Flamenco is the heartbeat of Spain, pure sentiment and profound passion. This genuine Spanish musical art goes back over 200 years to Southern Spain where song, dance and guitar are blended into passionate rhythms which are often improvised and spontaneous. Although the Flamenco today will take up any theme – from love, to history, to politics – the original tragic lyrics and music of the flamenco reflects the travails and sufferings of the gypsy community from where it originated.
When in Spain, you cannot but fail to be enraptured by its energy and contagious rhythm, and after one sitting at a flamenco tablao, you are certain to be hooked to this spectacular and beautiful art form for life. It is no wonder then that Flamenco schools have spread across the world with Japan claiming to have more schools then Spain!
Flamenco combines the tones of deep vocals, Spanish guitar, a energetic type of tap dance, vigorous clapped rhythms and the spectacular dance movements – almost a dance drama. As as you watch, it slowly envelopes and captures you until you are unconsciously infected by the emotion generated by the dancers and the musicians.
The best way to experience this unique art form is to find a “tablao” (flamenco club) and enjoy a night of flamenco music. The restaurant-clubs are the hub of flamenco and always have a performance or two every evening accompanied by traditional Spanish cuisine. As a guest you can opt for the signature wines and tapas (starters) or a full dinner. The service is excellent and most places will ask you to come in early if you choose to have dinner. Most tourist offices will offer information on popular tablao’s and it is certainly advisable to book a table in advance as the places tend to be relatively small with limited capacity.
There are the flamenco ballets and performances too at some of the theatres, but the tablao is certainly an experience that will making your sojourn in Spain more memorable.
Our favorite tablao:
Las Carboneras, Near Mercado San Miguel, Plaza Mayor, Madrid