What an extraordinary experience Tablao El Arena was – it took my breathe away. This is not music you play in the background for a dinner party, this is passion and pain undiluted and yearning for release.
Much like a Karanga or a Haka in New Zealand, or a Negro Spiritual – it seems to me that it sums up the deep longing and desire of a people to be free. You feel it in your stomach and it touches your heart and you are drawn into the experience to share it and wonder at it.
The Lonely Planet had an great intro to Flamenco that made me realise that in its purest and most traditional form it is a long cry from the gentle background guitar music that I enjoy or even from the sexual charged Tango we see on Dancing with the Stars.
Not that there is anything wrong with these forms, but we were keen to touch the energy of its more original form. On the advice of others we booked into Tablao El Arenal in central Seville. There was a show at 8pm and one at 10pm and you could arrive early and dine or have tapas. We have still not got used to eating at 10pm spanish time, so booked the early show. Our tapas and show meal cost E55 per person and was worth every penny.
Flamenco is a trinity of arts – song, dance and music that developed first among the Roma people in Andalucia, with influences from India. The original form was Cante Jondo – a tortured lament that grew from their marginalisation.