Some say that flamenco was born as the artistic expression of the Moorish farmers after they were evicted from their land. Other claim extravagant origins and relate flamenco to the former Spanish colonies of Flanders (presently The Netherlands and Belgium). Outlandish theories aside, the fact is that flamenco has been documented as a cultural characteristic of the poor gypsies of Andalusia since the late eighteenth century. Distinguished historians such as Demófilo (father of the Machado), poets of the universality of Federico Garcia Lorca (who liked to listen to the café singers of Madrid in his student days) or musicians like Manuel de Falla tried to preserve the oldest Flamenco musical forms. These were also the most profound, melancholy and sad and those that were displaced by other more cheerful and boisterous ones. It is now the subject of research and being promoted through patronage in an effort to preserve the purity of a cultural manifestation that was threatened in the early 20th century.
Thanks to specialized cafés and the expansion of this style of song and dance into all strata of Spanish society, and later into Europe, flamenco today has been on the UNESCO heritage list since 2010. Although it’s related to Andalusian folklore, it should not be confused with it. This art form has a clear element of entertainment (of people who sing, play and dance while others to watch) and is not intended for audience participation.
Flamenco has spent years crossing all kinds of borders and it is very popular in places as far away as Japan. It has also crossed over from Andalusia to Catalonia, where there are also many fans and good performers. In Barcelona, there are shows organized under the title Gran Gala de Flamenco. These events are divided into two areas: Grand Gala Flamenco and Opera and Flamenco, a modern mix of famous arias that are staged in line with the more traditional music forms. The shows are distributed throughout the year and they are held at the Music Palace of Catalonia and the Teatro Poliorama. On this website you can find more information about the locations and times as well as buy tickets online: http://grangalaflamenco.com/
On August 4 there’s an event that shouldn’t be missed at the Palau de la Música, a temple of the muses that was designed by a disciple of Gaudí, Lluís Domenech i Montaner, in a colorful modernist style. Not only did he pay attention to the acoustics by building a horseshoe-shaped auditorium, but it is also richly adorned. The building itself is worth a visit.
In Flamenco you will see a performance by an individual artist who uses body movements and is accompanied by the deep sound of the guitar and the emotion-filled voice of the singer that envelops us in a world of sweet defeat and loss.
If if you live nearby, you may want to rent apartments in Barcelona to enjoy this event on August 4.