Flamenco in Seville: flamenco duende and purity
To talk about flamenco in Seville is to feel the vibration of the zapateado, the cantaor’s quejío (lament) breaking during a soleá, the bailaora’s sigh as she moves the mantoncillo (small shawl), the sound of the castanets.
Flamenco is an art that permeates not only Seville, but every corner of Andalusia: there are many neighborhoods that have seen the birth of great flamenco singers, houses that have been the scene of the best flamenco parties, festivals that honor established artists.
All this makes flamenco in Seville and Andalusia part of popular culture. Read on and travel with us through each Andalusian province and we will show you its relationship with flamenco.
Flamenco in Seville: Utrera, Lebrija and Morón
To say that Seville has been and is one of the cities in which flamenco has a leading role is an understatement. However, there are three main enclaves, apart from the capital, from which great flamenco artists have emerged: Utrera, Morón de la Frontera and Lebrija.
In Utrera, the family known as the “Pininis” has left its mark. The first patriarch, Fernando Peña Soto, nicknamed “Popá Pinini”, was born in Lebrija in 1863 but spent most of his life in Utrera, where he died. The family of the Peñas or the Pininis, danced and sang daily in the neighbourhoods of this Sevillian town, making flamenco their way of life.
Of their nine children, María Peña and Fernando la Vieja should be mentioned, although their grandchildren achieved fame: Fernanda and Bernarda de Utrera (Girls from Utrera), Pedro Bacán, Miguel el Funi and “El Cuchara“. The latter is considered one of the best flamenco artists of the 20th century.
Such was the personal style and the importance of “Popá Pinini”, that there are some cantiñas named after her, “Cantiñas del Pinini”.
As well as the Pinini, Enrique Montoya “Candela” and Gaspar de Perrate stand out, whose flamenco germ gave rise to the well-known Potaje Gitano de Utrera festival in 1957, which continues to the present day.
We move on to Lebrija, another of the key towns in the history of flamenco in Seville and the birthplace of great cantaores (flamenco singers). Among them, the one known as El Lebrijano, who was also the teacher of one of our flamenco singers, Lucas Ortega.
El Lebrijano comes from a lineage of flamenco singers. In fact, his mother, María “La Perrata” and his uncle “El Perrete”, were two great flamenco artists.
Another of Lebrijano’s great flamenco references is Concha Vargas, a dancer related to the Pinini family. She was a student of Pepe Ríos, who presented her as a child at the El Gazpacho flamenco festival, in Morón, before artists of the stature of Diego El Gastor, Antonio Mairena and Fernanda de Utrera.
Nowadays, Concha Vargas tours stages and academies almost anywhere in the world, taking her art and teaching her technique to everyone who wants to learn.
Besides being the birthplace of great artists, Lebrija celebrates every year its particular flamenco festival, the Caracolá, which this year celebrates its 55th anniversary.
And we arrive to Morón de la Frontera, a town where Diego “El Gastor” is well known. Although this flamenco guitar player was born in the province of Málaga, he spent a large part of his artistic career in this town in Seville, where he defined and spread his flamenco art.
It was there that he began to interact with Americans from the military base, and to be influenced by foreign contributions that gave the definitive touch to his music, especially from scholars like Donn E. Pohren, who owned an estate on the outskirts of the town and during whose flamenco parties and juergas he became known as a flamenco artist.
Later, the flamenco club of Los Llorones was founded and in 1963 the well-known flamenco festival Gazpacho Andaluz, one of the most emblematic and oldest in the province, began to be held.
After this brief tour through the towns of the Seville province, we arrived at the capital of Seville to enter the famous Triana district, birthplace and stage of great flamenco artists. It is here that flamenco was definitively established in Seville.
Triana, flamenco neighborhood in Sevilla
The first singing café was opened in Seville in 1885. It was then that this art found a new way of expression and opened up to the world. Flamenco in Seville had been confined to a family and intimate atmosphere, that is, it was danced and sung at weddings, meetings of friends and private parties.
Although Seville is one of the reference cities of flamenco, the truth is that it is in the Triana neighbourhood where it became great. Figures such as the flamenco singer El Fillo, who lived in the neighbourhood from 1829 until his death, were one of those who consolidated flamenco in Seville.
Triana has been the scene of great flamenco families that have left their mark, like the “Caganchos” and the “Pelaos”. In fact, one of the great seguiriyeros from Triana was Manuel Cagancho, father of the well-known Tío Antonio Cagancho.
However, the most important thing to understand is that the name Triana was used by the flamencos to make themselves known, as it was a surname that gave “fame” to whoever carried it. This is the case of La Naranjita de Triana, Fernando el de Triana or La Finito de Triana, artists who, although they were not born or lived in the Seville neighbourhood, called themselves “de Triana”.
See a flamenco show in Seville
There seems to be no doubt that great figures of this art have been forged in Andalusia and that the flamenco tablao in Seville has been and continues to be the scene of moans, flamenco duende, purity and a great deal of feeling.
In Cuna del Flamenco, six consolidated artists show their talent and art in a daily flamenco show in which there is no lack of flamenco singing, dancing and guitar playing.
Come and see them live in one of our daily shows. Book your ticket online!