*Article written by Maria Colom.

We are in Kampala, at the National Theater of the Ugandan capital. Some young people have gathered there to attend a special class and, a priori, something far away. Agnes Kamya wants to teach and transmit a language that allows these curious young people to express themselves in a unique way, wants to teach them to dance Flamenco. “In fact, the powerful rhythmic sense of Flamenco comes from African blacks, instead of the gypsies.” With this phrase of Antonio and David Hurtado Torres, published in the book and the album La llave de la música flamenca, the audiovisual project In search of the African Duende – The project of Flamenco in Uganda, by the director Caroline Kamya.

This project was born from the hand of the Ugandan sisters Agnes and Caroline Kamya. After discovering flamenco dance in the United Kingdom, where she studied engineering, anthropology and cinema, and while writing her doctoral thesis, Agnes decided to move to Seville to continue researching and learning more about this art. “I remember taking my first Flamenco dance class in London. Then I had no idea that that class would change my life. How could I, a Ugandan woman, feel such a strong connection with a typical Spanish dance? As an anthropologist I am, I did an initial research and found something that surprised me: an African element. I had to go to Spain to investigate, “says Agnes Kamya in Searching for the African Goblin.

And is that there are many evidences that raise doubts about the origin of flamenco music and dance, popularly granted to gypsies. What if it had been the blacks who came from Africa from the sixteenth century through the slave trade, one of the greatest influences of this art? This is posed in the documentary Gurumbé, by the Spanish filmmaker Miguel Angel Rosales. With the beginning of the slave trade, Andalusian society became very heterogeneous, so that, according to the documentary, it is very difficult to determine what elements of culture, music and dance are black, gypsy or Andalusian. According to Raúl Rodríguez, a musician and cultural anthropologist, for Wiriko, “the flamenco rhythmic system is built on a mestizo basis with a strong influence of the dances that were brought by enslaved Africans.”

Some studies have been carried out that allow to appreciate an influence and a direct relation between the structures and the form of the flamenco music with Africa. “According to what I know, we can find several clear lines of connection: the rhythm of Zarabanda, derived from African dances and expanded by both Atlantic shores in the 16th century (and which was so popular that it became banned), seems to be The first to condense the rhythmic cell of the “Hemiolia” on which the twelve-beat measures we have today in Flamenco are based. Bulería, Soleá and Seguiriya can have a direct relationship with those dances, in a mestizo and condensed development in Andalusia for hundreds of years, “says Raúl Rodríguez, and soon to be published in his next book-disk La root eléctrica. But this chapter of history has been silenced because the Negro has always been considered as the other and the slave.

But, “What about the” goblin “? Can an African Black Woman Have Elf? I wondered if I would be able to uncover this black Flamenco story, if I could find my African pixie. ” To this end, Agnes returned to Uganda and, along with her sister, the director and producer Caroline Kamya, decided to launch the documentary project In Search of the African Duende, a project to teach Flamenco dance in Uganda and look for the black roots of This art. In 2014, they did the first Flamenco class at the National Theater in Kampala with a group of curious young people who wanted to learn this dance. “They loved it and asked to learn more,” says Caroline Kamya to Wiriko.

At a time when the film industry is developing in Uganda, the Kamya Sisters project continues its process. They continued teaching and began to record the documentary. “We have completed project development and are raising funds to complete production. We look for more sponsors, more executive producers; We want to reach 1000, with some Spaniards, “explains Caroline.

And the “elf” can be felt by anyone who is in love with life. “I dream of the day when we can share soniquetes and reunite the rhythms brothers, again together, celebrating around the same candela,” Rodríguez ends.

In search of the African Duende wants to find the soul of this dance in Uganda, the goblin as the ability to transmit and evoke emotions; And for the moment it has achieved. “It is in the African DNA and in our deceased in Spain. Contemporary Spanish has our DNA in the blood, in the spirit, in architecture, in food, in music and in dance; And our dancers proved it ” Said Caroline.

Two sisters dedicated to the cinema.

when they were just girls, the Kamya sisters fled to Kenya with their family to escape the war in their country. Later, when the parents were able to return to Uganda, they decided to send their daughters to study in England, and both, in one way or another, ended up in connection with the world of cinema. Agnes works as a screenwriter, while Caroline is an award-winning director and producer. Her best known work is the film Imani, with which she won the prize for best director at the 2010 African Film Festival in Tarifa.

*Maria Colom:Graduated in Communication and Cultural Industries (UB) and graduate student in African Societies and Development (UPF). With a strong tendency to dream big, he discovered Africa almost by chance. He coordinates an educational project with an NGO working in Uganda and, after living in the continent for a while, counts the hours to get back on track. Collaborating with Wiriko is a great opportunity to continue learning and soothe concerns.

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