Given that these countries we visit have a vibrant music scene, we’ve had pretty poor luck in actually taking any in. On multiple trips to Ireland and countless hours wandering around Temple Bar, I think I found one bar offering traditional Craich and it was too jammed to squeeze into.
We’ve been to Spain three times now and have yet to stumble upon a decent opportunity. Last year in Madrid, we looked at three different shows but the price is off-putting. The bigger tablaos off two dinner shows a night, and depending on the quality of the performers and how much they want to gouge the tourists, the cost ranges from 30 to 100€ per person. In general, these are not even good restaurants so $80 to $260 just seems like a lot of money for an average experience.
The Sevilla guidebooks pretty much presented the same offerings, although there were some that were a bit less costly, show and drinks only. We had a chat a couple of days ago at the local Flamenco museum, the Casa de Memoria and the young woman there felt that their show was the best. “Muy intimata” as she put it, only 100 guests. It sounded like our best option with a decent price and no drink/food expectations so we filed that thought away figuring a weeknight would be better than the weekend.
In the course of our Scripted Walk Day we happened upon another place, the aptly name Casa de La Guitarra. This one sounded much better, less than 30 guests, only $18 a head and two shows a night. That sounded much better, so last night after our trip to the ruins, we went out about 6PM hoping to find tickets for that night’s later performance. As it turned out our non-weekend strategy paid off, and we were able to secure tickets for the 7:30 performance and to reserve second row seats. Not that position mattered all that much, the room was perhaps 30×30 including the stage so the experience was bound to be much more “initmata.”
We killed an hour having a cup of coffee and watching two yogi on the square behind the cathedral. One was sitting on the end of a bamboo pole and the other was holding him up. Both were locked in a trance and for the life of me I cannot explain how it was being done.
The show began on time with a solo guitarist performing a couple of traditional Flamenco songs. He was next joined by a young man and they performed a couple of duets. Then a young woman came out and after an interesting explanation about how Flamenco represents the pain and horror of life, she began to dance. The singer clapped and sang along, and she turned into a whirlwind of claps, stomps and spins. It was breathtaking and very evocative of the struggle of living.
Following her performance, the singer and guitarist did a couple of other numbers and then the young woman reappeared in a new outfit, this time dancing in the style of Cadiz, Spain’s Atlantic port city. It was lighter and faster and her red and white outfit was ablaze under the lights. The entire performance lasted a little over an hour and was just great. We felt really lucky to finally have the opportunity to hear the music and see the dance, and doubly lucky to do it under such ideal conditions.
(One here, gallery posted later)
Today really turned out to be one of those rare Perfect Travel Days. Between the bus trip, the ruins and the Flamenco, there was nothing left to ask for. And what is the perfect end to the perfect day in Spain? Tapas of course.