Whether you’re interested in learning more about the cultural heritage of Spain or you’re just looking to have a different night out in Barcelona, flamenco is a mandatory stop on your journey. If you are still new to the culture and have no idea what we’re talking about, don’t worry, we’ll explain.
The musical genre
Just like with Portugal’s fado and America’s country and blues, flamenco is a very important part of Spain’s cultural identity. Native to the regions of Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia, flamenco started as a musical and theatrical representation of local traditions. Deriving its name from “fire” or “flame”, its singer and dancer is generally a woman (although there are exceptions to that rule) dressed in vibrant colours. Its instrumental backdrop is provided by guitarists and percussionists.
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If you’re a musician who wants to explore the genre and take part in flamenco jam sessions in Barcelona, this section is particular important. There is a role for you in flamenco if you’re a singer and dancer (you’d probably need some new items on your wardrobe, though), a guitarist or a percussionist. If you’re new to the genre, it’s easier to jump right in if you play an instrument.
Spanish guitar – The most important instrument in flamenco music, it utilises the Andalusian scale to give the pieces their unique mood and character. It’s used as both a base for the singing and a soloist instrument.
Cajón – This six-sided wooden box with a whole in the middle was first introduced to flamenco by the legendary Paco de Lucia in the 70s. Percussionists, who sit on it, play a rhythm by slapping the front of the box with their fingers and hands. Originally from Peru, it continues to become more and more popular, in part due to how easy it is to integrate in a flamenco jam session.
Castanets – One of the foundations of Spanish folklore, Castanets consist of a pair of concave shells tied together by a string. Performers wrap them around their thumbs and use the rest of their fingers to clap the shells, producing the percussion sounds characteristic of flamenco.
Interested in checking out a flamenco jam session in Barcelona? We know a place…
You should know that flamenco clubs are no fancy nightclubs, which is part of the experience. Located in the Barcelona neighbourhood of El Raval, 23 Robadors consists of a small 20 square metre room, where musicians and spectators come together to experience the unique intimacy of flamenco. Choose your side – are you into hypnotizing or being hypnotized? Whether your instrument of choice is a guitar or your ears, we highly recommend that you experience this environment at least once while you’re staying in Barcelona.
Address – Robador nº23, in the neighbourhood of El Raval (in the Ciutat Vella district). You can easily get there by using the green line of the metro, exiting at “Liceu”.
Schedule – Flamenco jam sessions take place on Sundays around 9 pm, but make sure to check their full weekly schedule because there’s a lot more cool stuff going on at the place.
Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you wrapped those castanets around your fingers yet? Make sure to come back after you witness a flamenco jam session in Barcelona (or take part in one) and tell us all about your experience by using the comment box below.