Located in Barcelona's Plaça Reial since 1963, Los Tarantos is widely recognised as one of the top flamenco tablaos in Spain and hosts three nightly performances featuring top artists.
For many people, after Andalucía and Madrid, Barcelona is the third great flamenco capital in Spain. Having received hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the south of the Iberian peninsula, since the beginning of the 20th century, Barcelona has been a centre of flamenco culture, giving rise to genres such as Rumba Catalana and the spread of El Nuevo Flamenco.
Barcelona is also home to a particularly demanding pùblic, which in Los Tarantos has found an environment in which to enjoy the best flamenco in the country
As a privileged visitor you will be entering a legendary venue, which was chosen by many great artists to start and consolidate their careers.
As Los Tarantos is popular both with locals and tourists, particularly in summer, it makes sense to book your tickets in advance.
In the autumn of 1963, a year after the opening of Francisco Robira Beleta's film of the same name, El Tablao Los Tarantos opened in Plaça Reial , as a venue destined to become an indispensable reference for flamenco in the Catalan capital.
Originally and authentically decorated, the Barcelona venue soon became a centre for a diverse public, where real flamenco aficionados mixed with intellectuals, music lovers, tourists and the rich and famous.
The flamenco club became particularly popular after the closure of neighbouring Jamboree in 1968 when a large proportion of the jazz club's clientele moved a couple of doors down the Plaça Reial and came to enjoy some of the top artists in Spain.
From the beginning, Los Tarantos management decided to book the best performers of the day, from the traditional to the most groundbreaking.Artists like los bailaores Vicente Escudero, Antonio Gades, María Márquez, José de la Vega and La Tolea, los tocaores Andrés Batista, Emilio de Diego, Pepe Pubill and Selva de Cádiz and los cantaores Fosforito, Jarrito, El Peti, El Brujo and Pepe Cortés were regulars at the club.
Los Tarantos soon became famous not only in Spain but around the world and this increased in the 1970s, when in addition to visiting performers, Maruja Garrido became the resident cantaora and bailaora.
Salvador Dalí, who considered her one of his muses, became a regular member of the audience and her live 1983 album, recorded at the venue, is considered a classic.
Garrido was often accompanied by high-quality musicians, such as the guitarists Manzanita or Rafael Cañizares and the club became an incubator for the new flamenco style that would be known as Rumba Catalana.
In 1974, the Madrid newspaper ABC wrote "It's amazing that in Barcelona, so far away from Andalucía, so close to the Pyrenees (...) such a purist tablao can possibly exist."
However, by the end of the 1980s, at a time of general decadence in Plaça Reial and Ciutat Vella, Los Tarantos was badly in need of reform.
Following a complete reform, which respected the original style and also connected the club to neighbouring Jamboree, Los Tarantos reopened on October 3rd 1993.
Promoters Mas i Mas were the new managers and their programme appealed to both traditional flamenco audiences and those wanting to hear the new flamenco fusions that were popular at the time.
Amongst the first performers at the new club were Parrita, el Sorderita, Toumami Diabate and a then very young Duquende and the following year Los Tarantos became the scene of some now legendary new flamenco sessions from artists of the calibre of Duquende, José Manuel Cañizares, Miguel Poveda, Montse Cortés, José el Francés, Rafael Riqueni or Mónica Fernández, many of whom are now household names.
In 1995, flamenco influenced popular musicians Pedro Guerra and the Rosana Arbelo presented their new albums at Los Tarantos and the following years it was the chosen venue for Cuban stars, Omara Portuondo y Compay Segundo.
The strict flamenco fans amongst the Barcelona public delighted to Plaça Reial Moraíto Chico, Pepe Habichuela, Enrique de Melchor, Paco Cepero, Tomasito, Pedro Javier González, Rancapino, Eva la Yerbabuena and the young hopeful now established star, Niña Pastori.
Other innovations in the late 90s included special singer-songwriter shows featuring the likes of Marc Parrot, Roger Mas, Quintín Cabrera, Jorge Drexler, Tontxu, Joan Isaac or Argentinian Litto Nebbia.
In recent years Los Tarantos has centred its attention on traditional tablao small combo performers featuring singers (cantaores), dancers (bailaores), guitarsand percussion (cajón).
Plaça Reial, 17,
Metro Liceu - Green L3 Line
The flamenco show at the Arte Flamenco is given by an extended traditional combo of cante (voice), baile (dance), cajón (box percussion) and guitar and often bass.
The musical style is generally more rootsy and authentic than other shows oriented towards tourists and the quality of the musicians clearly shows why flamenco in Barcelona has such an excellent reputation.
This is the show I'd go to see if I were you.