When they think of Flamenco, most people conjure the frenetic twangs of Spanish guitar, the flurries of stamping feet, and blooming red dresses. These are the sounds and images best associated with the style of music and dance hailing from Andalucía, Spain. Of course, if you ask Pirouz de Caspio, renowned Flamenco singer, the origins of the music reveal an international beeline wrought with influences from several cultures.
De Caspio is the founder of Flamenco Beat, one of the most popular Flamenco radio stations in the world. Established in 2004, the Canadian station, located on De Caspio's own Flamenco.ca, has listeners from the United States, Brazil, Turkey, Algeria, and more.
The Peña Bulería Flamenco Club of Vancouver, the "tangible side" of Flamenco.ca, was also founded in 2004. The club's library offers an array of resources and it is responsible for the popular "Jondo Flamenco Festival," Vancouver's annual Flamenco festival.
For the Vancouver musician, the success of these initiatives is staggering. "I never could have imagined that Flamenco would have such a huge impact on my life and future when I was leaving Tehran," explains De Caspio, who came to Canada from Iran as a student in 1988. He studied Computer Science at Simon Fraser University and later established a small IT consulting company - endeavours that came to support a lifelong passion for Flamenco.
If you are wondering what Flamenco has in common with Iranian culture, you are not alone. In fact, De Caspio constantly fields the question. "Just because the language of Flamenco is Spanish, it doesn't mean that it is related to Latin or Central America...The history of Flamenco can only be traced back to the Middle East where it originally came from."
The group of people responsible for Flamenco are the Roma of Northern India (now Pakistan). Their consequent migration to Iran had a considerable influence over Flamenco until the groups scattered across Europe, ultimately settling in Andalucía. Iranian-born De Caspio was naturally motivated to nurture his musical interests upon identifying distinct parallels between Persian Classical Music and Flamenco.
In 1998, De Caspio picked up Flamenco guitar and singing, eventually taking Spanish classes to complement his performances. Even his business contributed to a growing investment in Flamenco. "After covering basic expenses, all other income from my business goes to support and promote my passion which is Flamenco." De Caspio is now a professional singer and occasionally composes music for dance institutions in Vancouver.
"Flamenco is now a way of life for me," exclaims De Caspio. Broadcasting non-stop Flamenco seven days a week, Flamenco Beat has close to a thousand Facebook supporters. Meanwhile, Flamenco.ca continues to be a wealth of resources for musicians. Without a doubt, a lifelong passion and years of dedication have made Vancouver's own Pirouz de Caspio a mainstay in the Flamenco community.
TrackBack URL for this entry: