Flamenco music, a universal art
Flamenco is a complex musical genre that combines different styles known as “palos del flamenco”: all of them unique and well differentiated. Today there are more than 50 variations, including sevillanas, bulerías, fandango, alegrías and soleás, among others.
Each one of these flamenco styles has a common structure and a fixed part but also a variable part, where improvisation and the flamenco artist’s own touch prevails.
It is for this reason that flamenco doesn’t understand about limits or ethnicities. The cultural mix and styles that characterize it has made it endure over time making it an art recognized not only in Spain, but internationally.
The fact that there are tablaos flamencos in capitals such as Tokyo and that flamenco artists are applauded in places as different as the Olympia in Paris or the clubs on 42nd Street in New York, is just prove that flamenco art has managed to overcome the barriers between countries and continents thanks to its universal nature. It is a way to express feelings that can reach everyone. It is easy to find flamenco shows in Barcelona and today we want to explain why.
What’s the origin of flamenco?
Although it is true that flamenco originated in the 18th century, around 1770, there are different theories regarding how it was born.
The most established hypothesis is that it was generated in Andalusia thanks to the coexistence and mixture of different ethnic groups and cultures: the gypsies who arrived in Spain around the 15th century, the Jews, the local people, the immigrant Castilians and the Muslims. In addition, it also has an African and Caribbean influence due to the black Africans who crossed Andalusia and the Caribbean who emigrated to Spain.
For this reason, flamenco is considered much more than a genre, it is an artistic expression that includes different cultural features.
Although it began in the 18th century, it was not until the middle of the 20th century that tablaos flamencos, the places for improvisation, creation and expression of this art, appeared. These were an evolution of the so-called Cafés, spaces open to the public where people gathered to offer flamenco shows.
You might be interested in: What’s a tablao flamenco? Discover its history
See also: The origin of the flamenco box drum
Why is Flamenco in Barcelona so typical? Flamenco’s history in Catalonia
Flamenco art arrived in Catalonia at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th thanks to the artistic contributions of icons such as Chacón or El Mellizo, among others. Although Barcelona was one of the main cities in which this art was established, it also reached to other areas such as Tarragona, Lleida and Girona.
The reasons for the creation and expansion of flamenco in Barcelona were diverse:
Settlement of Catalan gypsies. Due to the industrialization of the city, Barcelona was filled with immigrants but also with cafés and shows with Spanish roots.
Groups of Catalan artists emerged, leaving behind a patrimony of great artistic value as they expressed in their works a special interest in everything related to flamenco and Andalusia.
The area where Barcelona was located. After all, it is a portuary city open to different cultures.
These 3 facts made Barcelona, together with other cities such as Seville and Madrid, become one of the most important cities of the movement known as “flamenquismo”, and a great opportunity for the great flamenco artists to thrive.
However, not everything has been easy. At the end of the 19th century the Reinaxensa emerged; a movement that promoted the preservation of Catalan traditions as opposed to those coming from outside. This new movement helped to maintain and protect Catalan culture, preventing it from being forgotten little by little, due to past repression. However, flamenco culture had reached Catalonia so strongly that at the beginning of the 20th century it began to convert to flamenquismo.
How the rumba catalana is introduced into flamenco art
Other styles arise from the flamenco genre, such as the rumba catalana, direct heir of the Cuban guaracha.
The rumba catalana comes from the rumba flamenca, a musical style that was originated thanks to the commercial exchange that took place between the ports of Havana and regions in southern Spain such as Cadiz or Seville. As a result of this relationship, they not only shared different provisions but also rhythms, songs and dances that ended up being an essential part of the art of flamenco.
The rumba thrived in Catalonia thanks to the gypsy communities of Barcelona. These communities began to incorporate Cuban elements into the rumba flamenca , together with influences of rock and roll during the late 50s and early 60s, when artists such as Antonio Gonzalez “El Pescaílla”, Josep Maria Valentí “El Chacho” or Peret became the greatest exponents of this new style popularly known as Catalan rumba.
From there on, other world-renowned artists appeared, like the Gipsy Kings, who managed to expand the rumba internationally and lately the well-known singer Rosalía, who has popularized the rumba around the world making it a true viral phenomenon thanks to the modernization and inclusion of her own style.
Check out: 5 Fascinating facts about Flamenco
Come to Palau Dalmases to see an authentic tablao flamenco in Barcelona
As you know, at Palau Dalmases we offer flamenco shows every day performed by great artists with a vast career, who have performed in a large number of tablaos in Spain and overseas.
If you are visiting Barcelona or if you want to make a different plan, going to see a flamenco show is a “must” not to be missed. You will be able to live a unique artistic experience, be very close to the best bailaores, cantaores and tocaores and get to know the historic Palau Dalmases, a beautiful 17th century Baroque palace.
It is not us who say it, but the people who visit us daily in Palau Dalmases. If you want to know a second, a third and up to a hundred other opinions read the reviews about our flamenco show in Barcelona.