The summer of 2018 will always be remembered in the UK for its exceptional weather: temperature above 30 degrees for long weeks without rain, wind or any disturbing factor. They called it “extended heatwave”. I call it my best summer in London. We have spent every single day outside, in parks, gardens, on the English seaside, bathing in the sea(!), having a brilliant time. There was clearly no time for blog writing. Now, with autumn around the corner, I am back. The days are shorter, more time is spent inside again, in front of screens. So what better topic to come back with, than the Bienal of Flamenco! Although summer is over, there is nothing to be sad about, the Bienal is just starting!
As it’s name suggests, the Bienal is a flamenco festival organised bi-annually, in Seville. It started in 1979 and with time, it has grown into one of the biggest (if not the biggest) flamenco festivals in Spain, celebrating its XX. edition this year. It provides an excellent opportunity for singers, dancers and guitarists, be world famous or only at the start of their career, to present their latest creations in the different theatres of Seville throughout the month of September. Artists representing the pure, more traditional flamenco perform side by side with the artists representing a more innovative, new flamenco.
In recent years, the festival started to invite artists to prepare a choreography for a flashmob, which opens the Bienal. This is distributed well in advance, so everyone can learn the steps and dance along the people in Seville. This year’s choreography is from dancer Jose Galán, and it draws our attention to the importance of diversity, inclusion and tolerance. The flashmob will actually be performed by the statue of tolerance.
Throughout September, the theatres of Seville fill up with flamenco ‘aficionados’, fans of flamenco from all over the world, and the air is filled with ‘compás‘, the rhythm of flamenco. If you ever have the chance to go, do not hesitate for a moment. Go and enjoy the gathering of flamencos, the late night concerts and the special atmosphere of the Bienal!
The festival finishes with the distribution of the ‘Giraldillo’. This is the award of the festival given in various categories (singing, dancing, guitar, best show, best moment, best choreography, innovation etc.) and it is regarded as a prestigious reward within the flamenco world.
The website has the full programme and updates are posted on all social media (worth to check out, especially if one cannot be there…):
If I had the time and money, I would probably go to every single show and spend the entire month in Seville : going from show to show, enjoying the late nights and the farewell to summer amid the smell of the orange trees in the Alameda. But until the time arrives of me having time and money, here is my “shortlist” for the 2018 Flamenco Bienal of Seville:
7 Sept – Israel Galván: Arena
9 Sept – Inés Bacán & Niño de Gines: Cien años de arte
9 Sept – Patrícia Guerrero: Distopía
10 Sept – Argentina: Hábitat
11 Sept – José Valencia: Bashavel
12 Sept – Lebrija, Luna Nueva. Al arte de su vuelo. XX. edición
13 Sept – Flamencos de la tacita. Al arte de su vuelo. XX. edición
14 Sept – Alfredo Lagos: Sonanta Club
14 Sept – El Granaíno: Granaíno Jondo
16 Sept – María Terremoto: La huella de mi sentío
17 Sept – Compañía Mercedes Ruiz: Tauromagia
18 Sept – Tomasito & Gipsy rappers
18-19 Sept – Rocio Molina& Sílvia Pérez Cruz: Grito pelao
19 Sept – Compañía de Israel Galván con Pastora Galván: La edad de oro
19 Sept – Tomás de Perrate: Soleá sola
20 Sept – Rafael Rodríguez: Dejándome llevar
20 Sept – La savia del tronco “Utrera”
20 Sept – Bolita Big Band: Caótico
21 Sept – David Carmona: Un sueño de locura
21 Sept – Compañía María Pagés: Una oda al tiempo
22 Sept – Santiago Lara: Una guitarra de dos caras
22 Sept – Tomatito: Viviré
23 Sept – Antonio Rey & Diego del Morao: Guitarras de Jerez
23 Sept – Leonor Leal: Nocturno
25 Sept – María Moreno: De la concepción
26 Sept – David Lagos: Hodierno
27 Sept – Tía Juana La del Pipa, Remedios Amaya, Juana Amaya: Gitanas. Al arte de su vuelo. XX. edición
27 Sept – La Moneta: Granada solo tiene salida por las estrellas
28 Sept – Ana Morales: Sin permiso
28 Sept – Rosalía: Rosalía
29 Sept – Compañía Eva Yerbabuena: Cuentos de azúcar
29 Sept – Isabel Bayón: Yo soy
30 Sept – Nano de Jerez & Anabel Valencia: Cien años de arte
30 Sept – Dorantes: La roda del viento (with the one and only Javi Ruibal!)