When researching I’m always a little wary of experiences showcasing the local culture. The main worry is about authenticity. I’m definitely keen to avoid something akin to an adult version of visiting Father Christmas with everything perfectly manufactured to keep the little tourists happy! So when tasked with visiting La Casa Del Flamenco, directly translated as “The House of Flamenco”, I was more than a little sceptical but I needn’t have worried.
From the moment the “bailaora” (the female dancer) took to the stage I was completely captivated. An explosion of passion and raw energy was created not just by the bailaora but the accompanying “cantaor” (male singer), the thumping guitar rhythm, and the tapping feet and clapping hands of the other performers. For the next hour, I was simply mesmerised as each performer took centre stage to show off their talents. From the cantaor doing their solo to the “toque” (guitar), they never failed to provide the type of electric performance that left my hair standing on end.
Flamenco has a slightly mysterious origin with many of the details of its development lost in history. However, it is certain that it originated in Andalusia between the 8th and the 15th centuries when Spain was under Arab domination. Their music and musical instruments were modified and adapted by Christians and Jews, and later by gypsies. When witnessing Flamenco you can almost hear all the influences battle to be heard, from the synagogue chants, gypsy beats, and West African rhythms to the Andalusian orchestras of the Islamic Empire. And this is exactly what makes Flamenco so special and truly unique.
The stage at La Casa Del Flamenco is perfect in its simplicity, offering the ideal intimate setting. With seating for around 60 people, everyone is almost within touching distance of the performers. Photography isn’t allowed until the end of the performance allowing everyone to get lost in the emotional intensity of this magical spectacle. Each performer has their own “set” enabling you to marvel at their exceptional talent and ensuring that your attention never waivers. With 2-3 shows a night, typically lasting about an hour, it is very easy and convenient to fit into an evening before or after dinner.
Having experienced many disappointing cultural spectacles over the years, primarily motivated by making a quick, easy buck from the unsuspecting visitor who is just looking to learn and experience the local culture, it is easy to forget how important it is to treasure and share our respective traditions. This was a truly unforgettable experience and comfortably one of our favourite live performances to date. We do the research so you don’t have to, ensuring you only see the exceptional and that you only get the Father Christmas experiences in Lapland, where they belong!
Written by James Chisnall, Untravelled Paths