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Dear travelers, welcome back to our weekly suggestion to discover the hidden gems of Barcelona together! 

Today, we invite you on a different kind of adventure, as the destination of our journey will not be a physical place. Using the words of the renowned Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, ‘Our destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing’. This sentence perfectly captures the essence of travel, which lies not in the places we visit, but in the transformation of our individual perceptions, allowing us to see the world with fresh eyes and uncover the beauty that lies beneath the surface of each place or situation we are in. 

As you stroll through Barcelona, you might encounter people dancing joyfully in the squares, especially on Sunday afternoons. This spontaneous celebration may make you wonder if there’s a special occasion, but no particular reason is needed to dance in Barcelona. Here, you will learn that the simple joy of being alive is reason enough. By embracing this new perspective, you’ll discover how to appreciate every moment. Music and dance are woven into the fabric of Spanish culture, expressing emotions, celebrating life, and preserving cultural heritage.

In this vibrant city, every step becomes a beat, and every movement a melody, guiding you along a path where the symphony of existence plays out in vivid hues.

#Tip6: Experience the magic of Flamenco

Flamenco is an iconic emblem of Spanish music and culture, recognized by UNESCO as part of the World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. This complex art form blends poetry, singing, guitar playing, rhythmic hand clapping, foot stamping, finger-snapping, and dance. Originating in Andalusia, it quickly spread across Spain, becoming the nation’s most iconic dance.

The roots of flamenco are still mysterious, but the most probable option connects this dance’s origin with the Roma Migration from Rajasthan (in northwest India) to Spain between the 9th and 14th centuries. In Spain, these migrants encountered the rich musical and cultural traditions of the Jews and the Moors. The intertwining of their centuries-long cultural heritage is supposed to have produced flamenco’s uniqueness.

Flamenco songs can be divided into 3 different categories: Cante Jondo, Cante intermedio, and Cante chico. The first typology is characterized by a powerful emotional charge, and its lyrics deal with death, anguish, despair, or religious doubt. The intermediate song is a hybrid version of Flamenco music that incorporates elements of Spanish music styles, particularly the fandango. The last typology is simpler in rhythm than the previous ones and deals with happy subjects of love with less emotional investment. The intense emotional charge that characterizes Cante Jondo, Flamenco’s most typical version, finds its roots in the pain and sense of persecution felt by the Gitanos, Moors, and Jews during the Reconquista. 

During a flamenco performance, dancers interpret the song’s rhythm with intricate, improvised steps using their feet, hands, and fingers. Their expressive facial movements convey the deep emotions of the lyrics, making the dancer the storyteller of the performance.

This strong emotional connection is said to make the dancer enter a state of duende – “an intensely focused, trancelike condition of profound emotion”. Lorca described this music as ‘los sonidos negros’: the dark sounds overtaking the performer’s body. This extraordinary state that allows artists to tap into the depths of their emotions and experiences is intensified by rhythmic hand clapping and supportive shouts (jaleo) from fellow performers. For Gitano flamenco artists in a state of duende the dancer connects deeply with both the audience and God.

Don’t miss the opportunity to go and see a Flamenco show. Let the power and magnetism of this art form transport you, allowing you to experience your own duende and connect with the rich tapestry of Spanish culture and life.

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