Sunday 6th of August
Before telling about the rest of my adventures and experiences, let me tell something about the Flamenco. As I heard people speaking about disliking Fado very much when hearing it for the first time, I also heard a lot of people saying this about Flamenco. In my personal experience, it is less accessible than Fado, because once it starts it requires attention. And Flamenco singing is not about beauty, it is about pureness. A very important word associated with Flamenco is Duende. This is something like being bewitched by the music. At the moment I hear Flamenco, there is only the music and listening to it. But is you don’t feel this enchantment, I can imagine it must be horrible to hear the music for some people. Sometimes the singing is more like shouting and the voices are rough. At my study I also once discussed about Flamenco singing with the teacher I had at that moment, who is originally classically. She was against it and a lot of people warned me don’t to try to imitate the sound of a Flamenco voice. I think that imitating a sound does not have anything to do with the pureness that is the essence of Flamenco, so I’m looking for the way how I would sing it. In The Hague I took one lesson of Erminia Fernadez Cordoba and she helped me a lot. In this lesson I really experienced that one phrase can sound exactly the same way, but that the intention makes the difference. So this is challenging.
Flamenco is a more complex style, because of the great variety it carries. Very important is the compass, this is a rhythmical cycle. In most cases the compass has twelve beats, but not divided equally. The way of dividing the beats depends on the form. You have many different forms, these are called palos. Not all of them are dances, but most of the time music and dance are not divided within the Flamenco, they are intertwined. Below you are able to see a picture of the Palos tree, where all the palos are written down. (Here is also a link for a website which explains the differences between them very clear and complete: palos de Flamenco).
Soleares is considered as the mother of all the palos. Solea comes from the word soledad, which can be translated as loneliness. A solea is a very intense form of Flamenco, with a lot of melancholy within it. Since I had also been singing a lot of Fados that are sad and melancholy and started learning to sing Amanes, which you can compare to sublimated crying, I decided that I would like to start studying on the Allegria. As it names makes clear, this is a style about joy and happiness.
Yesterday evening at La Carboniera it was nice to hear the Flamenco again. I met a girl and her family from Taiwan. She had been learning Spanish and told she also liked to learn Portuguese. I asked her about the traditional music from Taiwan and she showed me some of the old temple music. Her nephews didn’t agree that this was representative for Taiwan and when I asked what music they liked better and listened more to, it turned out that this was popular music, comparable to artists like Tailor Swift. On my way back I passed a church, where I saw that the mass the next day would be at 12:00. It seemed an interesting experience to go there, because religion is very important for the people that live here.
So today I went there. Well there’s not very much to say about actually. There were some prayings and some rituals and there was of course a preach. I didn’t understand everything, but decided to stay till the end. There was one moment I liked: the shaking of hands. People of all ages were there and they also walked around in the church to shake more hands.
After this I went to Triana, which is at the other side of the Qualquivir in Sevilla. Climbing down a staircase, I found a place to practice for the next lesson right in front of the river. After a while I was joined by some fishermen (as I’m used to now, speaking only in Spanish). I asked if they had caught anything when I left and the older man was very enthusiastic in responding by letting me try. I didn’t catch a fish, but it was a funny experience to just sit down there, hear the Spanish talking and understand globally what they were talking about. People use to say that I’m very patient, but I think any fisherman will have more patience than I have. When I’d thanked the fishermen and left them to have a walk in Triana and find some fruit, it was very quiet. Even the market wasn’t alive, except for some people sitting down at a terrace inside to have a drink. Because of the heat and the haze spread by the sun, it was as if there were no people living in this city at all. The main street was not necessarily very beautiful, but walking into some smaller streets, there were some beautiful buildings.
I went back to the hostel where I had a quick shower, found some fruit and ate it at the Plaze del Museo (which is very close to the hostel). At this Plaza there were the usual men sleeping under the trees and on some stone seats. I went back to the bridge and did some more studying at the same spot. The fishermen came to me when they had a very big catch and showed it proudly. I had dinner at a food hall on the other side of the bridge (Puente Isabel II). It was a modern place, a lot more people than I had found on the streets today and music that you might hear going to a club. Then I went back to the Triana side to a place called T de Triana, where Maria had invited me to come to a Flamenco performance, where she also would be dancing herself.
It was a unique performance: Maria had to find another singer and guitar player, because the musicians who would usually play and sing were not available. The singer and guitarist were both really enjoying the performance and to see and hear them play really gave inspiration. The voice of the male singer was incredible, I am very glad that I’ve had the opportunity to hear him sing. Maria’s dancing is something that will stay with me after this journey as well, I’m sure. If somebody is really good at performing a specific art and you watch them, it is as if everything is balanced, everything fit’s, it looks as if that person doesn’t have to do any effort, but it’s just natural. This was what I experienced seeing Maria dance, it had feeling, it was refined and detailed. At the concert I also met a lovely family from Australia. They considered it to be important to bring their children in touch with different cultures at a young age and they seemed to enjoy the Flamenco as much as the others did and were enchanted by it. It was lovely speaking with their parents and meeting the four of them. They even invited me to visit them at the Provence, where they have a house. A very sweet invitation! There was also a couple, originally from Britain, then living in Switzerland for a long time and now in Malta. They were also friends of Maria and we had a lovely talk about many subjects, culture being a main one. On my way to the hostel I continued my studying.