What is ‘duende’ in Flamenco?

You know that incredible, special, heightened, magical, in-the-moment feeling that you only get in a live performance, be it of music, poetry, theatre or dance?

Have you ever wondered what it is?

In Flamenco it’s got a name: Duende.

Duende is at the heart of what Flamenco is and while you can’t describe it in simple words, you will definitely feel it and know it when you see a true Flamenco performance!

It’s a mindset, a way of life, my passion and what I live for.

Duende, in short, is the “state” that’s created between the music, the dance and the audience. It’s the magic that is more than the sum of its parts. The “something” that gives you goosebumps and enthrals you or makes you ecstatic about a Flamenco performance.

What has duende got to do with elfs?

If you look up the word ‘duende’ in a Spanish dictionary, you’ll find it translates into ‘elf’ or ‘goblin’.

Like these creatures, duende is a spirit, a spirit that emerges from within a performance. It’s a force that seems to come from within the artist, but at the same time seems to have a power of its own that takes hold of the artist. You could compare it to a muse, but while the muse “only” captures the artist, duende takes over artist and audience and unites them in a shared experience.

How can I bring duende into my life?

It’s impossible to do Duende justice with words, no matter how many words you use or how good you are with words. If you’d like to know more about it, there is only one way really: you have to feel it. Then it becomes very simple. If you’re receptive to it, you can get a sense of it in your own home by listening closely to Flamenco music and diving deeply into it and immersing yourself into it. The surest way to find it though, is through experiencing a performance.

Get in touch with me, if you’d like to give the gift of duende to a special person on a special occasion.

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