When I get invited to a tablao (a flamenco show) I go with a little fear and trepidation. You very well might be in for a little melodramatic tap dancing; a few bloodcurdling shouts; and a heavy dose of trite Spanish folklore, a noisy parody of Carmen´s Andalusia. This is definitely not what you get at El Cordobés, Barcelona´s best and one of the three best-known and serious tablaos in all of Spain.
El Cordobés is a five-minute walk down the Ramblas from the Hotel Principal. Last night we sat down with Maria Rosa Adame, the current owner and director, for an informal interview. Flamenco is in her blood; El Cordobés was opened in 1970 by her guitarist father, Luis; and her dancer mother, Irene Alba. In the dining room Maria Rosa explained that the locale is decorated with original tiles, floors, and ceilings which are copies of Arabic elements in Granada´s Alhambra. The actual stage (the tablao) recreates the intimacy, improvization, interraction, and charm of the traditional tablaos.
The artists are from among the best in Spain: legendary artists such as Camaron de la Isla have performed there. The show is a nice mix of the classical cante jondo and dance styles with some modern innovations.
You don´t usually think of Catalonia when you think of flamenco music and dancing. But actually, as Maria Rosa explains, the flamenco/gypsy tradition in Barcelona dates back to the 19th century. The immortal dancer Carmen Amaya is among the many famous artists from Barcelona.
And flamenco is definitely alive and well in Barcelona.
Categories: What to do in Barcelona