Flamenco, Flamenco, Flamenco!

This post is from official student blogger, Leah SharabyLeah is a Junior Linguistics Major and Spanish Minor studying in Seville, Spain from Western Washington University.

While of course flamenco is somewhat well-known as being something quite traditionally Spanish, it’s definitely a bit more common than I would have expected before studying abroad here! Flamenco is definitely a part of the culture of southern Spain as whole, and this became readily apparent within a few weeks in Sevilla.

There’s an amazing place in Sevilla called La Carboneria located near the center, where flamenco shows are offered for free, no tickets required. The place is a sit-down bar of sorts; my host mom says it used to be filled to the brim with locals, but today more than a few tourists do find their way there. That being said, who can turn down free flamenco? If you arrive a little before the 10:30 show you can try to get a good seat, or watch the 10:30 show standing and then wait for the viewers to get up. You can take their seats for the next show at 11:30. There are, of course, many ticketed flamenco bars throughout the city as well.

The prevalence of flamenco in southern Spain was even more notable during our weekend excursion to Granada with API. Granada is located about three hours by car from Sevilla, and definitely, a must visit if in Andalucia. The city itself is somewhat similar to Sevilla, although of course, much smaller, and the backdrop is a bit different. Where Sevilla has its river, Granada has its snow-capped mountains. The Moorish influence to the city is more outwardly apparent, and the presence of Moroccan-style restaurants is huge. Granada is also one of the few places in Spain where they still give you a free tapa at bars and restaurants with a drink, although you may not be able to choose the tapa yourself.

Our first night in Granada, API arranged for us to visit a flamenco show in the city, with a nice view of the Alhambra to accompany us on our thirty-minute walk uphill. Albaicín and Sacromonte are historic neighborhoods of the city that are both World Heritage sites, and the tradition of dance in the area is still very much alive. During the hour-long show, various songs wove together a story told in traditional dance, with multiple dancers rotating in and out and more than one costume changes. While I will, of course, continue to be a frequent patron of La Carboneria in Sevilla, there are few things like sitting in a long and narrow cave watching a flamenco show in traditional clothing, funny soup ladles hanging from the ceiling. A trip to Granada, or to Andalucia as a whole, would certainly be incomplete without a visit to a flamenco show! Once again, API wins at the excursion game.


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