Have you ever wandered past a place a million times, but never had the guts to go in?
I can’t tell you how many times I’d wandered up Calle Relator on a Monday night, intrigued by the crowds of people hanging outside a tiny bar, from which emanated the peels of flamenco guitar and singing.
Usually I was with my dog, using that as an excuse not to stop, squeeze through the narrow doorway and see what the heck was going on. But anyway, two nights ago, it was time to bite the bullet and I ventured in.
Taberna Gonzalo Molina is a Seville institution, not many bars in Seville have been in the hands of one family since the mid 1940s. Just looking inside one is greeted by from remnants of a bygone age, faded photos and postcards, metal supports that appear to be keeping the roof from falling down (but don’t quote me on that) and an intriguing giant statue of a siren whose image is repeated hundreds of times throughout the tiny bar.
Monday and Wednesday evenings are dedicated to flamenco – definitely not of the sanitised variety, but a sort of jam where unassuming drinkers burst into song accompanied by one or two of the guitarists who just happen to be there.
Contrary to what I imagined, there´s a warmth and inclusiveness to the evening. Sure there are people who live and breath flamenco, but you also get sensible, mac-wearing tourists and people like me, who are welcomed in like just another member of the family.
To put it mildly, it was intoxicating. There was no distance between performer and audience, no stage, just an unpretentious gathering of souls brought together by a love of flamenco and salt-of-the-earth authenticity, that these days is hard to find.
Which is why it’s with regret as a footnote that I must add that Taberna Gonzalo Molina has been threatened with closure for the last year. Right now apparently it’s at the supreme court and there is a change.org petition trying to prevent the closure.
If Taberna Gonzalo Molina goes, a part of Seville will die with it.
For more information consult the Facebook page dedicated to preventing the closure
Taberna Gonzalo Molina, Calle Relator corner with Calle Parras
Flamenco Monday and Wednesday evenings from about 9ish