Hidden in the by lanes of the sleepy town of Seville is LaCarboneria. Part tapas bar, part performance space.
You might miss it, if you are walking aimlessly, trying to find a place to have an evening drink. La Carboneria commands to be found, it is a sort of institution that must be visited when in Seville. Ask a local and someone will lead you to a hidden red door.
What is behind the red door is not something you might not expect. Starting with a tiny room, the journey into La Carboneria takes you to a green, expansive courtyard.
The white washed walls are adorned with old paintings, a piano waits to be played and a stage stands bare awaiting someone to christen it with a dance.
The bar serves cocktails and tapas that are cheap and delicious. Tables are arranged to get the best view of the performances. It tends to get packed post 9PM when someone usually decides to dance. Get there early and grab a seat.
The performances are not like what you would see in the usual Flamenco performances custom made for tourists. These are raw, honest and deep performances by locals who love to express themselves through this art form. Be prepared for a lot of goose bumps or as in my case, a few tears.
Once a few dances are over, the party moves to the other room where locals take on the piano. Sing along John Lennon in Spanish and a few songs you might remember from your childhood. People walk in and out of the red door, join in and then leave. Everyone seems to be welcome here. In a span of minutes you become a part of this community that is united with the power of music and dance. Language, nationality, colour … it’s all forgotten.
My experience with La Carboneria was enchanting and quite spiritual. Traveling has that effect on me… there are a few things that touch my heart and stay forever. Moments are permanently locked in the memory – sounds, taste, the exchange of glances…..
As I sat there sharing this moment with someone so important to me, I cannot forget an old lady getting up to dance the Flamenco a few times. Without any care of the world and lost in the moment, she danced as if it was the last time she could dance. Her husband sat there, with adoration and pride in his eyes, clutching a little plastic bag on his lap with her handbag, amazed at this woman who showcased such zest for life.
That is what I want to have one day (I thought to myself) A love and a zest for life that never ends…. Someone who thinks I am beautiful, dancing in the middle of strangers and kids young enough to be my grandchildren.
Anything else would be a compromise.
La Carboneria is etched in my memory along with so many other places I visited in Spain. It will always have a special place.
It is the kind of space that allows you to let go, be in the moment, feel music in your veins and even if it is for a few hours – Live like you have never lived before.
Details can be found here –
Here is the short video I took whilst there.... :)