One of the best aspects about living in Granada is that, because it is a university city, finding good cultural events to attend at a low cost is incredibly easy. The Center of Modern Languages (CLM) has bulletin boards where they post information events and all of my favorite activities so far I have discovered this way.
For example, in late September I went to the University of Granada’s fall Anthropology Film Festival. For two euros, I saw two films by Hispanic directors and the director of the first film, Jean Carlos Gonzalez, spoke afterward.
However, my favorite low cost cultural experience thus far happened last week at the CLM itself: flamenco.
Flamenco is a type of music and dance that was born in Andalusia, the most Southern part of Spain and where Granada is located. Flamenco consists of three parts: the cante or singing, the toque or guitar playing and the baile or dancing. To perform good flamenco, one has to be very attuned to keeping rhythm, which is mostly done through clapping your hands or snapping your fingers.
The performance at the CLM included all three aspects of flamenco and was led by the guitarist, Dr. Rafael Hoces, who is a professor at the Conservatory at the University of Granada. The program included eight different types of flamenco and before each, Dr. Hoces shared a bit about each variety of flamenco as well as the ways in which flamenco is different than mainstream acoustic guitar playing. Having never seen or heard flamenco before attending this program, I was surprised to hear Dr. Hoces explain that even though most people think that the dancer is following the singer and guitarist, in flamenco the dancer actually sets the rhythm and the singer and guitarist follow her.
Flamenco has certain ways of playing and singing so that singers and guitarists who have never performed together before can easily work with one another. The dancer improvises the entire dance. Needless to say, I easily found myself calling out “ole” with the rest of the crowd.