Flamenco and Sevilla are synonymous, but Andalusians complain that the dance started in Granada. If you want to get technical, the origins can be traced back to the Roma Gypsies. They migrated from India, bringing their music and culture that evolved that into what we know as Flamenco today.
In all the gift and souvenir shops you’ll tributes to Flamenco and the popular dancers. There are stores dedicated to finding the right dresses, scarves, shoes, hats and fans in case you want to impress your loved ones back home.
There are plenty of shows geared towards the tourists. You’ll find plenty of pamphlets, signs and deals for a night of dinner and dance. What I asked myself is if I would want to dedicate a couple of hours to a performance. Hell, no. Same thing happened to me in Vienna. There’s classical music every where, but no desire to see because it’s geared towards the tourists.
This brings me La Carbonería, the only place you can see Flamenco for free. Just buy some cheap sangria and watch fifteen minutes. You like, you stay. If not, move on. It’s sort of like an open mic night with performances starting at 8pm. Don’t expect the best of the best or elaborate performances. There’s a reason it’s free.
The interiors are rustic and no thrills … and no air conditioning. There’s plenty of benches in a garage-like setting (the place you to be a coal warehouse). As I suspected, it’s mostly tourists who come who want to say they saw flamenco, but don’t want to shell out a lot of money for a whole night.
I was curious myself, and as luck would have it, I ran into somebody I knew. Yup, small world. “What are you doing here?” “No, what are YOU doing here?”
There’s a secret flamenco society that does performances at midnight in the Triana district. That’s where you’ll find the locals crammed into small, stuffy rooms. At midnight, I’m winding down after all the walking, eating and drinking.