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Posts from the ‘Art’ Category

Seville | Bienal de Flamenco

Flamenco is the traditional song, dance and music artform of Andalucia, which evolved from it’s gypsy and North African roots into something like its present form around the 17th century. If you’re into all things Flamenco, then for sure Seville is the place you want to be during the next five weeks. If you’re not, then come anyway, and you may well become a convert. From September 12 to October 15 the city is hosting the Bienal de Flamenco, the largest festival of flamenco in the world, and the city will be alive with the passions, sounds and rhythms of Spanish guitar and flamenco dance.

bienal flamenco 2014photo courtesy of the Bienal de Flamenco website

The slogan for this, the 18th edition of the festival which began in 1980, is fuente y caudal, source and flow, a reference to a 1973 album by the legendary Paco de Lucia. I have been lucky enough to have seen him play twice at previous bienals, and was looking forward to seeing him again this time around, but sadly it was not to be as he passed away suddenly earlier this year. A number of events have been planned as a homage to his memory, including a “We Play For Paco” event the day before the official opening, which will be held in Plaza San Francisco.

paco de luciaPaco de Lucía – photo courtesy of the Bienal de Flamenco website

Many of the big names in flamenco will be here, performing in the city’s major venues, such as the Espacio Santa Clara, the Alcázar Palace, the San Telmo Palace, and the city’s four main theatres, the Maestranza, Lope de Vega, Alameda and Central, but the Bienal is not just about big name performers. There will be dozens of rising talents and young hopefuls in the smaller theaters and clubs, and because flamenco is a tradition that develops, rather than being fixed and rigid, I’m expecting fringe and fusion styles of flamenco to be well represented.

In keeping with the theme of this year’s festival the official venues for street performances are clustered along the river, and around some of the city’s famous fountains, such as in the Puerta Jerez and Plaza de la Virgen de los Reyes, but as in previous years less formal shows may pop up almost anywhere in the city.

There will also be exhibitions of photographs and flamenco memorabilia, forums and other activities, including a special symposium on the life and work of Paco de Lucia.

Bienal de Flamenco 2014
September 12 – October 15
Official Programme

Malaga | Soho Street Art

soho muralsphoto courtesy of East of Malaga

Something’s happening out in the street, and in the SOHO district of Málaga, it’s street art. From doorway size paintings to seven-storey high murals, post-graffiti artworks are appearing on walls all over the SOHO district of Málaga.

But why there, and why now? Soho is the triangular shaped neighbourhood sandwiched between the Alameda, the port and the river like a wedge of cheese. In the nineteenth century it was a prosperous middle class suburb (and still has some very fine buildings from this time), but over the last fifty years has become increasingly run down, missing out on the kind of urban renewal that first the new city centre, and later the historic centre, benefited from.

graffiti ratsphoto courtesy of

Partly because the new Contemporary Arts Centre was located there in 2003, the initiative to regenerate the area that was launched six years later revolved around making it the artistic centre of the city, and was backed by both the city council and private funds. Some of the artworks that have been created by both local and “guest” artists as a result are certainly impressive and colourful. Among the best known contributors are the UK’s Dean Stockton (D*FACE) and America’s Frank Shepard Fairey (OBEY), who created the two big seven-storey high murals behind the CAC, and Belgium’s ROA, whose chameleon and tumbling rats seem to be among everybody’s favourites, as well as Dal East from China. Local artists include emerging talents Jose Luis Puche and Dadi Dreucol. The brightly coloured graffiti-style art has certainly made the area more interesting – and attracted tourists and their money. It will be interesting to see how successful the strategy is in the long term, and whether it revitalises the local community.

graffitiphotos courtesy of