If you imagined a postcard of Spain it would no doubt incorporate a flamenco scene. Passionate musicians playing their Spanish guitars while dancers stamp and sing! The music style is synonymous with the country.
The rumbas, bulerias, alegrias, soleas, and the acompañamiento (accompaniment) of the singers and dancers, hands rhythmically clapping, voices calling out, really set the stage for the romantic notion of Spain. When we listen to flamenco, its modulations and melismas, we are transported to old Arabian Spain with Islamic monochord songs. To the caves of Sacromonte opposite the imposing Alhambra…
Flamenco music is wrapped up in the history of Spain. Tracing its origin back to “Morisco” (Spanish Moors) roots in the southern regions, where Flamenco was born, it was consolidated as a musical genre in the 18th century in Andalusia. Its creation is also attributed to the gypsies and rapidly spread throughout the country by the nomadic Romani people. Originally arriving in Spain from India they travelled all over Europe. It is undoubtable that despite the mixture of different cultural and musical influences, flamenco comes from the people themselves as it documents their struggles and joys.
Flamenco has wound itself up in Spanish politics, and its popularity has gone through many ups and downs. It has been used as a tool to foster a Spanish identity as well in opposition to the government in protest songs.
Flamenco has since become popular all over the world, especially the United States and Japan. In 2010 UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The Toque, the Singing and the Dance are the main forms that flamenco uses to express itself.
Flamenco music is divided into songs or Palos. These are the various styles, and are classified by criteria such as rhythmic pattern, chord progression and geographic origin amongst others.
There are over 50 different palos! Some forms are danced while others are not. Some are performed only by men and others are reserved for women. The musical style of Flamenco, however, is still alive and well and so these traditional distinctions are breaking down, just as new ones emerge. The Farruca, for example, once a male dance, is now often performed by women too.
Because Flamenco has become an such icon of Spanish culture, it stands to reason that it has become romanticised and while many tourists expect beautiful dresses and foot stomping passion, not all Flamenco is performed on a stage with perfectly co-ordinated pieces. Flamenco is in the sound and stories expressed by the performers, a fierce glare here, a mournful tear there. It is an acquired taste.
Barcelona is considered one of the great capitals of flamenco. We have listed several places here that we recommend you visit.
Where to see Flamenco in Barcelona:
This place is one of the most important flamenco venues in Barcelona. In the heart of Ciutat Vella, next to the Liceu Theater, 23 Robadors, offers beautiful authentic flamenco shows. Expect sweat and tears, they open the floor to the crowd after shows for those that wish to jam into the small hours. On Tuesdays and Sundays the flamenco party starts at midnight. On Saturdays the group 23 Flamenco gives a unique and intimate show from 9:30 p.m. Make sure to check their current news on their facebook page.
The cost of the entrance is 3 EUR.
Performance times may differ due to Corona Virus but they are currently open.
The Flamenco Shows of the Tablao Cordobés
The Tablao Cordobés has managed to preserve the authenticity of flamenco and offers high quality shows with talented and internationally renowned artists. Andalusian in style, the tablao Cordobés is not very large, which allows you to appreciate the expression of the artists: pain, anger, love, jealousy … It is a great advantage to be so close to the artists in such an intimate setting. The performers transmit energy and passion through all the pores of the skin!
Respect and silence are the order of the day: you cannot eat or take photos (except for the last 10 minutes) during the show, to avoid distracting the artists in their improvisational moments. Each representation is unique.
The Show costs around € 45 and includes a drink. You can also opt for a show that includes dinner, which costs about € 79. Dinner is served before the performance and includes food based on typical Spanish dishes. Shows are performed every day at Las Ramblas 35, Raval (Liceu metro)
NOTE: Shows are currently only available from October 2020.
See flamenco at the Palau de la Música
The Palau de la Música is one of the most impressive buildings in the city. Designed by the great architect Domènech i Montaner, the Palau is one of the jewels of Catalan Modernism.
Luckily this place is still a sumptuous performance hall today. The program is very varied and flamenco shows are often scheduled. You can undoubtably enjoy a performance of exceptional standard!
Currently the Gran Gala Flamenco, a work directed by Juan Gómez has been cancelled due to Covid 19, but keep an eye on the program and wait to see when future Flamenco shows will be scheduled. This show performed by a dozen flamenco artists of the new Catalan generation combines music and dance with rhythm and passion in an environment that makes your heart skip a beat. For the exceptional setting, Flamenco shows (or any show) at the Palau de la Música should not be missed!
The Palacio del Flamenco, with its enormous capacity for 380 people, located in an old theater in the center of Barcelona was transformed in 2006 into a space dedicated to the art of Flamenco.
They offer 3 shows every day! So you will surely be able to book a seat! From 6.30pm to 11.30pm.
The shows are professional with a focus on dancing and singing. Perhaps not as authentic as the smaller more intimate performances in smaller venues. Due to its size it’s a great way to experience the postcard of Spain, which some may prefer. And if you have limited time in Barcelona, this might be exactly what you require! If you are looking for a show where you are close enough to feel the heat and see the sweat on the musicians and performers, this may not be the place for you.
Tickets go for around € 35 (show and drink), € 15 for children between 2 and 12 years old
Find them at c/Balmes, 139; metro: Provença
NOTE: The Palacio del Flamenco is temporarily closed due to Covid 19
Flamenco with LosTarantos
The oldest Flamenco tablao in Barcelona, their venue hidden in a corner of Placa Reial in the center of Barcelona is a great place to enjoy a drink and watch a Flamenco show. They say their stage has welcomed some of the most important flamenco figures of the last century and “it continues to feature authentic flamenco spectacles based on improvisation, programming both big names in the flamenco world and up and coming artists from the local and national scenes.” Currently closed, we hope they reopen soon!
If you are interested in studying Flamenco guitar, you can take an online course with us or in our studios in Barcelona! Our fantastic teachers are experts at explaining the fundamentals and soon you can jam with the pros at 23 Robadors!
Music was born to be shared; to touch the hearts of the people who play and enjoy it. When we listen to a piece of music, we probably don’t think about how important the collaborative effort made by each different musician is, but focus on the how the music comes together. Playing in a group, and creating music together, is another very enjoyable form of social interaction.
The combination of several musicians or instrumentalists, who form a musical group is commonly referred to as a “combo, ensemble or musical ensemble or band”. Regardless of the style played, any combo could include vocals, drums, guitar, and bass. Often other instruments come into the mix too, and often certain instrument combos are used to play certain musical styles.
At Shine, the members of a band learn to create a relaxed musical environment with each other in which everyone contributes something. The main objective of a combo, we would say then, is to learn to play in a group, recognising the other instruments that are played in addition to your own, and always having fun. It is very important to know the role of each member of the group. Over time the musicians will create and consolidate a repertoire of themes in various musical styles.
Whether you are beginning to understand the instrument you are studying or if you have a little more musical experience, participating in a combo will always help enhance your skills, apply the acquired knowledge such as technique, reading music, musical memory and improvisation, and learn to work in a team.
Shine School of Music has vast experience in teaching various musical instruments to people of all ages and musical levels. The group classes, and especially the Combos, are coordinated by our teacher David Marroquín, who throughout his musical career has collaborated in various international orchestras. Today he offers us an exclusive interview about his musical origins and tells us about the peculiarities of studying in a combo.
David studied classical bass in Mexico, and later completed his specialisation in Jazz at the Conservatorio del Liceo de Barcelona. If you want to know more details about one of our most talented teachers, keep reading below:
What was the first thing that got you interested in music?
At home when I was little, together with my brothers and cousins at family gatherings on Sundays we played “shows”. We would take rackets or baseball bats like guitars and put together a drum set with boxes and stuffed animals. The children “played” and the cousins danced to the rhythm of the hits of the time.
Who inspired you to make music? Any famous musician you admire?
My parents. My mother played the piano. And my father played guitar and sang. When I was about 7 years old together with my older brother we were part of the children’s choir of the church. A few years later I showed interest in drums and my parents were able to sign me up for classes. At the age of 13 I discovered bass and… “I saw the light” hehe.
Musicians I admire… J.S. Bach among the classics.
If we’re talking about bassists… James Jamerson, the bassist for Motown Records.
Where does your passion for bass come from? And with whom did you study this instrument?
At school together with some friends we formed a band of which I was the drummer. We had no bass player. There was another friend who also played drums and I thought I could switch to bass “for the good of the band.” At first I didn’t like it at all, it seemed like a “simple and boring” instrument. But before long I fell in love with the instrument.
I studied electric bass with Carlos González, Azael Escobedo, Alejandro Reynoso, and Hernán González. Great musicians from my hometown (Monterrey, Mexico). And classic double bass with Boyko Nonov.
In Barcelona I studied with Jordi Ruiz and master classes with Garry Willis.
What is the musical style that you enjoy the most?
For Listening … various styles.
For Playing … what I enjoy the most is funk, soul, contemporary gospel, and Latin jazz.
What do you think is the great advantage of creating group music?
Well, it’s usually more fun. It’s a different form of social interaction. New friendships can be created. It’s motivating.
Where can we enjoy good presentations of small bands or jazz combos in Barcelona (and in Spain)?
Places like the Jamboree, Milano Jazz Club, Big Bang, Robardors, Marula Café, Soda Bar, Sinestesia, Harlem.
How would you define the Combos courses that are created at the Shine School of Music?
For most of the students who join the combo it is the first time that they play in a group and it is normal for them to feel insecure. First, the student has to be relaxed, without pressure, without fear of making mistakes. You try to create this atmosphere. Choose music that is to everyone’s taste, and not too complicated. This will depend on the level of the members of course. The goal in the end is to have fun. In English the word “play” is used to describe both playing a game and playing an instrument. When I play an instrument, I like to think that I am really going to play and have fun.
How important is learning to play in a group for anyone who plays an instrument?
Playing in a group reinforces learning. It is motivating. It helps build your confidence as well as confidence as a group. It is where you can “get out” what you have been practicing and trying to internalise alone, and then free yourself and enjoy playing. Try new things. Learn to listen and respect the other members of the group.
What positive experiences does the Combo class generate, taking into account that the students have not been playing together for a long time?
Teamwork and sense of accomplishment. A song is chosen. Students generally go to their instrument class (if that is the case) and teachers help them learn their part. Then for the next kind of combo, the song or piece begins to be assembled. The support and help of the instrument teachers make the ensemble easier.
Any advice or tips for those who want to enter the world of music, and be part of a Combo?
To be part of a combo, to play and have fun, it is first necessary to invest time in learning an instrument to the level that allows you to start playing with more people. Have a little patience and avoid frustrations. Enjoy the learning process. When you play with your first band you will see that it has been worth it.
Go ahead and sign up for your favorite instrument classes or a group class here:
It’s the start of a new school year here in Spain, and at the Shine School of Music in Barcelona we are offering a fresh new group courses in music! After a long summer, now’s your chance for a new beginning! If you ever wanted to start singing or playing an instrument, don’t let “later” becomes “never”, start your musical journey now!
Group lessons are beneficial in that they provide a chance to those who may find shelling out for the private music lessons a bit of an economic burden. Besides being a great way to learn music in a fun environment, group lessons are also a super way to make new friends, all the while learning a new skill!
Shine Music School is running group lessons in the following:
All of these lessons are 4 hours a month, in 4 one hour classes, 1 class each week. You can check out our schedule for the time slots. Each of the lessons is facilitated by a professional music teacher. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the school to find out more!
Besides these fixed group lessons, the Shine Music School also provides the option to arrange your own private group lessons. So if you and bunch of your friends or family would like to get together to learn an instrument or to sing, we can provide a flexible schedule, a talented teacher and great prices!
Let your musical journey begin!
If you don´t have your own instrument, not to worry, we can provide one for your first lesson and we also sell and rent both guitars and ukuleles!
João Silva has arranged, and performed both the violin and keyboard for this beautiful and haunting new musical piece called The Glass Man as part of his Still Life work. He collaborated with Margherita Abita on Vocals/Lyrics, Claudio Marrero on Saxophone, Eva Monroy, Violeta Veinte on violin, Francisco Palazón on Viola and Anna Llorens on Cello. The music video was Recorded and Mixed by Still Life music. With Mastering by Pau Andreu and Camera by Mar Gabarre.
Pianos are one of the most loved and popular instruments in the world. Their wooden cases and keys romantised in films and popular culture, their unique sound can be heard in concert halls, schools and on the radio. Besides being instantly recognised, pianos are also quite cumbersome. They take up room, are very heavy and solid instruments, and when they are not taken care of, they tend to fall out of tune. You would think that with modern living in smaller and smaller apartments that expensive pianos worldwide would be gathering dust in corners and forgotten about.
But with technological advances the piano has been making a comeback in the form of the digital piano. Just imagine! An electronic keyboard that has been developed to both sound and feel like a real acoustic piano. A keyboard that you can travel with, a keyboard that could be stored in a corner of a room, taking up far less room than it’s older cousin, the acoustic upright piano.
Indeed with innovations such as weighted keys, DSP and “sampling”, digital pianos are able to mimic acoustic pianos so well that they are now sought after by professional pianists. You can even practice with headphones and plug your piano into a speaker or computer to record your musical progress or share your playing on your social media accounts. The digital piano has taken pianos into the 21st century, and with piano proven to be the leading instrument to build cognitive and emotional skills, piano playing is here to stay!
At Shine we offer fantastic courses for the budding pianist, and our skilled professional teachers are ready to encourage your musical journey as well as guide you through different techniques and skills. No matter what level you are, we can offer you new and challenging ways in which to enjoy your piano and music! At Shine we sell and rent both Digital and Acoustic Pianos in Barcelona. Feel free to get in touch with us!