Spanish and Flamenco go hand in hand. This century-old artistic expression, declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO since 2010, is a genuinely Spanish art. Born in Andalusia, flamenco represents the mixing and coexistence of cultures in Spain. From the mix of Arab, Jewish, Gypsy and Andalusian cultures arose this art that gives goosebumps to people coming from everywhere in the world.
Although Flamenco emerged in the south, today Madrid is considered the capital of flamenco. Any artist who wants to boost their professional career will sooner or later perform in Madrid. In addition, Madrid is where the big recording industry is settled, making flamenco be known around the world and establishing the starting point for internationally renowned flamenco artists.
The success of this art is such that a country as far away as Japan is considered the second home of flamenco and has renowned flamenco dancers. Flamenco lives in Madrid. That’s why those interested in doing a Spanish course and in learning flamenco have another reason to come to Madrid.
The main reason why many of Spain’s most important flamenco tablaos (tablao is a floorboard where flamenco shows are performed) are in Madrid goes back to the 19th century with the cafés cantantes. These venues offered, apart from the services of a café, flamenco singing, dancing and music playing in a small wooden tablao. In Madrid, the popularity of these cafés became such that there came to a point when there were more than 50 cafés cantantes open simultaneously.
From the 1960s onwards, these venues transformed into what we know today as tablaos flamencos. Some of the most important and well-known that any Spanish student in Madrid can not miss are: The Corral de la Morería, Las Tablas, El Lucero, Casa Patas and La Quimera.
In these tablaos you can enjoy the three flamenco disciplines: singing, guitar playing and dancing. Flamenco is the result of the mixture of vocal music, dance and musical accompaniment. Flamenco is feeling and passion deep to the roots.
Flamenco has more than 50 palos (singing styles) that can be grouped in different ways: according to their origin, metrics, whether or not they are accompanied by guitar or dance… At first sight, this may seem complicated, but to help us understand it we need to know that each palo has a structure, with a fixed part and a variable one. Some of the most common and well-known are Alegrías, Bulerías, Fandangos, Seguiriyas and the famous Sevillanas.
Madrid has not only fostered the musical career of great flamenco artists but has also been the birthplace of singers and dancers such as Mercedes López, Vicenta La Gitana, El Canario de Madrid, El Canario de Colmenar, El Niño de Madrid, El Chato de Vicálvaro, or El Chato de Las Ventas.
Also born in Madrid were the bailaor Eduardo Serrano, El Güito, the dancers Teresa Vallejo, La Tati, Laura González, Raquela Ortega or La Truco and the Los Pelaos family, a whole generation of Madrid flamenco dancers.
To get to know flamenco in Madrid is to get closer to the heart of Spanish feelings and culture, which follow the rhythm of a guitar and display a burning passion.