Feature: Jerez' Fertile Flamenco Scene
Jerez’ moniker as the 'cradle of flamenco' is regularly challenged by aficionados in Cádiz and Seville, but the claim has merit. This comparatively untouristed city harbours not just one but two Roma quarters, Santiago and San Miguel, which have produced numerous renowned artists, including Roma singers Manuel Torre and Antonio Chacón. Like its rival cities, Jerez has concocted its own flamenco palo (musical form), the intensely popular bulería, a fast, rhythmic musical style with the same compás (accented beat) as the soleá.
Begin your explorations at the Centro Andaluz de Flamenco, Spain’s only bona fide flamenco library, where you can pick up information on peñas (small private clubs), tabancos, performances, and singing, dance and guitar lessons. From here, stroll down Calle Francos past a couple of legendary flamenco bars where singers and dancers still congregate. North of the Centro Andaluz de Flamenco, in the Santiago quarter, you’ll find dozens of peñas known for their accessibility and intimacy; entry is normally free if you buy a drink. The peña scene is particularly lively during the February flamenco festival. Jerez' revitalised tabancos (taverns that serve sherry from the barrel) are also fantastic for flamenco; some, such as El Pasaje, El Guitarrón de San Pedro and A la Feria host regular performances, while others have more spur-of-the-moment flamenco.