A lot of people when thinking of something typical Spanish, they associate the word Flamenco. The flamboyant art form is a combination of dance, song and guitar music. But what is exactly Flamenco and where did it originate?
What is Flamenco?
Flamenco is not a dance, but an art form, based in Southern Spain, deriving from different folk music traditions. As explained, Flamenco always includes dance, song or guitar music of a combination of the three.
Baile (Dance): Stories of daily life experiences are expressed in the form of dance. Intricate footwork is performed by the male dancer while female dancers wearing ruffled dresses perform steps involve upper torso and hands.
Cante (Song): It consists of three different songs. One song is cheerful and lively called cante Chico. It is simpler in rhythm as compared to other forms. On the other hand, the second song is a deep one called cante jondo. It is a song with complex rhythm characterized by emotions of anguish, despair, and death. The third form is the cante intermedio. It is a combination of different Spanish music styles.
Toque (Guitar): The Flamenco guitar looks quite similar to the classic guitar. However it has some adjustments that just make the difference in one or the other. The Flamenco guitar is lighter and narrower and therefore make a sound with less volume, so that the singer does not get overshadowed.
There are around 50 different dance styles called “palos”. Some are without guitar, the other one without including the dance.
What are its origins?
We have seen that this amazing form of Spanish art is quite complex and has a large range of influences, so where does the Flamenco music originate from? They have indeed played a very important role in the creation and evolution of this art form but there are a lot of theories about the origins of flamenco. There are many theories about its origins. According to the most supported theory, this art form’s roots are Morisco, brought from Africa, together with gypsy music who brought it from the subcontinent of India, derived from the kathak dance.
The popularity of Flamenco arrose when the king promulgated a pragmatic that regulated the social situation of the gypsies. Since now the gypsies who are the main Flamenco performers, were more free to perform in the streets.
Where to see a Flamenco show in Seville?
There are plenty of Flamenco shows to see in Seville. Most of them are held in the so called “Tablaos”. The name comes from the colloquial term “Tablado” which means floorboard, but also the platform where Flamenco is performed. Now they are ventures where Flamenco performances are given.
Tablao Los Gallos
Tablao Los Gallos is one of the most renowned places to witness Flamenco. Since 1966, they have been receiving people from all the world to witness their spectacle. Perfect in combination with have diner and a drink at the same establishment before or after the show. The place is very well located near the fort of Real Alcázar at the Plaza de Santa Cruz square.
La Casa del Flamenco
A lesser known venue is La Casa del Flamenco in the Auditorio Alcántara. Based in a former 15th century Palace, giving it a different athosphere. The whole show is improvised, every day different people are selected to have the act. Since the place is smaller, the experience is more intimate. The location is in the street Calle Ximénez de Enciso, 28, at 5 minutes walk from the cathedral.
This tablao is more for those who would like to be entertained while eating. This restaurant serves diner twice a day, while you can enjoy some Andalusian food. It is a perfect way for those travelling with children. Even though the show is just as good as the others, this one is more focused on entertainment. This place is the street Calle Matemáticos Rey Pastor y Castro, 4 in near the area of Macarena, just across the Guadalquivir river.
Flamenco is a very traditional Spanish art and one of the most iconic symbols of the country. A performance will leave any witness with goose bumps of the intention of both the voice, the guitar and the dance. We definitely recommend you to visit at least one show in your visit to Spain as it will definitely add some additional value to your trip to Spain.