A journey through the Flamenco culture in Seville
  • Europe /
  • Spain /
  • Seville

Seville is one of those places capable of bringing back tradition, celebration, dance, art, sensuality and history.

(by Ajay Suresh, CC BY 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)

(by Ajay Suresh, CC BY 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)

Flamenco originated and developed in Andalusia, mainly in a triangle of land between Seville, Córdoba and Cadiz, where in the past, the greatest influx of gipsy populations was recorded. The exact origin of the term ‘flamenco’ has never been established. There are various and curious hypotheses about its etymological root, but probably the closest to reality is derived from the Arabic words “felao” and “mengu”, which come close to meaning: wandering peasant.

What is certain is that flamenco originates from the combination of different cultures and is an artistic expression of the Romani population on the fringes of society, who make use of this artistic expression (dance), usually to be performed in a family environment, as a lament and an outlet for the persecution they have suffered over the centuries. The Romani people, apparently originating from a region of Pakistan, began their displacements following conflicts within their own country towards the West, searching for freedom, tranquillity and a fixed abode.

Over the centuries, part of this population, after several arduous voyages and attempts to settle in different countries, finally found a place and settled in this region of Spain, in Andalusia. Here they expressed their desire to free themselves from the pain and suffering of the past through music and songs. 

Flamenco is not just a simple dance, but as we have said, it is a lament, a challenge, expressed in four inseparable elements: the guitar, the Jaleo, i.e. the clapping of hands and feet, the shouts of encouragement and the singing. It deals with fundamental themes of life, fatigue, death, loneliness, misery and represents in a profoundly artistic way the emotions of a person, a people or a situation. The dance is performed on simple wooden platforms called “Tablao”, where the tapping of the feet is amplified to emphasise the dance’s cadence. It is a unique way of expressing oneself with intensity and art defined by a term: the “duande”. This word has no precise definition but is a set of sensations artistically represented.  Garcia Lorca describes it masterfully in his treatise “Teoria y juego del duende”. Over time, the dance acquired from a strictly family form to refined and professional evolutions, confronting an actual and broader audience.

Following the example of variety shows in nightclubs throughout Europe in the last century, venues dedicated to Flamenco were created in Andalusia. These places usually consisted of a single, large hall meticulously decorated to create an atmosphere of luxury and elegance: the “cafés cantantes”.

The emergence of these venues detracted from the naturalness the family intimacy of Flamenco, but at the same time, made it known to the public, to a greater number of people, and increased its development and spread throughout Spain and obviously with the greatest concentration in Andalusia in Seville, Cadiz, Jerez, Puerto Santa Maria, Malaga and Granada.

The most important international flamenco event takes place every two years, the Bienal Flamenco, where the highest level and professionalism can be admired. An art that has been declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.


1. Triana

2. “Triana al arte Flamenco” monument

3. Flamenco Museum

4. Santa Cruz