If you’re wondering what flamenco is, the answer is complex. Flamenco is singing, dancing, talent, duende, passion, feeling… An original art of Andalusia, fruit of the influence and miscegenation of several cultures such as gypsy, Arab, Christian and Jewish. An artistic expression that is appreciated and practiced all over the world.
For a flamenco artist it is something that appeals to the emotional, to the intangible. It is the expression of what has been lived. How to explain in words what this art is and means for a singer, a dancer or a guitar player?
Let’s travel back in time. 50s. Triana. In one of the corrals of neighbors that dot this neighborhood. A 5-year-old girl is with her family at a celebration. It’s her cousin’s birthday. They talk, eat, drink, laugh… They are cheerful and suddenly an uncle of theirs starts singing! His grandmother looks at him, nods and accompanies him with her palms.
Little by little all eyes turn to him. More palms come together: those of her grandfather, another uncle, a sister, the daughter who turns 15… And the fuss, the excitement and the party begins. The little ones watch. Some are silent and others dare to imitate the touch of palms of their elders, even if they do not do it yet quite well.
The birthday girl’s father is so happy and proud of his daughter that he begins to sing to her for joy. “With that pretty face, pride in my life you are…”. Family members are grouped in a circle. The singer is still in the center and goes singing to his daughter, with his arm outstretched and the palm of his hand up.
The girl accompanies him with her palms, looks at his face. Complicity is emerging among them. They know what they have to do. She begins to approach her father, reaches the center of the circle, surrounds him playing palms, follows the rhythm and begins, little by little, to move to the beat. The complicity is absolute and starts dancing.
The joy of his family is immense. Some get excited. They feel, everyone feels something inside. The rhythm, the passion, the respect, the strength, the joy, the pride of the family, of being gypsies…
In the midst of this uproar, the grandmother goes out to sing and dedicates a lyric to her granddaughter. The father goes to the circle dancing and clapping hands with all his desire. The daughter, who is still dancing, approaches her 5-year-old cousin, with whom she is united by something special, and in whom she has already seen how, being so small, she already follows the rhythm and feels flamenco. Complicity arises between them. Grandma sings to both of them and they dance in front of each other. The flamenco goblin invades the space.
This is the memory of Pepita López, that 5-year-old girl who today, with 74, recounts with nostalgia and great emotion that afternoon in a corral in Triana, a picture that was repeated in small meetings and family gatherings that were held in this Sevillian corner, converted into a reference center of flamenco during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Numerous flamenco artists and masters have left and continue to leave this neighborhood.
The private character of those parties became public when singing and dancing began to be performed in theaters and singing cafes, rooms with boards and chairs where the public could enjoy these flamenco shows. These singing cafes were the origin of today’s tablaos.
Flamenco is today a reference art in the world. Declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, flamenco singing, dancing and music is appreciated and admired inside and outside our borders.
But flamenco is much more than an artistic expression. Flamenco for many people is feeling, it is passion, it is a way of living, it is taking pride in your roots… Serve as an example the memory of Pepita López, who has been linked to magic and flamenco elf for a lifetime.
In places like Seville, the connection with this art comes from afar and is latent in many corners of the city. You will find numerous tablaos that keep alive the spirit of singing and dancing more traditionally. El Palacio Andaluz is one of these spaces where you can enjoy a live show, a delight for the senses.
An Andalusian tablao where every night, the cast of artists lives, feels and transmits the purest form of this art. If you want to feel what the flamenco is, be sure to visit us at El Palacio Andaluz.
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