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Web Log Archive

Postings 21 to 25.

Log #25. Sara Baras - Sabores

In the world of Flamenco there is one almighty star and her name is Sara Baras. Hailing from Cádiz, she was born into the world of flamenco as her mother, Concha Baras, runs a respected dance school in the region and her extended family are all musicians, singers and dancers themselves. She's famous worldwide and has been showered with honours, including: Premio Nacional de Danza, Medalla de Oro de Andalucia, Hija Predilecta de Cádiz, Medalla de Oro de la Frontera, Mejor Bailaora etc. etc. Madrid-Uno knows this because it says so in his programme that he carried back from a night at the Teatro Nuevo Apolo (metro: Tirso de Molina) having watched her latest show Sabores (flavours) in the company of Sabrina - a self-confessed Flamenco aficionado. The main programme was an hour and a half of foot-stompin', finger clickin', castanette clackin' dance vignettes of 13 different forms of flamenco. The audience loved it and after one particularly energetic scene we had yelps of pleasure, a massive round of applause and several 'OLE!'s from the top tiers.

A life dedicated to dance Sara Baras in her flamenco show Sabores has left Sara lithe and strong. She's a powerful presence on stage and doubtless a powerful one off it as well. Madrid-Uno would not like to be around when she finds you with your feet up on her favourite occasional table watching the footy, beer in hand. Her dancers were all immaculately drilled (Sara choreographs and directs) and the musicians were sublime. Not really understanding the technical details of the dancing Madrid-Uno took great pleasure instead in appreciating the wonderful music provided by two guitarists, two singers, a violinist and a percussionist. The singing is haunting and emotional, very strong tinges of A-rab wailing, and the guitars perfectly complement the scenes being played out on stage. We had 'Boleros' and 'Tangos', 'Tarantos', 'Tanguillos', 'Martinetes' and 'Zambras', 'Bulerías', 'Alegrías' 'Fuego Lentos' and more as we were transported from the ranchitos of dry planes and orange tree rural Andalucia to the steamy, erotic, sweaty dance clubs in the barrios of cities like Sevilla or Buenos Aires. It was stunning stuff.

From Madrid-Uno's philistine perspective, Flamenco is basically a good 'ole red-neck hoe-down, in an hispanic style, mixed with elements of modern dance and classical ballet. This point of view was seemingly confirmed when at the end of the show Sara bullied family members to join her on stage and join in the Fin de Fiesta. The musicians started an extended jam-session and we had mum, grandma, various aunties, uncles and cousins all stepping up to the podium and strutting their stuff as the audience and professional company whooped and hollered away. Christmas must be a right riot down at Sara's place. You could also tell the gypsy element in all this as well: most of the crew were very dark and the boys had longer hair than the girls. Tonights show had been in honour of Rancapino - "Cantaor, Gitano, nieto de la Obispa una vieja cantaora que dominaba con singular personalidad las alegrias..." a small, rotund fellah with the voice of a husky angel.

Log #24. La Rodilla sandwich shops

Madrid has its own versions of 'Pret A Manger' or 'Benny's' food outlets. Rodilla - somos unicosOne of them is called Rodilla and its speciality is super posh white-bread sandwich triangles with a variety of fillings, as well as the coffees, croissants and juices you'd expect to find when grabbing a quick lunch or snack. Madrid-Uno ordered up a couple of rounds - chicken curry, tuna mayo, salami and one other and was rather shocked to be asked for over 5 euroweenies. Jesus Christ man, each triangle is only a couple of bites! La Rodilla's marketing strapline is Somos Únicos (We are unique). Well the prices certainly are. I mean, they're good sandwiches and all but this is daylight robbery. Avoid.

Log #23. Night Clubs Madrid

This log now posted at Nightclubbing

Log #22. La Casa Del Abuelo

Grazing Madrid style can mean taking a beer and a small dish in three or four different tapas bars of an evening. Madrid-Uno has become particularly fond of a place La Casa Del Abuelo cervecaria called 'Grandad's House' on C/ Goya, 57 that does scrummy tortilla pinchos and moresome fried bocarones. There are two other Casa del Abuelo's in town, one on C/ Victoria, 12 (pictured) and another at C/ Nuñez de Arce, 5. Yum, yum. Whilst they're not the cheapest they're not expensive either and the food is served quickly straight from the plancha. The Goya branch can get quite crowded upstairs on a Friday or Saturday night, but there is a large, downstairs room as well if you want to be more intimate with your dining partner or just want less noise. Recommended.

Log #21. Pasajes - Librería internacional

Located at C/ Genova, 3 is the multi-lingual paradise for bookworms in Madrid called Pasajes. Lots of English books on selection, with a welcome depth of subjects catered for. As you would expect, plenty of language study stuff, but also magazines, childrens books, films and audio books. Also Italian, Portuguese, French, German etc. literature. It has an online 'presence' here: in what is a rather 'chunky' flash site that doesn't do justice to the shop.

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