Flamenco, in its strictest sense, is a professionalized art-form based on the various folkloric music traditions of southern Spain in the autonomous community of Andalusia. In a wider sense, the term refers to a variety of Spanish musical styles developed as early as the 19th century.
The oldest record of flamenco dates to 1774. Flamenco has been influenced by and associated with the Romani people in Spain; however, its origin and style are uniquely Andalusian.
The cante flamenco is part of musical tradition in the Andalusian region of Spain. Its origins are uncertain but scholars see many influences in the cante flamenco including:
The traditional song of the Spanish Gypsies, the Perso-Arab Zyriab song form, the classical Andalusian orchestras of the Islamic Empire, the Jewish synagogue chants, Mozarabic forms such as zarchyas and zambra, Arabic zayal, and Andalusian regional folk forms, as well as West African and South American influences as seen in the cantes de ida y vuelta.
The baile flamenco is known for its emotional intensity, proud carriage, expressive use of the arms and rhythmic stamping of the feet, unlike tap dance or Irish dance which use different techniques. As with any dance form, many different styles of flamenco have developed.
The flamenco most foreigners are familiar with is a style developed as a spectacle for tourists. Still, flamenco has become popular all over the World. On November 16, 2010, UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.