Flamenco (Spanish pronunciation: [flaˈmeŋko]), in its strictest sense, is a professionalized art-form based on the various folkloric music traditions of southern Spain in the autonomous communities of Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia. In a wider sense, it refers to these musical traditions and more modern musical styles which have themselves been deeply influenced by and become blurred with the development of flamenco over the past two centuries. It includes cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance), jaleo (vocalizations and chorus clapping), palmas (handclapping) and pitos (finger snapping). The oldest record of flamenco dates to 1774 in the book Las Cartas Marruecas by José Cadalso. Flamenco has been influenced by and associated with the Romani people in Spain; however, its origin and style are uniquely Andalusian. The origin of flamenco is a subject of disagreement. The Diccionario de la lengua española (Dictionary of the Spanish Language) primarily attributes the creation of the style to the Spanish Romani. Of the hypotheses regarding its origin, the most widespread states that flamenco was developed through the cross-cultural interchange between native Andalusians, Romani, Castilians, Moors and Sephardi Jews that occurred in Andalusia. The early 20th century poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca wrote that the presence of flamenco in Andalusia significantly predates the arrival of Romani people to the region. Flamenco has become popular all over the world and is taught in many non-Hispanic countries, especially the United States and Japan. In Japan, there are more flamenco academies than there are in Spain. On November 16, 2010, UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
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