Granada is one of the most beautiful towns in Andalusia, Spain. The old town is in a valley, where on one side you can see the breathtaking Moorish palace, the Alhambra, overtopping the city. On the other side, the authentic, Andalusian white old town, Albaicin, where you can fall in love with the authenticity of the South of Spain while you feed your soul with guitar play!
I might have had the silliest reason why I wanted to visit Granada, but it was so worth it! It wasn’t for the famous and also breathtaking palace. It wasn’t to see the Alhambra!
Obviously that was a great reason for my visit to Granada, but my main reason was something more personal. It was more about something I’m really passionate about, guitar play.
I picked Granada because I was obsessed with this Flamenco style, the Rumbas. This type of music is very popular in this part of Andalusia, with many-many performers all around the city.
So basically, the main reason I went to Granada, is because it was one of my bucket list items, to find my favorite performers, that I’ve been listening to for months. I wanted to sit at this restaurant called Los Caracoles, which is on top of the hill in Albaicin, and listen to rumbas, guitar play, and songs they sing.
The story before my visit to Granada
While I’ve been living in England, I met an Andalusian friend. He’s the type of person who basically can’t live without the Flamenco. In 2018 I couldn’t imagine myself listening to Flamenco, because it was disturbing my ears. Weird…
I was always obsessed with guitars, and I was playing it myself as well. But I just haven’t found the beauty in the Flamenco for many years. Now, that guitar play, that music makes me just beyond happy!
You know, the line between hate and love is really thin!
Well, after this friend of mine made me listen to Flamenco over and over again, at one point, I found myself searching up on youtube this specific song called El Legionario y la Morita.
What happened next is, that I couldn’t stop listening to it. I kept replaying the video over and over again, learning the lyrics, and singing it all the time. Everywhere. All the time.
When I was walking to my old office to work in the mornings, while I was at work, and whenever I found a couple of minutes to listen to it, I just had to.
In the spring of 2019, we’ve been heading to Brussels with this previously mentioned Andalusian friend. On the train, and also on the bus, we’ve listened to it loads of times. That guitar play and that song…
It was just a one day trip to Brussels. We’ve headed on a Friday night, we spent 16 hours walking around in Brussels, and headed back to London in the night. On our way to the bus station in Brussels, tired, exhausted, we just started singing it on the streets too…
That was the day when I decided that I need to visit Granada, and I need to go to Albaicin, to this restaurant to see these people!
Summer trip to Andalusia in 2019
After I spent 2 days in Malaga, I took the bus and went to Granada. My hostel, the White Nest Hostel was at the feet of the hill of Albaicin. I picked it with purpose, to be close to what I was looking for.
In the evening, I walked up on these beautiful, white narrow streets to the top of the hill, to find the Los Caracoles restaurant.
I wasn’t prepared to see so many people up there, and because I wanted to make sure I’m not missing the artists, I wanted to sit outside, on this little square called Plaza Aliatar. It took about 20 minutes to finally get a table, while in the meantime many guitar players, performers passed and held a quick show. They fed my soul with guitar play. It was absolutely amazing!
The way it works in Albaicin is that these artists are walking around and stopping at each restaurant around Albaicin for a quick performance, then heading to the next place. This way, you’re all the time having shows while you’re having your lunch or dinner.
Well, this also means, that there’s no guarantee that you’ll catch the exact performers you’re looking for. As in my case, these two guys from the video.
I was super, super excited! Honestly, just by being there, and having my incredibly delicious dinner, and listening to random artists. It was all just way to perfect. But my guys weren’t coming…
After the 4th performer passed, and I was finishing my dinner, I was about to give up. I had just a few sips left of my drink, and the restaurant was already closing, when from the nearby restaurant I heard the guitar and a very familiar voice beside it.
And there they were! To feed my soul with guitar play
I couldn’t believe it! When I almost gave up and left, they arrived. They were sticking around to sing just two songs, but those 6 minutes were worth the whole trip to Granada!
I really wanted to ask them, to stop and sing my song, El legionario y la Morita. The plan was to ask them when they’ll pass by my table.
Ridiculously, when they did pass, they actually looked at me, and I was just looking at them. I was so shocked, happy, and excited, that the words didn’t come out of my mouth, and I just kept staring at them until they disappeared.
Later on, I was telling my friends, and my mother, that I literally acted as I’ve just seen somebody like Enrique Iglesias…
When my shock was gone, I tried to find them at other bars that were still open, but I quickly got lost between the old streets of Albaicin, and obviously I didn’t manage to find them…
Then, the next day I couldn’t visit the Alhambra either, because I should’ve got my ticket in advance. Due to a lack of visitors, it’s really important to book online if you want to get inside!
So, I still have a reason to visit Granada again! Maybe next time I’ll have more luck and I can ask these guys to sing my song as well!
Interesting facts about the artists in Granada
Among the locals, some of these artists specialized in Rumbas are called gypsies, and it is socially acceptable for them to be called like this. If you’re looking up for authentic flamenco in Granada, you’ll see everywhere that they are mentioned like this.
It’s known in Europe as usual, that gypsies have an amazing talent and a great ear for the most vibrant, deep, animate music. In places like Hungary, the most popular instrument they play on is always the violin. The artists in Andalusia however, prefer the guitar. And I love the guitar!
However, I mentioned this just as an insight into the local culture. It’s not everybody called like this obviously, but they say, those who are coming from Moorish ancestors, those are. I personally would rather not use this word, as I don’t want to label anybody, and I’m not a local either, to call them as locals do.
Guitar play, and Flamenco as an artform
For a long time now, Flamenco is part of my every day. I just love it so much, that even though, my Spanish isn’t the best, I have learned many songs, and I’m also planning to learn to play them on guitar. It’s just way to close to my heart to not be able to play it. I have to!
If you want to learn more about this Andalusian art form, I posted a thorough article about the Flamenco and its substyles!
Do you like authentic, traditional music from around the world? If so, which one is it and where is it from? Share with us in the comment section! Let’s learn and keep traditions alive!