You can’t travel to a place like Andalucia and not experience its culture. Be it food, music, language, whatever – you just have to have a taste, even if you’re not able to immerse into it. Culture is the life and soul of a place, and flamenco is very much the soul of Andalucia.
Flamenco is a genre of Spanish music, song, and dance from Andalusia, in southern Spain, that includes cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance) and palmas (handclaps). First mentioned in literature in 1774, the genre grew out of Andalusian and Romani music and dance styles. Flamenco is often associated with the Romani people of Spain (Gitanos) and a number of famous flamenco artists are of this ethnicity.
I was blessed with the opportunity to watch a flamenco performance, at midnight, no less. The little shop/bar/performance area (I guess?) was located right next to the Alhambra, and as I looked up, it looks just as magnificent as it is in the day.
But of course, enough with my obsession with the Alhambra for now.
We’d initially planned on catching the 10pm show but by the time we went to buy tickets, it was already sold out. So a tip for you if you’d like to watch a show – buy tickets early! They sell out pretty fast.
The venue I went to was really cosy. It was a little underground area, with benches for audience and a small stage for the performers. I loved that it wasn’t extravagant or too show-off-y. It was intimate and absolutely catered for an intense cultural experience.
The show started off with the cante (singing) and toque (guitar playing). I loved the man’s raw voice, conveying so much emotion, and the synchrony the two performers had. What was really interesting though was when we realised that the two men were tapping to different beats!
The dancer came out later and omg, can she dance! Her legs were tapping so so so fast, it seemed virtually impossible! Can you imagine the combination of singing, clapping, dancing and guitar playing, all at once? The fact that it was dimly lit and the focus was on the stage also heightened the experience. It was intense. I was captivated throughout the entire performance!
I actually walked out of the bar with the sense that I needed to breathe. Deeply. I was just so blown away.
Words just fail me now. I cannot describe fully how the performance was, how it made me feel, the kind of sensory experience I had…
I did manage to video a short section of the first part though. Watch this, try to feel the emotions, and multiply it 100x to figure out how it felt like in the second part.
I kinda managed to find a somewhat similar performance on Youtube though!
I’m really glad I shared that experience with these amazing ladies, both so open and receptive to new cultural experiences too! It makes such a huge difference, the people you choose to hang out with! 🙂 The beautiful thing is, we’re so different from one another and all from different continents around the world! 😀
Right, now that I’ve gotten these two entries out of my system, I can finally start on the Alhambra series, inshaAllah! 😀 Look out for that soon. 🙂