Flamenco in Barcelona

Everything you need to know to book a show

The history of the gypsy song and dance in Barcelona, along with the best tablaos for catching a live show.

Flamenco – with its passionate cantes, gypsy guitars and flamboyant dresses and castanets – is the first thing that springs to mind when one thinks of Spanish culture (apart from maybe a spot of bullfighting, although that “sport” is banned in Catalonia). And although this lusty, life-affirming art form originated in Southern Spain, in Andalusia, Barcelona has its own close association with flamenco: after all it was here that the star-crossed lovers Juana La Zoronga and Rafael El Taranto fell in love in the famous Somorrostro shanty town and danced their way through the city in the hit 1963 musical Los Tarantos. The Somorrostro was destroyed in the 1980s to make way for the Olympic Games – although interestingly it was the real birth place of Carmen Amaya, a dancer and singer of Romani origin who starred in Los Tarantos.

Flamenco has its origins in the folk music of Spain and was influenced by Spanish, gypsy and Moorish instruments and styles. The art form matured in the 19th Century when it enjoyed its so-called golden era and was performed in cafés cantantes around Spain. The medium consists of all three of song, music and dance, with the traditional view stating that flamenco began as a style of singing (cante), and later these songs were accompanied by guitar (toque), hand-clapping (palmas), foot-stomping (zapateado) and finally dance (baile). Some modern flamenco shows in Barcelona even contain an aspect of theatre, so that they become almost operatic or balletic performances.

Flamenco has its origins in the folk music of Spain and was influenced by Spanish, gypsy and Moorish instruments and styles.

The attraction of flamenco lies in its intense emotion, evoked in the songs and first-time goers will be surprised how soul-stirring (not to mention noisy!) the simple use of hand-clapping, foot-stomping and acoustic guitar can be, especially when these accompaniments build up to a blistering crescendo. Whilst the musical aspects of flamenco – sometimes tragic and dirge-like, other times light and humorous – arrest the ears, the dances meanwhile beguile the eyes: female artists perform sinuous arm movements and coquettish swirls of their shawls and dresses to stir the passions, whilst the men stomp and scowl, at one time spinning like a ballerina, at others striking imperious stances, much like a macho bullfighter commanding an entire arena!

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Live Flamenco Shows in Barcelona

There are a host of sensational tablaos in Barcelona offering some of the best live flamenco shows in Spain, and if you’re set on witnessing the passion of a performance you’re in the right city. And whereas the traditional gypsy concert was a small and ad hoc affair, often with no telling when it would begin or end (if the artists even remembered to turn up at all!) things are a bit more professional these days. Most of the flamenco venues in Barcelona offer two or three shows a night, with the option to enjoy an in-house meal before the live performance.

In essence these tablaos cater more for tourists than locals, but this is not necessarily a bad thing at all as it enables people to experience an important part of the cultural history of Spain. Meanwhile the concerts that take place in Barcelona are of the very highest order anywhere in the country. Generally speaking it’s a good idea to buy tickets at least a bit in advance, as the most popular flamenco shows will be sold out during summer.

Flamenco Show & Dinner
Enjoy either a concert and a drink, or a show with dinner, at one of the city’s most famous tablaos. Three performances take place every night at an impressive refurbished theatre from the 1920s, and dinner options include Spanish paella (the legendary seafood dish from down the road in Valencia), or a rich variety of tapas dishes. The tablao in question has generously offered a discount to all Barcelona Life readers which means prices begin at just 35 euros for concert ticket with complementary drink, and from 45 euros for performance with dinner. Click here for more details on all the available options. Or enquire right away via info@barcelona-life.com. Remember to let us know your preferred dates and how many people are coming.

Flamenco & Tapas Night
If you want to experience the magic of Spain’s most famous art form, but without paying tourist prices for the privilege, then this popular choice might be for you. Start the night by testing the country’s most famous tapas dishes – and there’s a lot of them – and then complete your Spanish-themed night with a trip to an authentic-style bar for a performance that will leave you in no doubt about the meaning of the mysterious ‘el duende‘ (soul, or spirit!) that permeates real flamenco! Click the link above for more info, or email info@barcelona-life.com. Price 35 euros.

Booked your space already and looking for other great things do in Barcelona? Then click here for some of our suggestions. Alternatively check out our concerts and gigs guide for other genres of music and where to hear them. Whatever you’re looking for in the capital of Catalonia we’ve got plenty of useful reading for you!

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