January 31, 2012

Seeking Silverio, The Birth of Flamenco by Paco Sevilla - Book Review

This historical fiction work is a nice little way to cover early flamenco history without rattling off endless dates and dry facts.

There is a lot of Spanish phrases throughout the book and all are immediately translated to English in parentheses following the sentence.  Excellent for me, providing a taste of the language and a clear meaning in English.  All song (cante) lyrics are also presented in both languages.

The author also provides footnotes for important details related to the ongoing narative.  It took me a couple chapters to realize that there are notes at the end of the book for each chapter.  Once caught up on those I found it very informative to read the notes after each chapter.  The author speaks to the fact or fiction question of each chapter.

If you just want to read it as a novel it works well that way too.  The writing flows well and is relaxed.  Perfect for a good yarn about three boys setting out on an adventure to seek their fame and fortune.  And that's just what this is, an adventure story.  It is the late 1800's after all and the Spanish country-side isn't the safest place to be wandering about with nothing at your disposal but a guitar, a few songs and your wits.

This is the second of Paco Sevilla's books I've read.  I would also recommend his book about Paco de Lucia.  He has several other books at his website as well.  The books don't seem to be readily available anywhere else but I have had excellent service ordering from his site so I can recommend that without hesitation.  Only issue is the site seems to kick the browser over to a flamenco webring site on occasion, no idea why, just hit the link again, it will usually behave.

Buy it here

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