El Real Alcázar – diary Sevilla part 4


Tuesday 8th of August +/- 21:00

Finally sitting down after quite some walking and impressions. Yesterday, I had the second lesson with Pili, she learned me some new letras. The lesson was in the evening, so I spend the rest of the day practicing and walking through the city.

Today I rose at 09:00 to study, since the lesson was already at 13:15. Maria just gave a dancing class and because her students had arrived a bit later, they had just finished. It was interesting to hear a small part of the conversation between Maria and the students, who were surprised about the leading role they needed to take compared to other dances, where you – as they putted it – ‘just flow’. In the Flamenco there is a very active alertness. According to Maria you will not notice the signals between the dancers and the musicians when they already know each other, thus subtle the interplay can be. So imagine how sensitive and alert one must be taking part in the Flamenco art. For me another very interesting part of the Flamenco is the structure. Dance and music are one and in a performance there is usually a structure which follows more or less a certain order, but with a lot of freedom within that. As Maria explained: ‘Most of the time you do…’ – but never ‘You do…’. So there are a lot of surprises and it is not straightforward what will happen when playing and dancing together. I have been fascinated by the translations of the letras for Flamenco music from when I first started reading them – and especially when really starting to listen more to it after watching Carlos Saura’s movie ‘Flamenco Flamenco’ with subtitles (about a year ago). One of the things I found very strange was the fact that the lyrics seem to go from one subject to a total different one within one song. It’s not one song, but small parts of poetry put together. I just started understanding this learning the different letras in the singing lessons. Sometimes Pili even starts singing a completely different text, but with the same melody as one of the letras she did learn me. The letras I learned today were a bit more complex, with more syncopation, leaning in the tempo (so it just fit’s the compass) and a lot of mellismas. The compass is just starting to become part of me, so all this tricks with tempo are still quite challenging and memorizing all the lyrics in Spanish takes also some time, but I really like learning this. Because Pili has such a good compass the singing and clapping together and repeating helps a lot.

After the lesson I transferred the files I recorded and after a look at the route to the Alcazar, I went to visit it. The people were not very friendly nor polite in helping me with tickets for the Flamenco show at the garden and letting me buy a ticket to pay a visit to the royal palace. Though I didn’t receive student charge I decided to go, because I was very curious. And Patrick also said it was really worth visiting the place. He was certainly right: it was wonderful. Actually, this is a place where you could get lost. The palace itself was huge, not to mention the enormous gardens, baths, royal bedrooms. Now I finally saw the lovely mudejar-style in full glory. And it was as if walking through the tales of 1001 night. I could say lots and lots about it, but again my description will never in anyway capture the magic and the beauty of such a majestic and magical building, where every part you see is decorated in detail. I could watch every inch at least one minute – and there were so many inches! After this visit I looked for a specific restaurant I had found before where every night live Flamenco can be heard. Meanwhile I had the opportunity to walk into the cathedral – a somewhat strange experience, because the Alcazar had already been too much of impressions after all the walking, intensive studying and the heat. And it was so Catholic, compared to all the azuleo’s before in the Alcazar. But still, I enjoyed seeing the place and being inside- especially the colours of the window that were reflected near the ceiling. While tourists were kept out of the mass by security the ones who liked to join the religious part could ask to pass the rope and so there was devotion that accepted the people walking around and taking pictures. I also walked into quite some shops, of which some were very inspiring. They had either the 1001-night atmosphere, with hand-made jewelry, beautiful lamps, Sephardic music, or they were selling ceramics from Sevilla. Of course, there are also a lot of very touristic souvenir shops and I walked into some of them, just for the experience. Though I’d really loved to buy a lamp or ceramic, there would just not be enough room in my bag to make it fit safely, but I found the earrings I’ve been looking for quite a while.


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