, one of the greatest soloists and musical geniuses of this century – Paco de Lucía – wrote the Guajíras de Lucía at the same age.
Catalina is interpreting this virtuoso work as homage to the great Spanish Maestro.
She is catapulting herself into the magic hemisphere of Flamenco, breaking all boundaries of the common classical style of playing guitar, bravely mastering a lot of innovating Flamenco techniques like the posture, Picado, Golpe, Tresillos and Rasgueos.
Pity only that Paco cannot listen to her anymore. But maybe he floats beside her like an angel smiling as her patron.
I have been looking through various videos of the Plaza San Nicolas which looks out across to the Alhambra in Granada. There are lots of 'gitanos' there playing and singing and dancing flamenco but so far the ladies stick to the traditional role of singing or dancing; no guitarists yet. If one of them does eventually start playing she will have to be as good as Charo before being accepted by los gitanos.