Stop me while you come across and ask me to tell you a reason why I love and appreciate our amazing world, and this might be my response to your question: Because I was lucky to have the opportunity to live multiple Flamenco experiences.
How did the opportunity that you’re calling “lucky” happen?
I was younger and culturally ignorant when I decided to fly to Sevilla, España (located in Andalusia, the southern Spanish region which is considered by Spain as a continent of its own). The main reason I decided on that destination was mostly because of the cheap flights, cheap food and because our holiday consultant (Google) was linking on my computer screen to a place where you can find seas and lands to explore.
What was it instead? That trip was a lot more than what I just wrote. That mini vacation completely changed my life. Sevilla made me a better version of myself by sending me home with a huge luggage full of cultural, artistic and historic memories. Memories, that after more than 6 years later, I still vividly remember in my mind and heart.
It was the first time I was happy not being in the most famous local music club. I didn’t realize I was slowly falling in love with Andalusia. I was considering myself one of the locals (well, honestly this might happen in all the Spanish places you will visit, they have this effect on the people) and I was enjoying that sensation. They love making you feel part of that place and the most amazing thing is that wherever you go, they will always share the best quality food and drinks, the same they have on their dinner tables.
Yes but how did you find yourself Pleasantly stuck in a Tablao Sevillano?
After enjoying some early afternoon tapas (small Spanish savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar) and an amazing Estrella beer (served in a frozen glass) I decided to walk through the Plaza De Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla (the arena where they challenge the bulls to death) to see how it was inside. Honestly being in the middle of that arena, trying to imagine a public and a bull in front of you, makes you sweat and be nervous even if the only thing there with you is the wind blowing arena sand in your face.
After the Bull Arena I thought: And now what?
I remember walking through Paseo de Cristóbal Colón and at some point I heard (I’m always attracted to the music) a kind of music I’d never heard before. It was something like the music in this video…
(I apologize for the advertisement!)
As I walked in, my body already full of goosebumps, I payed $40.00 for the next show and a complimentary glass of wine.
The colorful room, full of Andalusian and Arabian architectural style, was crowded with people from all over the world. I knew I kinda liked the music and nothing else. At some point the show started and I realized I was loving that glass of likely Spanish red wine, so I asked for another one (I couldn’t watch the show without having a second complimentary drink).
Now here comes the best part
Three black suited guys, wearing black shoes and white shirts, walked in and sat at their chairs. All three men were preparing their guitars. The moment they started playing their instruments in an different way than I was used, I wasn’t the same man. I became the new me who understands the beauty of the world (me less ignorant). I transformed into a better person who appreciates those people with a hard mission (spreading the beauty of culture and the arts).
When they started to mix the sounds of the guitar chords with their masculine voices, my body was compulsively dancing. And then when the women walked on stage with their beautiful and colorful dresses and started to dance with those sensual body movements, I was amazed. Every single strong step on that floor vibrated to the depths of my soul. Their soft yet serious face while moving their arms and flowing skirts, made my feet dance on the floor. It was then that I saw a Japanese woman taking pictures of my feet. I started to laugh.
And the even sweeter part?
At some point, a good-looking man in his 50’s entered and immediately took possession of the stage with a non-stop 30 minutes of Cante (singhing), Baile (dance), Jaleo (vocalizations), Pitos (finger snapping) dance. I was amazed how he was able to dance without easing up for even a second. After his sweaty performance, he started to dance with the main female dancer El baile de la pasion. My level of happiness was at 100 % and I was whistling and applauding along with all the people.
That night was one of my best nights ever. That night I learned something new. I knew what it truly meant to love the culture and the arts. Since then I never stopped suggesting Sevilla with its Flamenco culture to whomever asked me about an amazing place to visit.
Later that night I found out amazing facts on the Internet about Flamenco that you might like to know:
- Many flamenco dancers do not hit their peak until their thirties and will continue to perform into their fifties and beyond.
- The young people are not considered to have the emotional maturity to adequately convey the duende (soul) of the genre.
- The oldest record of Flamenco dates to 1774 in the book Las Cartas Marruecas by Jose Cadalso.
- The genre originated in the music and dance styles of Andalusia and includes: Cante (singing), Toque (guitar playing), Baile (dance), Jaleo (vocalizations), Palmas (hand clapping), Pitos (finger snapping).
- Tuesday the 16th of December 2010 by decision of Intergovernmental Committee of Unesco Intangible Heritage, Flamenco became part of the representative list of Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
I hope you will have the same luck to visit Sevilla and go to a Flamenco show. If not, I hope the passion in these words allow you to live vicariously through my travel adventure!