Newspaper article from Sunday May 19th, written by Christian Hubschmind about Luis de La Tota and his family–La Familia Bermudez!

Click on the photo to get to the link and read the article—if you can in German that is! If you can’t no worries- I have translated it below


About the article-Christian Hubschmind, along with the Director of the Obwald Festival, Martin Hess,(Switzerland) came to Jerez for a weekend to learn from the Bermudez Family, the origins and culture of Flamenco. They spent an entire day with all of us, while the Bermudez Family gave a dance presentation, then we did a photo shoot, ate lunch which turned into a juerga, then later on in the night we took the Swiss group to a bar (called a Tabanco) to listen to some Flamenco singing. Christian captures the day and the essence of flamenco con mucho arte.

Newspaper: SonnetagsZeitung-Kultur Article by Christian Hubschmind, Translated byEstefanía (painstakingly, using many tools including Google, help by the author himself and a bit of good ol’ common sens…she tried to keep as close to originality for the intent of the author, sometimes sentences were left alone if I didn’t know how to translate)


Actually Luis wanted to be a Rockstar. The 46-year-old Gitano, as the Gypsies of Spain are called, looks that way. Long mane, lanky figure. But nothing has come from his heavy metal career.He was given the genes of a flamenco musician.

In Jerez de la Frontera it rains. In the Spanish town on the southernmost tip of Andalusia, spring will not come. Luis wipes food from his mouth and stands up. Between mountains of beef, olives and morcilla, the Andalusian blood sausage, he improvises a bulería. His hands clap the frenzied beat, his black eyes shining, his brothers and sisters and cousins cheer for him at every punch line he invents. And his son Miguel knocks the rhythm on the table. He was eleven months old.

The Gypsies of Jerez de la Frontera learn flamenco from birth. That is, they do not learn it, they get it with ease. On the street, in the bars. Luis could not talk until he was five years old. His grandfather taught him to make himself understood through flamenco rhythms.

As Luis later discovered that in heavy metal bands the abrupt changes in rhythm and stop-and-go of the music, flamenco came his way. He eventually became a Palmero, the percussionist who smacks the rhythm with the hands. As it is not otherwise possible for a member of the Familia Bermudez.

The musically biased clan is active in the Spanish flamenco scene. But in different formations, as singers, dancers, guitarists and percussionists.They have never performed together except at family gatherings and  the spontaneous lunch today. Therefore they cheer on their concert with the Folk Culture Festival Obwalden in Switzerland. It is their first joint appearance.

The  gypsies use flamenco  as a ritual to bring their painful experiences as a fringe group expression. Freedom and captivity, hunger, and death are the themes they sing about in the form of stories. Although the gypsy quarter of Jerez, which was still earlier outside the city walls, has become a sought-after neighborhood trend. But the authentic power of flamenco has been preserved. In the native passion of the Familia Bermudez.

In a former bodega, in the gypsy neighborhood of El Barrio de Santiago, it smells like vinegar. Although the sherry production has long moved away from the old town to the factories of the agglomeration, a touch of Andalusian wine is still there, high in the room with the white, crumbling walls. The family members dribble inside for band practice one after another. The rain has moved into a cold downpour.

José is a dancer and El Rin is called “the wheel”

Pele, the lanky singer with the sly face and red shoes, shaking his umbrella slightly grumpy from the rain . La Coral singer who is proud that she speaks English even if  only a few words, her scarf wrapped tightly around her shoulders. Only José, a short, rotund man has a laugh on his face. He is a dancer and El Rin he is called, which as much as Spanish means “the wheel”.

José’s character goes against all the rules of a flamenco dancer. Because nothing of him reflects (?) of the moderate elegance  of bullfighting athletic perfection. His upper body is as long as wide, his ponytail hangs down to his behind. But when his cousin on the guitar strikes a chord and another cousin sends plaintive vocals in the room, you see a ripple to Jose’s nose. And then his body by dynamic dances like a volcano.

In how hard rock prevented him, Luis contrasts El Rin with the flamenco cliche as it is exported all over the world. The Spanish folklore is also practiced in other European countries as an exotic hobby. Commercialization and academisation in the 20th Century spread Andalusian traditional music, which was maintained over two centuries by the gypsies. But here, in Jerez de la Frontera, in the district in which the gypsies have settled since it was first allowed in 1783, flamenco still exists as an everyday life.

Now Jesus Alvarez has come to rehearsal. Drenched, he unpacks his guitar. The sisters Coral and Ana slip on  their shoe, reinforced with nails. The singer, Pele intones a toná, a flamenco song without a fixed rhythm. “Y no soy yo” – “And I’m not” – he sings. It sounds so desperate, as if you pushed a knife into the chest.

Late at night, the singer goes on to Alegrías

Suddenly  little Miguel begins to cry. For the first time in this long day, where he was passed from to lap to lap from cousin to brother from the lap of the mother. Soon it’s midnight. In a crowded Tabanco, a bar, Luis Moneo performs.He is also a cousin of Luis and he also wanted to be something else. Truck driver.

Now Moneo sits on a chair, spreads his legs, puts his hands on his thighs and raises an eyebrow. Then he begins to sing a Sigería, a funeral song. His bloodcurdling vocals meets the bar, the sadness of the melody seems to express all the suffering in the world.

Late at night, the singer goes on to Alegrías. The songs are happier in a rousing rhythm, that tells of the act of love, the sea and seafaring. Now Luis with Miguel in his leather jacket starts to dance. His arms move like fish fins, his body pirouettes. Miguel sleeps.

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