This film documents a flamenco guitar player living in Seville, Spain. "Soleá," the title of the film, is the Spanish term for one of the most basic forms of flamenco music originating in Andalusia, the southern region of Spain. Soleá or "soleares" is referred to as the "mother of flamenco" since many other forms of flamenco derive from it. Soleá comes from the word "soledad," meaning loneliness, or solitude.
The Gitanos, or gypsies living in Andalusia, were fundamental in maintaining a core form of flamenco through generations. The Spanish Inquisition of 1492 persecuted and expelled the Gitanos, denying public expression of their culture or beliefs. The Gitanos were able to carry forward a sound that expressed a spirit of desperation, struggle, isolation, and pride reflecting this history of persecution and social exclusion that persisted for nearly 500 years. In the late 19th century, the flamenco sounds heard on the streets voiced by vegetable vendors were brought into cafés, the "café cantantes", and publicized the form into what is now known as the golden age of flamenco.* In 2010, UNESCO declared flamenco as one of the Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, a proclamation which raises awareness on cultural heritage.
The original form of flamenco was only a voice accompanied by the rhythm of a wooden cane beating against the floor. Today, the elements of flamenco include: singing (cante), guitar playing (toque), dance (baile), and handclaps (palmas). The center of the flamenco group is the vocals. The dancer through her movements interprets the emotions of the singer. The guitarist accompanies and supports the singer and dancer with melodic, rhythmic percussion. One essential part of flamenco is the live interaction between the dancer and the musicians.