On Monday, I went to La Carbonería with my friend, Maggie. La Carbonería is a local, hole-in-the-wall bar that is known for its flamenco shows. They have shows every night, but according to my señora, Mondays are the best nights to go. Although I had been to La Carbonería two weeks prior, we arrived late and were not able to see very well given the large crowd that had already gathered. But, on Monday, we got there right when the first show started and were able to get seats very close to the small stage.
It was so neat to experience such a key part of the Spanish culture first-hand, especially since we have been talking about flamenco and its origins in one of my classes. For those of you that don’t know, flamenco is a combination of singing, dancing, and guitar playing. So, there were three people on stage throughout both shows:
The emphasis of the first show was definitely on the dancing. The woman was very talented and since we were so close to the stage, I really got to appreciate her fancy footwork. I want to take a flamenco class while I’m here through the university (even though I know I will trip over my feet a million times given my clumsy tendencies). The second show was almost all singing and although I couldn’t understand all of the lyrics, the emotion wrapped up in the song made the meaning relatively easy to grasp. That’s what I love about flamenco: the emotion that is conveyed from the singer/dancer to the audience is so powerful. Maggie and I were sitting next to a family from South America and we asked them occasionally what some of the words in the song were, but even these Spanish speakers admitted to not being able to understand the lyrics.
One of the couples that was sitting at a table close to us left at the very beginning of the show and left all of their tapas, including their acetunas (olives). I’ve grown quite fond of acetunas since I got here, so Maggie went over to their table and grabbed a few of them for us to eat. When she brought them back, the family next to us asked us to bring the entire plate over so we could all dig in. I guess I haven’t left my mooching habits behind in the states. In fact, my señora calls me pajarito (little bird) because I always go into the kitchen for little mooches in between meals…no shame?
After the show, we walked through the city with a mother and daughter who were brought on stage as “guest” flamenco dancers”:
The daughter studied abroad in L.A. this summer, so she wanted to practice her English with us while we wanted to practice our Spanish. So, we talked in Spanish while she responded in English. We were all too stubborn to talk in our first language 🙂
I took a video of one of the song/dances, but I can’t figure out how to upload it. So, I will leave you with a youtube video of one of the songs we heard:
Happy Hump Day!