To Flamenco

Sat 5 aug 15:48 

I will do some diary posts about the further travelling in Sevilla, where I went to hear and learn the Flamenco at the place where it developed and is still very much alive.

(It is without pictures, since I have no camera with me.)

The first thing that came to my mind once I stepped out of the train in Sevilla yesterday was if what I experienced was real. It felt as if I stepped into a sauna. With all my luggage and guitare I’d planned to walk to the hostel, but by checking if I was heading to the right direction nobody knew the streets I was looking for and Spanish was the only language they spoke (and I do not, unfortunately). In advance my dad really wanted me to take a taxi and at his proposal I laughed, but now it seemed no bad idea with a temperature of 45 degrees. Once in the hostel, the wifi didn’t work and I slept for a while, since I’d travelled from 21:25 the evening before. I started to walk to la Carboniera, a Flamenco bar and meanwhile discovered the streets of Sevilla.

It was difficult to leave Lisboa, I really had become fond of the city and now I really felt Saudade for Lisboa itself.  After the filming Annick, Thomas, Merlijn and I stayed in Lisboa and after Annick edited the trailer, she and Thomas left to do some more traveling. Merlijn and I stayed at Casa dos Baldaques. We saw some more beautiful places of Lisboa, had really good food, visited Pedro once more and visited Casa Amalia Rodrigues together with Rik, went to a beach and of course talked a lot.
It was interesting to conclude that in my way of looking to different styles of music different I have to let go of some institutionalized views and I have already done so for a great deal. These views are very helpful for musicians who perform for their profession, but having a look at musical styles in general is also looking to it’s roots and places where it is kept alive. These are not only professional musicians, but also the people, like the inhabitants of Lisboa who all seem to sing Fado, who all know the music and make it. Merlijn looks to all music as if looking to musicians (so with this institutionalized view), but not everybody who sings Fado (in this case), is a musician. In Flamenco, the bringing of emotions is even considered to be more important than technique. When a fabulous singer sings, but there is no feeling in it, it would not be as much approved as a singer with less technique, but a lot of feeling. So there is a small area where you always will ask what is more important (technique or emotion), depending on style, situation and people that are making the music. I think there is no straight answer for what is more important. As a musician they go, of course, hand in hand. As for people who are making music, but are not necessarily musicians, I’m sure technique will to enrich their music and to keep doing it without getting harmed (like loosing their voices, or pain because of tension in playing an instrument).

After Merlijn left I packed, played some Fado’s and payed a last visit to Alfama and Museu de Fado. In the museum, I bumped into one of Magda’s other students, who was in Lisboa for some days. We talked a while and then I had some time to experience the whole museum, hear and see everything. Especially the exposition of Saura’s film touched me, it was so inspiring to see all his sketches and some touching quotes. I found recognition in his way of creating and since his movies, especially the film ‘Fados’, are important for me, seeing his sketches, art, his own-designed camera’s, was a beautiful experience.

Now I’m starting to feel more at home in Sevilla. The heat is still here and it doesn’t go away once the sun goes down, but I’m getting more used to it. Everything is slower and it feels as if there is a constant haze, not only over all the places, but also over all events. Once arrived by La Carboniera, a guitarist was playing and practicing. I had some lemonade, listened for a while. There were some people from Italy and they had some talking with the guitarist. I understood enough to know what they talked about and it was interesting to hear how the guitarist gave some examples on how to make different popular songs sound like Flamenco. I had to find a place where I could use wifi, to check when a singing lesson would be possible and also where I had to be. After some dwelling I succeeded and discovered some more places where live Flamenco can be heard. Later on, I went back to La Carboniera, where I met a Dutch couple. They were good company and it was also good to talk a bit myself (since everybody I met, with exception of the people who run the hostel, speaks only Spanish). I ordered some olives as a tapas and apparently the warning texts for big tapas where indeed true: the amount of olives was a full plate! When the Flamenco started, the singer hushed for silence to hear the guitar. There was already this haze of the heat, which made the enchantment of the music and the dancing even more natural. I was flabbergasted that in this heat the singer, guitarist and female dancer could have so much strength in their performance. They paused and did another set and at the end of the evening another guitarist performed. By then a guitar player from Cyprus had started talking to me. He was also here to learn the Flamenco (he is classically trained), but already for the fifth time. But it was not until last year that he discovered La Carboniera, so I am lucky Patrick Broekema tipped me about it.

This day I met Maria la Serrana and El Pilli for the first singing lesson. It was very helpful that Maria was there to translate and also she was an extra support in keeping the compass (the rhythmic basis the Flamenco). Maria and Pilli actually had in mind to start with a Tango, but they were also alright with my request to start with an Allegrias (which is a form about joy and celebrating). It was not easy, but at the end of the lesson I had more feeling for it, by listening and repeating. Meanwhile we also talked a bit about the Flamenco and this was also helpful. So now it’s 17:03, I will practice a bit, walk back to the hostel to publish the diary and do a walk to and from La Carboniera, so I will be sure how to get back tonight (in the end I got home by a taxi, because it was quite late and I was not sure about the right directions).

Gwendolynn

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