This week and next is the Festival de Jerez, in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, the home of Flamenco ( despite what some Sevillanos say ). It is two weeks of classes, symposia and, above all, performance, when the whole town resounds to gypsy rhythms. Walking about the lovely old centre one is never far away from the sounds of dancing and music, whether from the numerous schools of flamenco, the flamenco penas – the clubs which open their doors to visitors during the festival – or the occasional flamenco ‘flash mob’. These are often lead by famous flamenco performers. The Festival has plenty of those. It is a magnet for the best, both established performers as well as those who want to make their name. They come to perform, but also to teach and to simply enjoy being part of the Festival.
There are formal, often large-scale shows at the Teatro Villamarta – this coming Saturday there is ballet, music by Manuel de Falle ( a local boy, he hailed from Cadiz ), choreography by Carlos Saura. In other venues there is a range to be found, from dance companies to singers, to intimate guitar recitals. Amongst others, there is Claudia Cruz, pictured left at the Sala Compania. The venues themselves are worth a visit, the Sala Compania, a converted church, is in the heart of the old town, Sala Paul is a converted bodega and the 19th century Palacio, inside the 12th century Alcazar ( my own favourite ) is lit by antique chandeliers. Then there are the numerous tabancos, local bars which host informal performances, accompanied by sherry from the barrel and the best jamon.
It is a fortnight in which to emerse oneself in music. If you want to find out more, try www.jerez.es. The festival runs from 21st February to 8th March 2015.
If you want to find out more about the annual Festival or read reviews try