It was Easter 2013, we were on a tour of Andalusia and had caught the Flamenco bug.  Our first experience had been in a cosy basement bar in Granada.  The place was rammed and the atmosphere was electric.  When we hit Seville, the home of Flamenco we knew we’d have to hunt out another show.  We did our research and found that
La Carbonería had the best Flamenco in town.  Sneshka and I booked our table on the front row in the afternoon, then had a pleasant time wandering the narrow streets and tapas bars of pretty Seville.

We got to the show early, the place was heaving.  La Carbonería was a labyrinthine sprawling mess of a venue, I loved it immediately.  They served the cerveza by the jug, and the service was quick.  As we took our front row seats we were excited about the show.

We had not accounted for the dancer, she appeared on the stage like a ball of silent rage.  Around six foot and pushing 110kg, she was your worst nightmare in a dress.  The bar was buzzing with drunk tourists, the chatter loud.  The masses were silenced with a look of pure hatred and a blood curdling hiss.  The show begins.

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Flamenco has three forms of expression, toque (guitar), cante (song) and most famously baile (dance).  To watch the best Flamenco is an emotionally involving and intoxicating experience.  The show starts gently enough with spiralling finger picking guitar and maudlin cante before the songs climax with an explosion of baile.  Tonights show had two timid señors  providing the toque and cante and the formidable señora providing the baile.

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In the beginning all was calm, the two señors led the way whilst she was seated, on her face etched a toxic scowl.  As the rhythms of toque and cante intensified so did the hand claps of singer and dancer.  The first eruption was toward the end of the first set.  As the music escalated in a whirl of rapid hand claps, she leapt forward.  As her feet pounded the floor, our cervezas shook and danced on the table.  This terrifying lady was making beautiful Flamenco shapes.  Limbs and dress were flying and vicious glares given, to anyone who dared to distract whilst the show was in swing.  We could feel her feet pounding and smell her bovine breath!

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The climax came when in a frenzy of baile, the Dancer gave Sneshka a hefty kick!

The show was over!

We were worn out and black and blue!

Andrew

Sharp Edge Photo

 

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