The Best Flamenco in Seville!
Flamenco is potent and intoxicating. As you're sitting in the crowd, you're essentially at the mercy of the performers as they more or less hypnotize you, and I'm not exaggerating. They use what appears to be a traditional structure, then they proceed use said structure to blow your mind with creativity and spontaneity. What really seals the deal for me is that I know I could see the same show each and every single night with the same performers, and it would always be different and have a different feel. In Seville, it's certainly possible to attend a Flamenco show that is heavily scripted and rehearsed, but if you've got your eyes and ears open, it's easy to get your hands on a ticket to a performance that oozes authenticity.
In leading up to the performance (which occured only last night, mind you), I did a fair bit of research to figure out which show spoke to me. I leafed through guide books, took a peak at TripAdvisor, and consulted friends who knew the city intimately. I decided that I didn't want to do a dinner show sort of performance (though I have heard positive things about that), as I wanted to be fully entranced by the experience (food can be pretty distracting for me sometimes.) That's precisely what happens if it's done right - your mind is sucked into the present, regardless of what happened an hour before you arrived or what you've got planned an hour after. The emotional buy-in from those on stage is almost ridiculous. It looks like they're performing the show for the first time in their lives after practicing for ten years, when in reality it may not even be their first show of the day.
Flamenco is a wild mixture of rapid guitar, guttural and passionate singing, dancing with an emphasis on the tapping of the feet, rhythmic clapping, sporadic finger snapping, and vocalizations and encouraging incantations. From an emotional standpoint, there were points where things reached such a head that I was sure I was about to witness my first live spontaneous combustion. I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of the 90 some odd minute performance.
It's interesting, but having lived in Turkey, I could hear the Islamic influence on the way in which the voice was utilized, much like the imams with their call to prayer. Flamenco for me is an art form which shows what you can accomplish when you're willing to take aspects from a variety of cultures and make something truly unique. Flamenco nowadays is as popular as ever and, randomly enough, it's taking Japan and nations other than Spain by storm. Though, to be honest, if someone asked if I wanted to attend a Flamenco class with them almost anywhere I wouldn't say no. I'd fail miserably, but I wouldn't say no.
My personal recommendation is to see the show at Casa de la Memoria. The price is under 20 euros and the venue is decidedly intimate. There are two shows each night, one at 19:30 and one at 21:00. I'd recommend getting there at least 15-20 minutes early as you want to be sure you get a spot on the ground floor, not the second floor. The room barely holds 75 or so people, so getting there early is essential. Also, you all, my readers, know me well enough to know that I always disclose who I'm working with - I'm endorsing this place completely of my own volition.
I've checked with friends, and they've also told me that La Casa del Flamenco puts on a quality performance. Lastly, friends have also told me that you can catch a new-age, up close and personal style show at Casa de la Guitarra. So yes, in sum, I've just been to one show, but I've done my research, and I could only hope my friends and readers could enjoy the same style show that I did.
Have you been to Seville? What did you think? Did you attend a Flamenco show? How was it? Did you attend a show that I didn't recommend that you would? Any and all comments about Seville, Flamenco, and anything in between are welcome below. You guys know that I read and respond to each and every comment.