Seville Traditions: Flamenco

Any entrance on the history and traditions of Seville and Spain would be comlpetly trivial without any mention of Flamenco. The Gypsy art has been a staple piece of a Seville way of life. Andalusia has always played a key role in the history of flamenco. A history in which the neighbourhood of Triana played and plays a key part for the development of flamenco music. The region of Triana is known to be one of the originators and birthplaces of flamenco. It became the heart of this art during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Three major phases of Spanish history can be recognized in the evolution of flamenco: the arrival of the gypsies to Spain, the romantic era, and Franco’s dictatorship. Romanticists loved the new art form as it portrayed emotions like no other.

Seville Flamenco
A flamenco performance in a traditional Seville bar

There are over 100 different types of Flamenco, but there are 5 main predominant types, Tango, Sevillanas, Bulería, Alegría and Fandango. After the mid-19th century, flamenco song was usually accompanied by guitar music and a palo seco (Spanish: “dry stick,” a stick that was beat on the floor to keep time) and a dancer performing a series of choreographed dance steps and improvised styles. Baile, or dance, has been the dominant element of flamenco since that time, though it is never performed without accompaniment. A deeply musical dancer, after a 15- or 20-minute sequence, is said to fall into a duende, an intensely focused, trancelike state of transcendent emotion that Federico García Lorca in 1933 described as los sonidos negros (“the dark sounds”) invading the performer’s body. This extraordinary state is enhanced by rhythmic hand clapping and encouraging interjections (jaleo) from the audience and fellow performers.

The golden age of flamenco is usually considered to be the period between roughly 1780 and 1845. Singing was then the primary aspect of flamenco, dancing and musical accompaniment being secondary. What had been an essentially outdoor, outsider, family-oriented activity that focused on cante was transformed beginning in 1842, when Silverio Franconetti founded the first café cantante, Café sin Nombre, in Sevilla (Seville). Among the many great early 20th-century performers are La Argentina (Antonia Mercé), Vicente Escudero, Carmen Amaya, La Argentinita (Encarnación López), José Greco, and Pilar López, as well as the troupes of Antonio and Rosario (Antonio Ruiz Soler and Rosario Florencia Pérez Podilla) and Ximénez-Vargas (Roberto Ximénez and Manolo Vargas). Classically influenced flamenco artists Antonio Gades, Christina Hoyos, José Greco II, and Lola Greco have also pushed the boundaries of flamenco

Seville is the perfect place to see a show. You’ll be in for a night of big personalities and lots of passion and noise! Book a trip, experience the culture and dive into history. We at Voyager can you tell the best places to witness the art of Flamenco, we even offer Flamenco tours across the beautiful city.

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