The single most iconic sound of Seville is that of flamenco – so iconic, in fact, that it’s listed by UNESCO on the representative list of the intangible culture of humanity. It’s divided into three broad areas: baile is the dance, toque the musicianship and as in this example cante is its vocal expression, giving a voice to strong emotions like grief or rejoicing.
This particular sound is from the Museo del Baile Flamenco, the museum of Seville flamenco that stages ornate, costumed performances of song and dance (as compared to the somewhat grittier flamenco you can find elsewhere in the city – more of which to come on Cities and Memory in due course).
Antwerp-based sound artist Dieter van Staey has reframed the iconic sounds of flamenco, and describes his approach like this:
“For this piece I tried to be a tourist myself. The tourist’s aims are not capturing sounds, so if they are heading for the museum, they’re not focussed on the sounds in the city.”
“The guitarist playing a flamenco song becomes part of an overall impression, or atmosphere. To get that impression, I stretched and processed the original recording in different ways to create various impressions. Those impression are mixed into one blurry memory of the flamenco guitarist on the way to the museum.”