Embracing the Passion of Flamenco
There is nothing like a bit of travel to broaden the ear, so with that in mind a recent trip to Madrid had me seeking out a”tablao” for some flamenco. The place I ended up at was Corral de la Moreria.
Now, it is true that this particular establishment is a bit on the touristy side – not exactly the smokey, boozy den that I was initially hoping for. But the acts are at the top of the game. I know this for three reasons.
First, I saw them in action. Second, it says so in a book called “1,000 Places To See Before You Die”. Third – and most important – I went the next day to El Flamenco Vive, a non-tourist specialist shop and they told me that, yes, it was touristy, but that the acts were among the best to be found in the world. (As an aside, the shop has some of the finest Spanish guitars I have ever seen. I wanted one – but 4,000 euros, or $5,500 made me realise how good my current one is).
So on stage, we had four dancers, two guitarists, a percussionist and three singers. What stuck me was the pure unadulterated passion being expressed by the dancers and emotion pouring out of the singers. I was particularly taken by Belén López who managed to be an angry, passionate, sexy and liberated woman all in one. I am now a fan of the genre.
Back at El Flamenco Vive I bought a CD called “Chocolate con Niño Ricardo“. It turns out that Ricardo, who died in 1972, was considered among the best flamenco guitarists of his day, and that El Chocolate was Antonio Núñez Montoya, who died in 2005 after receiving numerous awards including a Grammy. So happy man, I am.
Thanks to the glories of YouTube, I can share both López in full flight and Chocolate and Ricardo doing their thing. But if you get to Spain, do look for somewhere. It is well worth it.