A funny thing happened to me a couple of years ago. A throw away comment in a new year's blog post
in which I announced my plan to sing in public, saw me a month later standing on stage like a frightened rabbit at the weekly open mic night at La Sra Pop. I won't lie, I was scared beyond belief. But what came out of my mouth wasn't all that bad. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say I sort of enjoyed it (although I can't vouch for the audience).
And so began my entry in the sometimes surreal world of open mics nights - or micro abierto in Spanish. Most of my experiences have been a the twice weekly occasions (Sunday and Monday nights) organised by Dani Mata at la Sra Pop. But from what I can tell the format tends to be the same. In this case, Dani usually opens the night by playing a couple of his own songs, after which the microphone is literally open to anyone who wants to take the stage.
This often tends to include quite a lot of men and guitars, playing their own compositions or cover versions. That's not to say there aren't some amazing talented female singers who take the stage, but for some reason recently they seem to be in the minority. Fun collaborations abound - mixing up styles, instruments, and tastes. There's also a place for poetry recital, stand up comedy, and even beat box.
For me as a member of the audience and occasional participant, it feels like being part of a dysfunctional family, but one where everyone is accepted. In fact, what touches me far more than the more accomplished performers, are those that take the stage, voices trembling and fingers refusing to play the right chords. After all, it's allowing others to see our vulnerability that makes us who we are, and so to all the brave ones, I salute you.
So, if you're tempted to take the stage, or just want to go enjoy the micro abierto vibe, here's where you'll find some regular open mic nights in Seville.
Sundays and Mondays - 9.30pm-12pm La Sra Pop
Hosted by Dani Mata
, the cosiness of La Sra Pop
lends itself to a night of heart warming entertainment. Just tell Dani that you'd like to be added to the list of performers, get a drink at the bar, and wait for your turn to take the stage. The crowd is always supportive and Dani does his best to make everyone feel at ease.
Wednesdays - 9pm El Coco Verde (twice a month check Facebook page for dates) El Coco Verde
offers a slightly different format, always starting the night with a different invited artist, who tends to be a singer songwriter. Then the stage is open to whoever like to bare their artistic soul.
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Ahem, me and the delightful Sara Tirelli at El Coco Verde[/caption]
Second Friday of the month - 9.30pm Merchant Sevilla
Seeing as Merchant's
is an Irish pub, it's little surprise that this monthly open mic night has an international vibe. Hosted by the British born singer songwriter Renny Jackson
, it's quite different to the other micro abierto nights around town. Amongst the ubiquitous men and guitars (this time singing in English), you might also find some stand up comedy from an English speaking improv group, plus a few locals to mix up (and sometimes bemuse) the expat crowd.