Flamenco (Spanish pronunciation: [flaˈmeŋko]), in its strictest sense, is an art form based on the various folkloric music traditions of southern Spain, originating in the culture and traditions of the Calé Roma, commonly known in Spanish as Gitanos, of the region of Andalusia, but also having a historical presence in Extremadura and Murcia. In a wider sense, the term is used to refer to a variety of Spanish and Roma musical styles. The oldest record of flamenco music dates to 1774 in the book Las Cartas Marruecas by José Cadalso. Although Flamenco is often associated to the Gitanos of the Romani ethnicity who have contributed significantly to its origination and development, its style is uniquely Andalusian and flamenco artists have historically included Spaniards of both gitano and non-gitano heritage.
This section's factual accuracy is disputed. (August 2021)
|Cultural origins||Andalusian people, Calé Roma, Late 18th - early 19th century, , Spain|
The development of flamenco over the past two centuries is well documented: "the theatre movement of sainetes (one-act plays) and tonadillas, popular song books and song sheets, customs, studies of dances, and toques, perfection, newspapers, graphic documents in paintings and engravings. ... in continuous evolution together with rhythm, the poetic stanzas, and the ambiance" (Ríos Ruiz 1997, [page needed]).
There is no doubt that flamenco is rooted in various Andalusian popular musical styles, although its origins is the subject of many hypotheses which may or may not have ideological implications and none of which are necessarily mutually exclusive. The most widespread is that flamenco was developed through the cross-cultural interchange among the various groups which coexisted in Andalusia's lower classes, combining southern Spain's indigenous, Byzantine, Moorish, and Romani musical traditions.
On 16 November 2010, UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity (Anon. 2010).