Reputedly the best-known flamenco bar in Madrid, Las Carboneras is a once in a lifetime experience.
Where is it?
Nestled behind Mercado de San Miguel in a jazz-club like hideaway, this is a world away from the classic ‘one-man band’ flamenco show. Featuring a quartet of dancers (flanked by two singers and guitarists), they dance one by one in dimly-lit surrounds, their focus broken only by applause. The intensity of their footwork builds skyward through the wooden stage, interrupted occasionally by a pit-pat of cheers from their comrades.
What is it?
Flamenco may seem flamboyant, but this is a serious affair. Uniting passion and control, severity and seduction, the alluring and the disarming, this is mind-boggling, soul scratching stuff. The dancers’ rhythmic movements are mesmerising, enrapturing the audience in a trance-like state whilst keeping them at a distance all at once. For no matter how musical you may think you are, this is a beat you can’t catch. The singers’ soulful wailings may capture your soul but there’s an eerie divide between audience and performer that cannot be crossed. Like a witch casting a spell, it’s engaging and alienating all at once. Eerie, powerful, elusive, it’s about feeling, not thinking. Even the Rastas stage-side, renowned for their rhythm, couldn’t get the beat.
With personas as different as chalk and cheese, from the flamboyance of the opening dancer throwing her peach train around the stage in peacock-like fashion to the terrifying severity of her velvet-clad counter-part, flamenco at Las Carboneras is a sight to behold. A feast for the senses if ever I saw one, it’ll leave you changed. Go.
Address: Plaza del Conde de Miranda, 1, 28005 Madrid
Tel: 915 42 86 77
Drink and Show - 33.40 euros
Tapas and Show - 65 euros +