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Route of the flamenco singer Cayetano Muriel

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A lament from the soul

Andalusia is the land of flamenco. This intense artistic genre has deep roots all over the region, and offers the perfect excuse to explore its towns and villages, and all their local traditions. Various routes have been designed which offer a combination of various sightseeing attractions with the chance to learn more about all the different flamenco styles. They usually involve a series of talks and live performances harmoniously merged to highlight these evocative settings.

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This route includes a visit to Cordoba and to another four villages in the province: Bujalance, Lucena, Cabra and Puente Genil. Its unifying thread is the legendary flamenco singer from Cabra, Cayetano Muriel, also known as el Niño de Cabra, a towering figure in the flamenco singing from Cordoba in the early 20th century, and particularly in the style known as fandangos abandolaos which is so typical of the mountain areas of this region. For contrast, we'll also explore some of the traditional styles of flamenco to be found in the city of Cordoba: the soleá and the alegrías .

We start our roots in Cordoba itself, the legendary capital of the Umayyad caliphate of Al-Andalus, and a city which continues to inspire legends and evoke nostalgia. A stroll around its Muslim mosque, the Catholic cathedral and its old Jewish quarter is a treat for the senses; other sights include the Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir river, its churches, palaces and city walls. It's a good idea to stop and browse its alleys and winding streets, its courtyards perpetually adorned with flowers, and admire the splendid baroque imagery to be seen all around its intimate squares and in its secluded corners.

The city breathes flamenco through every pore. The guitar workshop of José Reyes Maldonado, who supplies guitars to artists of the stature of Paco de Lucía and Manolo Sanlúcar, to the flower-bedecked courtyard of the Sociedad de Plateros (Silvermakers' Guild), the main venue for the International Guitar Festival which takes place in July. In the Jewish quarter, the clock of Las Tendillas marks the hours with chimes in the form of the typical seguiriyas by Juan Serrano. All around there are numerous flamenco clubs known as tablaos, and not far from here stands the theatre known as the Gran Teatro de Córdoba, which every three years serves as the venue for the National Flamenco Contest.

The first destination on this route is the village of Bujalance, 42 kilometres from Cordoba, also located on the banks of the Guadalquivir. The reason for our visit is to learn more about the unique Cante de la Pajarona which is typical of these parts, and its mixture with the coplas serranas . The route then passes through the countryside of the region of Cordoba, amid vineyards and olive groves, until we come to Cabra (68 kilometres away), the birthplace of Cayetano Muriel and the gateway to the mountains of Cordoba.
Very nearby, only 12 kilometres away, is Lucena, a town of great significance to the world of flamenco. This place alone has seen the birth of three different styles of fandango . Monuments to visit include the tabernacle of San Mateo, the churches of Santiago and El Carmen, the palace of the Condes de Santa Ana, the hospital of San Juan de Dios and the ancient castle of El Moral, where we can still see the cell in which Boabdil, the last Nasrid king of Granada was held prisoner (1483).

The final stop on this route is the town of Puente Genil. The 29 kilometres between Puente Genil and Lucena lead us away from the mountains of Cordoba and bring us back to the countryside, in this case around the Genil, the second largest river in Andalusia. Its situation on the boundary between Seville and Cordoba –between the mountains and the fertile countryside– also had its effect on its popular folklore. Here we find a combination of the rondeña style of the Serranía de Ronda mountains in Malaga, with a hint of the style of Cordoba, giving rise to the typical zángano of Puente Genil. José Bedmar, el Seco; Juan García, Niño Hierro, and Fosforito are three of the legendary flamenco singers linked to this place.

We can make the most of our stay in Puente Genil by exploring its churches, convents and palaces, and its industrial and bourgeois architecture. Another interesting visit is to the Roman villa of Fuente Álamo (3 kilometres away) to see its splendid mosaics (3rd-4th century A.D.)


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Great Mosque of Cordoba © Turespaña


Great Mosque of Cordoba - Córdoba
The Soul of Cordoba. Nocturnal visit to the Great Mosque

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To be confirmed


Alcázar fortress of the Christian Monarchs - Córdoba
Cordoba: the Light of Cultures. A water, light and sound show in the Alcázar fortress in Cordoba

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To be confirmed


Gardens of the Alcázar Fortress of the Christian Monarchs - Córdoba
“Noche blanca” all night flamenco

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