Flamenco: the Heart and Soul of Music in Andalucia, Spain

| February 12, 2013 | 22 Comments
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Note: If possible, I recommend you listen to thisGuajiras de Luciaflamenco guitar song while reading this article to better appreciate the culture and difficulty of this music genre. The piece is by Paco de Lucia, perhaps the greatest flamenco guitar player of all times.

Spain’s southern provinces that belong to the autonomous region of Andalucia are famous for the sun, beaches, food and perhaps most important of all, cultural heritage, and at the heart of this lies Flamenco. This genre of music has its roots in rhythms from eastern Spain, northern Africa and India, bringing together a series of melodramatic songs and dances that transcend into the spiritual and inner self, with guitars being the main source of music and often accompanied by clapping and singing.

flamenco-music-in-seville

Flamenco singing and dancing in tablao Los Gallos

Seville’s relationship with flamenco music has been long and faithful, with the neighborhood known as Triana being considered the epicenter of flamenco and gypsy culture in Seville. This area is in the South side of the Guadalquivir river, and free guided walks to it are available. However the buildings and streets do not provide any visual entertainment as the area is, perhaps as expected, a lower class “barrio”. It is here that the real flamenco venues are located, and during the weekends flamenco players and dancers improvise their music late into the night. During the week, however,  there is little to find here, and visitors will have to find a “tablao” (the stage where flamenco is played) somewhere in the tourist area.

flamenco-show-barrio-santa-cruz-seville

Tablao “Los Gallos” in Barrio de Santa Cruz, the best option for those staying in this area.

When asking around for tablaos where we could watch a flamenco show most locals would mention three that are in the area near the river, namely tablao El Arenal near the bullring La Maestranza or El Palacio Andaluz, a few blocks away. But we figured these to  be a bit too far from our hotel for our liking, and remembered having spotted one just a few blocks away from the apartment we had spent that night in. We made our way there and it turned out to be tablao Los Gallos, the oldest in town with performances happening every night since 1966.

gipsy-and-flamenco-music

Gypsies are the founders of flamenco music and is deeply related into their culture and heritage.

gypsy-folklore

Photos of famous flamenco artists who’ve performed at Tablao Los Gallos

Tablao Los Gallos: The Venue

Located in Plaza Santa Cruz 11, tablao Los Gallos (the roosters) is located in a quiet area of Santa Cruz, without a doubt the most interesting for any visitor in Seville. This particular area is quiet and while much of it is pedestrian only it is possible to get here by car. There are two shows that run daily, from 8pm-10pm and from 10:30pm-12:30pm. The first one usually has more guests, but those with time in their hands wait for the second one and let themselves drift late into the night watching the artists embrace their passion. The entrance fee is 35€ (affordable when compared with other locations) and it includes one basic drink, namely sangria, beer, water or a soda.

tablao los gallos

Tablao Los Gallos as seen from the upper floor.

The Flamenco Show  in Tablao Los Gallos

The two hour flamenco show in tablao Los Gallos includes a wide repertoire with a good exhibition of flamenco guitar music, singing, dancing (male, female, and combined),  performed by 5 female dancers “bailaoras”, one “cantaora” (female singer), two “bailaores” (male dancers), three “cantaores” (male singers) and three guitar players, all with many years of experience and even some of them having received national awards. The tablao has been open to the public since 1966 and is the oldest in Seville, another detail that makes this venue somewhat more special. From the moment the first artist steps the stage it is easy to see how passionate flamenco artists are about their music, and they easily transmit their love to the audience who admires in awe its uniqueness.

bailaora in Seville

A bailaora during her performance.

Conclusion

Flamenco music is vibrant, engaging, soulful and passionate, and tablao Los Gallos is an excellent location where to enjoy a great evening with the performance of expert artists. The staff is friendly, the venue is sufficiently well appointed and I have no doubt you will have a good time. Please note that photographs are not allowed during the show except for the last ten minutes prior to the ending- the staff will make sure you’re aware of this. All things considered I find Tablao Los Gallos to be the best venue where to enjoy a flamenco show as not only is it professional and engaging but the tablao is the most conveniently located for anyone staying in this part of barrio Santa Cruz.

To learn more about this tablao please visit their website www.tablaolosgallos.com where you’ll find all the information you might need. I was a invited  to attend the performance, but this has not affected my appreciation of the show in any way, and all opinions in this article are, as always, my own.

 

Category: Destinations, Europe, Spain

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22 Responses to “Flamenco: the Heart and Soul of Music in Andalucia, Spain”

  1. Merlin says:

    The best thing I like about Flamenco is the foot work and the expressions. Their dancing often involves fierce stomping, sometimes made louder with percussion attachments on the shoes, and graceful arm movements. I have seen Flamenco dance in TV shows and movies, but one day I would definitely visit Spain just to see this dance form. I truly enjoyed reading this post since somewhere around I think I am interested in this dance.

  2. Jack says:

    Oh! Flamenco!!! One of my favorite dance forms. The best thing I like about this dance is the way expressions are conveyed. I had performed a solo dance (which was not that accurate) on this dance form in my Xth grade annual function. It requires lot of finishing in the footwork, hand, arm and body movements. Nice post!

  3. Pete says:

    I remember seeing our first Flamenco show back in 2003. It’s been far too long since. I need to get back to see another.

  4. Great post. Everyone wants to see flamenco when they go to Seville, but it’s hard to know where to find a good performance.

    My family and I stumbled across a stunning flamenco show last year in Seville. I couldn’t even tell you where it was. Just a tiny room with an old stage and folding chairs crammed together. Perfection.

    It was unforgettable, as was the whole city.

  5. Alex says:

    I went to Grenada when I was about 12 and I still remember the flamenco dancers we saw! One of my favorite memories from the trip.

  6. I remember being in Spain as a little kid and just loving the flamenco dresses. I’d love to see the dancers in action now that I’m older and more able to appreciate it!

  7. I’d love to get to Seville one day to see true Flamenco.

  8. Abby says:

    I love it! I have fond memories of late-night flamenco dancing during the spring fiestas.

  9. I love Flamenco and I’m sure Seville is a great place to see a good flamenco show!

  10. Erica says:

    My mother was a flamenco dancer trained by the Triana family. She was so amazing. *swoon*

    I love flamenco!

  11. Ayngelina says:

    I also saw great flamenco in Seville, it is such a great city.

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