18 January 2006

Flamenco with an attitude

La Carbonería The night after I returned from Jerez, I met some friends from the language school at a flamenco bar in Santa Cruz called La Carbonería. The entrance to the bar was an unmarked glossy red door on a narrow backstreet, that opened into a small room with a fireplace...

Further in was a larger room full of long picnic tables, with a small stage across the front. That's where I ran into Tom, from Ireland. Like me, he was in Spain because he had recently become redundant. He had decided to spend some of his severance pay on a trip somewhere warmer than Ireland, where he could live cheaply for a few weeks. He was in a much more advanced Spanish class than me, but was kind La Carbonería enough to talk to me in English. La Carbonería is also where I met Alice (pronounced Ah-lee-chay), from Italy, for the first time. She was the first person I met in Spain whose Spanish I was able to understand. Even though I didn't know how to respond in Spanish, I was really excited just to be able to understand most of what she was saying.

Shortly after we got a drink and sat down, the show started. It was sort of like open mic night, where aspiring flamenco artists got a chance to perform. There were La Carbonería three performers: a singer, guitarist, and dancer. They were actually pretty good, but the dancer wasn't happy with the level of attention they were being paid by the audience. She spent most of the night shushing everyone, trying to get them to listen.

Sure, the audience should have been more respectful of the performers, but it was a bar after all, full of young locals and tourists. As the night went on, people drank more and got even louder. And the louder they got, the more shushing she did. Finally, after performing off & on for several hours, and getting progressively less respect from the audience, she finally stormed off the stage.

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