Flamenco originated in Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain, more than 500 years ago. Central to Spanish culture, this passionate music and dance tradition is composed of three elements: toque (guitar), cante (singing), and baile (dancing). There’s zesty hand-clapping, heel-clicking and foot-tapping too. You’ll see the dancers clad gypsy-style in strong red, black and white. The music, which draws its influence from a mind-boggling medley of cultures, is intense and emotional.
Guess what: Flamenco has a strong India connection! Here’s what the Encyclopedia Britannica says:
The roots of flamenco, though somewhat mysterious, seem to lie in the Roma migration from Rajasthan (in northwest India) to Spain between the 9th and 14th centuries. These migrants brought with them musical instruments, such as tambourines, bells, and wooden castanets, and an extensive repertoire of songs and dances. In Spain they encountered the rich cultures of the Sephardic Jews and the Moors. Their centuries-long cultural intermingling produced the unique art form known as flamenco.
Flamenco is a must-not-miss experience when visiting the country. Madrid, the capital of Spain, is also the heart of flamenco.
It’s easy to catch a flamenco show in the city. Simply head to a tablao, or place for flamenco music and dance, which combines delicious Spanish cuisine with daily performances.
Our top three picks:
El Callejón de Madrid
Located just around the corner from Plaza Santa Ana, this popular bar is frequented by renowned artists. Their collection of flamenco memorabilia on the walls is lovely, too.
Calle Manuel Fernández y González, 5, Metro Sol
Al Vicente Copas
The décor is kind of bizarre, but that’s its charm! It’s not even a flamenco stage—just a bar where terrific videos play non-stop. Your beer comes with a free and substantial tapa of ham on bread with a delicious tomato spread.
Plaza de Puerta Cerrada, 7. Metro La Latina/Tirso de Molina
This is a small but superb bar showcasing riveting flamenco, accompanied by equally fabulous food! Enjoy a superb spread of Andalusian delicacies such as huevos rotos (fried eggs on fries), while you watch the masters light up the stage.
San Isidro Labrador, 14, Metro La Latina