A Dance and Music Tour of Spain & Morocco

A 17 day trip to Morocco & Spain 
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On this music and dance tour, you’ll experience the longing of flamenco, the spiritual rhythm of Sufi drumming, and the emotion that floats on every beat. Discover that music is more than sound, it is art and culture that inspires new perspectives while preserving tradition. Music is both spiritual and personal, as it provides a platform to unite cultures in a shared space. This exclusive itinerary creates this connection, as you uncover the heart of flamenco and the soul of Sufi.

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General Information

Photos
Women wearing traditional dresses in Seville, Spain.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Seville, Triana, Alcazar, Seville Cathedral, Plaza de Espana, Utrera, Lebrija, Andalusia, Dos Hermanas, Jerez de la Frontera, Santiago de Compostela, San Miguel, Cadiz, Santa Maria, La Vina, La Caleta, Las Cabezas de San Juan, Casablanca, Moulay Idriss, Volubilis, Fes, Zalagh, Marrakech, Jemaa El-Fnaa, Essaouira

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Seville – An Orientation in the City of Flamenco

Once your plane touches down in Seville, you will immediately be compelled by the city’s rhythm. There is energy on the streets and a sense of possibility enhances the atmosphere. Travel down back-lanes and wander across the plazas, as you soak up the inimitable style of Andalusia’s capital and orient yourself with a unique city. A local guide will accompany you and point out the different districts and customs, as they help you feel comfortable in Seville. Your accommodation will be in Triana, the district that forms one point of the flamenco triangle. Part of the orientation involves wandering the streets of Triana where legendary flamenco figures grew up, including the Pinea family and Pepe el de la Matrona. You’ll pass taverns along Betis Street and bars for impromptu performances along La Alameda de Hercules Avenue. Tonight, you relax, explore, settle in and feel the rhythm start to flow through your veins.

What’s Included: airport transfer, tour, accommodation

Days 2 – 4: Seville – Flamenco Dance Classes and Uncovering a Vibrant City

Over the next few days, you will adjust to Andalusia’s attitude to time. Each morning you wake late and enjoy the cooler morning hours, as you take a stroll through the city, and stop for coffee on al fresco terraces. These mornings will be your free time to discover Seville, including the iconic monuments in one of Europe’s largest old quarters. After lunch, you learn the flamenco with three hours of dance classes taught by a significant figure within the local scene. The study includes technique and choreography as a guitarist and singer accompany the classes. While this itinerary is geared toward teaching dance, guitarists and singers are also welcome and can be tutored during your stay in Seville.

Music will provide you with a cultural connection while you spend the evenings with people involved in flamenco. Take a walk through the city, and dip into small taverns where everyone knows your new Spanish friends by name. You will be guided to the best tapas bars to enjoy another Andalusian specialty. Explore the colorful past of Triana, plunge yourself into Arab baths, indulge in the food, and take the energy of flamenco long into the evening. Most flamenco performances don’t start until after 9 pm, and there’s an option to enjoy a different one every night since the locals know who is performing where, as in many of the historic venues you only know the timetable by knowing the owners.

In both the classes and the performances you will come to understand the art form. Guitars find gaps between traditional notes and bend the music to create novel forms of expression. While you dance, focus on your flow as you close your eyes and feel how the music moves from head to toe. Singing has an improvisation that twists and turns and you don’t need to understand Spanish to feel the emotion. The great skill of flamenco is how these elements can come together in harmony, while still maintaining an individuality that defines the art form.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Days 5 – 7: Seville – Tracing the Legendary Flamenco Route Through Andalusia

Triana is one corner of the flamenco triangle and a twisting path across Andalusia reveals the others. There are various flamenco routes across Andalusia, with the three-four time route tracing the essence of the cabales and deepest (jonda) styles. Travel to Utrera and explore the origins of iconic singers, the stories of Merce La Serneta and La Fernanda narrated by an expert guide. Ascend to the hilltop village of Jerez de la Frontera, an enchanting landscape of white houses that sing to the age-old rhythm. You’ll be guided through the Andalusia Flamenco Centre and have chance to listen to thousands of recordings, including many from past centuries.

Jerez de la Frontera is a charming place to spend the night and enjoy a performance in a traditional tavern. Spend the morning of day six in Lebrija, where you get to meet some of the artists that are defining the modern flamenco scene. You’ll visit the local flamenco association for a very informal meeting of artists – there’s less playing and more coffee and chatting. Then travel to Cadiz, where the flamenco is liberal and the songs were once sung as a way of selling sweets on the streets. An American style evolved on Caleta Beach and your night in Cadiz is a good way to feel flamenco’s location in the vast musical tree.

Return towards Seville on day seven, stopping to uncover gypsy flamenco routes in Alcala de Guadaira. There’s a superb converted farmhouse where the local flamenco association meet and information about local legend Juan Talega is stored. The Antonio Mairena Flamenco Art House in nearby Mairena del Alcor is another proud venue preserving the legacy of singers, guitarists and dancers. The three days of dance lessons created an understanding of the art; with this starting point you can really explore the subtleties, by meeting the legends behind the music. Return to Seville on day seven and a final performance in Triana. Note that this three-day route is intended to be flexible as schedules for performances and associations can be as improvised as the actual music.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Moulay Idriss – Introduction to the Sufi Orders

Today, you will fly from Seville to Fes then spend the afternoon walking through the holy city of Moulay Idriss. This was the first Islamic city in Morocco and the home of so many Sufi orders, which have formed and evolved over the centuries. With a Sufi guide you wander the labyrinthine streets of this venerated city and soak up information about the spiritual side to the music and society. In Andalusia you felt energy on the streets but Morocco is much slower and you’re encouraged to use all the senses, to feel as well as listen and smell and touch. After dusk and dinner you will have a brief intro session and get accustomed to the alternative beat of the Sufi rhythm.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Moulay Idriss – Volubilis Ruins and Joining the Drummers

This morning, Roman columns rise on the open plains, leftovers from the capital city of Roman Northwestern Africa. An ethereal atmosphere dances on the breeze, joining the quiet footsteps in remembering the past. Volubilis was where Islam was introduced to the Berbers, Christianity was proposed by the Romans, and Judaism was brought by traders. Join a meditation session in the ruins and feel your own connection, which will be an essential starting point to the afternoon’s drumming workshop. Singing praises and narrating through percussion, the Hmadsha Sufi Order is one of the most revered in the Islamic world. Their style is traditional and the workshop shows the core tenets of the music’s spirituality.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Fes – Introduction to Issawa Spiritual Music

The next day, your relaxed spiritual starting point makes it easier to explore the complicated maze of Fes. Your senses will be pummeled by impressions but you’ll already notice how the Sufi teaching helps you maintain patience, while also allowing the senses to indulge rather than get startled. Wander the twisting medieval alleys, take blind turns to spectacular mosques, follow the stalls from spices to camels, and drink plenty of sweet mint tea. After some time to relax at the hotel, you’ll savor an entire evening of Issawa chanting and drumming, as polyrhythms bring dancers into ecstatic trance-like states and you find your own place within the beat. Like others in Morocco, these are shared sessions where everyone is treated equally, from the most experienced musician to a newcomer.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 11: Fes – Jajouka Rhythm and Following the Musicians Through the Mountains

As your time in Morocco progresses there will become no defining line between a workshop and a performance, it is simply music. Arguably the most famous of the Sufi musicians, the Joujouka have influenced the Rolling Stones as well as other famous Western artists. You’ll spend the morning getting used to their rhythm and customs before following a mule caravan to Mount Zalagh, for a mint tea party at their revered shrine of Sidi Ahmed Al Barnoussi. With the sun setting over Fes, this is a special place for Sufis from across North Africa, and the Jajouka rhythm can be quick to induce a trance from all those who visit.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 12: Fes – Afternoon Workshop Around Gnawa Rhythms

Today you will discover a new style of music as the compositions of Gnawa, a West African Sufi, contrasts with the music of the last few days. Mixing Islamic Sufism with earlier tribal traditions, Gnawa has spread all across North Africa and has a major base in Morocco. Local musicians introduce you to the rhythms and the instruments involved, as well as the style of singing that can be so hypnotic. After an afternoon at leisure, you will join a Gnawa ceremony at an old Moorish palace in Fes, and lose yourself in a beat that has transcended cultural and national boundaries. Gnawa has a wonderful ability to make newcomers feel comfortable and forget their inhibitions, making the ceremony a safe space to explore the hypnotic quality of the trance rituals.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 13: Marrakech – Dekka Music and Joining the Performers on Djemaa El-Fna

Marrakech feels like a fantasy, an enduring city of orange hues, where the souks are alive with traders and tantalizing smells. Nothing can prepare you better than the teachings of the Sufis, and their music as their perceptions allow you to view the Marrakech labyrinth from the most captivating of perspectives. After your flight lands, you will be introduced to the city in the afternoon, before you listen to Dekka music in the evening, a non-religious musical form that maintains an air of ritual. It’s a form of Sufi that’s closer to popular Western music, almost like a stepping-stone between the musical forms. Another place to hear music tonight will be on Djemaa El-Fna square, where audiences experience the beats of tradition amid barbecue smells.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 14: Marrakech – Gnawa Dance Along With the Festivities of Andalusian and Sephardic Music

The next day in Marrakech will be free for you to explore the city at your leisure. Lanterns and spices spill from the stalls, exotic sounds echo through the narrow corridors, javelins of light illuminate spots on the cobbles. You can escape to gardens, explore palaces, and connect with the styles of history. In the evening, there will be two special performances to enjoy. First a festivity of Andalusia and Sephardic music, another chance to witness how Sufi music drifts toward other improvised styles. Then, you’ll attend a classical Gnawa dance performance that can continue long into the night, where you participate in the way you feel comfortable.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Days 15 – 16: Essaouira – Relaxing in the City That Inspired Hendrix

The modern capital of Gnawa is Essaouira, a cute walled city on the coast. Morocco becomes even more relaxed when the Atlantic Ocean breeze drifts through a city, creating a perpetual slumber that is perfect for the final days of a vacation. Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa were among the musicians that found inspiration here in the 1960s and 1970s, as they absorbed the rhythm and emotion of Gnawa music. With a local guide you will meet the musicians and join the gatherings that keep this music alive. While many of the stories have become folklore, there’s no doubt that this ancient city has a mystique emanating from the music.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 17: Marrakech – Departure

On your last day in Morocco, you’ll drive back to Marrakech for your international departure.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.