Flamenco show in Barcelona
After a few days of sightseeing and partying in the city you may feel you would like a bit of a change. Now is the opportunity to take in something both highly visual, wonderful to the ears and all in all great fun!
Flamenco is a fabulous and very unique form of dancing and expression and it has a wonderful history. The story of flamenco has only been documented for the past two hundred years or so, and anything before this time is open to debate and speculation. Many believe flamenco to be the invention of the gypsies, and although they have been the main protagonists of the art, they are not its sole creators. Much of what we know from before this time comes from stories and legends that have been passed down through family dynasties, in a similar way to the flamenco song itself. One thing we can be sure of is that flamenco in its original form was only voice, a primitive cry or chant accompanied only by the rhythm which would be beaten out on the floor by a wooden staff or cane.
Flamenco is made up of four elements, Cante-Voice, Baile-Dance, Toque-Guitar, and the Jaleo, which roughly translated means “hell raising” and involves the hand clapping, foot stomping, and shouts of encouragement. it is performed by the audience as well as the artiste and anyone else who feels the urge to participate feel free to join in with the clapping and stomping it is great fun!
The hand clapping or Palmas is an art in itself, and although it may look easy, it is not, and the palmeros will weave intricate rhythms around the bases of the song.
Flamenco song can be broken down into two categories- Cante gitano, gypsy songs, and Cante andaluz, andalucian songs.
When the gypsies arrived in Andalucia from India around 1425, they brought with them many song and dance styles that have strong Indian connections. At this time Andalucía was still under Arab rule, and along with the Jews and the moors, the gypsies were soon to be persecuted by the Catholic monarchs and the inquisition. The moors were forced to convert to Christianity, and failure to do so resulted in expulsion from Spain, the Jews suffered a similar fate, and the gypsies were subjected to some of the worst atrocities in an attempt to exterminate them as a race. Many laws were passed by various monarchs, which forbid them anything to do with their identity.
They were to stop wearing their style of dress, cease speaking in the Romany language, and to stop their wanderings and seek steady employment, which prohibited them obtaining money by the usual gypsy traits like horse dealing, trading at fairs, and sorcery. These laws and restrictions resulted in bands of gypsies, moors, and Jews taking refuge in treacherous mountainous areas, which were too desolate for the authorities to pursue them. These different cultures lived in relative harmony for many years, and the fusion of their music and dances are what we know today as flamenco.
In the eighteenth century attitude towards the gypsies changed considerably,which resulted in numerous bands of gypsies descending on the small villages and towns, bringing with them their exciting, seductive music- flamenco. At first this music was not considered worthy of attention, and flamenco was only performed in the homes and private get together of the gypsies. Their mysterious music and stimulating dances were soon to catch the attention of the romantic writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Stories abound of these strange people performing their wild and erotic dances and of the harsh unusual tones of their songs. It wasn’t long before the gachó, those not of gypsy lineage, became intrigued by this music, and gypsy singers were hired to entertain the señoritos, or “toffs” in private parties, know as Juergas, where the rich would entertain themselves with prostitutes, alcohol, and flamenco. Around this time, there were many flamenco singers who were making a name for themselves as flamenco was suddenly becoming popular.
There is an area of land known as the “Holy Trinity” or golden triangle of flamenco, which is thought to be the area where all the major styles of cante jondo originated. The points of this triangle are Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera, and Triana in Seville, and it is believed that this area of land is where the flamenco song began. If you visit some of the small areas like the Barrio Santiago in Jerez or Utrera in Seville you will find that they still hold on very dearly to their age-old flamenco tradition.
Further south in cities like Málaga, flamenco was also on the up, especially with the fandangos. Granada was the birthplace of the granaina, and in Málaga the malagueña, which was an offshoot of the verdiales, was fast becoming one of the most popular styles in the flamenco repertoire.
Flamenco has become so popular that you can now take in a Flamenco Show in any city in Spain. It is so rooted in the history of the country that the performers sing and play with such vigour and passion it is a wonderful spectacle to go and take in a show. While blurry nights out may mould into one in your mind the experience of a flamenco show is one you will remember for a long time!
Of the many Flamenco shows in Barcelona the one most highly recommended is just off La Rambla on Carrer dels Escudellers. Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.flamencolasramblasescudellers.com.
The prices range from 35€ for a VIP ticket to 15€ if you are on a budget. The VIP tickets include tapas and a drink and you will be seated in the front rows in our cosy sofas. Children tickets are discounted. All guests can enjoy the bar service open during the show to buy drinks such as Mojitos, Sangría, cava and wine.
They run two shows every day at 7pm and 9pm so do try and catch a show while you are in the city!