When we think of Spain, one of the first images that come to our mind is that of a group of artists playing and dancing flamenco. It is probably the most universal form of Spanish art, representing like no other the spirit of Spanish culture and people. Contrary to what most people think, the flamenco is not a gypsy art, although gypsy people learned to capture and convey the essence of flamenco, and that’s why they were also called “flamencos” in the past. There are gypsies in most European countries, but flamenco is performed by them only in Spain.
A little bit of history
It is certain that flamenco was born probably in the region of Andalusia, in the south of the country. The city of Seville is recognized worldwide for its contribution to this art, but we can also find it in other Andalusian provinces such as Granada, Cadiz or Malaga. The flamenco spread from there to almost all of Spain, receiving contributions from other regions such as Catalan rumba, which retains its Andalusian influence and at the same time incorporates elements of the culture of Catalonia.
From the nineteenth century, after the war of independence with France, the art scene in Madrid began to rise again, and appeared numerous “singing cafes”, nightspots where flamenco was one of the main attractions. That’s when the greatest flamenco artists began to move to the capital of Spain, coming from Andalusia and elsewhere in search of fame. Throughout the twentieth century, with the growth of Madrid and the birth of the music industry, flamenco could develop in all its splendor. And today, although it sounds strange given their Andalusian origins, Madrid is considered the world’s capital of flamenco.
Madrid was host of some of the greatest flamenco names of all time: Camarón de la Isla, Paco de Lucía, Lola Flores, Enrique Morente, among many others. The artistic environment for this genre in Madrid is the busiest in Spain, and here you can watch some sort of spectacle almost every day of the year, in his numerous “tablaos”. Many of them are also restaurants and pubs where you can enjoy a typical Spanish dinner or “tapas” with the show. Among these stand out the tablaos Corral de la Morería, Cardamomo, Casa Patas, Café de Chinitas or Candela. In addition to the shows promoted in theaters, local festivals or fairs.
Flamenco and Madrid
For all this, flamenco is one of the main tourist attractions of Madrid. With nearly 6 million visitors per year (2014), the city offers a huge number of attractions for these tourists. Besides being the capital of Spain, it is in a central position in the country’s geography, acting as point of departure or arrival for those traveling around the country. Among these tourists there are people who travel to Madrid to learn Spanish, since the city has the largest supply of schools across the country. Therefore, schools like Tandem Madrid aim to combine the touristic attractions in the city with language learning, to make the student experiences the most fun and effective as possible. One of these “mixes” of culture and language that worked very well is the “Spanish course and passion for Flamenco“. This course allows students to learn Spanish while making flamenco dance lessons, flamenco history, watching shows and visiting tablaos. A great choice for those who want to study Spanish while living the flamenco culture intensely. For more information please visit www.tandemmadrid.com .
If you are planning to visit Madrid and want to see flamenco shows on your own (out of a Spanish course), please check the availability with the tablaos, because in some dates these places may be crowded. But the options are many, and the only day that probably there are no flamenco shows in Madrid is at Christmas (December 25). Surely you will have an unforgettable experience, among the many others that Madrid has to offer.
There’s an event happening this week actually on the 5th of September ay 21:30h at the Estudio Amor de Dios. For more information, you can call 687484346 and tickets cost 12,99€ which is a great deal for an authentic flamenco show. The artist´s name is Jesús Losada and he recently released an album. Flamenco music is passionate, it’s lively, it’s dramatic, and it’s totally emblematic of the Spanish culture. Did we mention that the cost of the ticket includes a drink too?