Although flamenco forms part of the cultural heritage of all Andalusia, it is thought to originate from the provinces of Málaga and Cádiz. This form of cultural expression has transcended many boundaries until finally being declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
Málaga has always boasted a wealth of renowned music. Verdiales are an extremely old style of folk songs and dances performed at traditional festivals in certain areas of the province such as Axarquía, the Guadalhorce Valley and the Montes de Málaga mountain range. This is the most primitive form of Málaga's fandango malagueño and, almost certainly, of all Andalusian fandangos.
The malagueña is Málaga's flamenco form and style par excellence. It has individual variations where a particular flamenco singer has left his or her mark, as is the case of the malagueñas of El Canario, La Trini, Enrique el Mellizo, Fosforito and Antonio Chacón, which show a distinct style. Juan Breva set the benchmark for classical flamenco, and is perhaps Málaga's most important flamenco singer. His fame was such that he sang for the Spanish kings Alfonso XII and Alfonso XIII.
Flamenco festivals, live flamenco shows and traditional tablaos
Many towns in Málaga province celebrate their own flamenco festivals. They take place all year round, although most are held outdoors in the summer months. The most long-standing festivals of note are the Torre del Cante Flamenco Festival (in Alhaurín de la Torre), declared an Andalusian Festival of Tourist Interest; the Noche Flamenca in Villa de Alhaurín el Grande, the Cante Grande Festival in Ronda, and the Flamenco Festival in Casabermeja.
There are flamenco clubs, or peñas, throughout Málaga province that have taken the lead in offering live song, percussion and dance. In Málaga city be sure to visit the peña Juan Breva, which presents live flamenco every Friday throughout the year. You can also find traditional tablaos and other venues where live flamenco shows frequently take place.