Saturday, September 8, 2012

Travel Tales: ‘La Tuna’ solves that Seville Mystery

DCVegasSeville2011 164It was late one night in Seville, Spain. The bar filled with robed musicians. . . from where they came, their reason for being there, a mystery to us. . .

Two weeks ago I wrote about searching for that elusive Spanish ‘duende’the  devilish Earth Spirit that captures  -- if you are lucky -- the souls of both performers and audience members with riveting emotion. (Click the blue link to read the original post.)  We found it among a group of musicians we'd happened upon who seemed as mysterious to us as the 'duende' itself . . .

DCVegasSeville2011 243

I asked if you’d had similar experiences. Your response was fabulous:

Heather at Lost in Provence wrote that a similar concept exists in Bali.  Called ‘Ngayah’, is applies to more than the just the arts.

Inka at GlamourGranny Travels said while in Galicia she “went in search of ‘morina’ that atavistic longing of the Galegos for their ‘tierra’.”

And then my blogosphere friend from Jamaica Marcia Mayne at Inside Journeys wrote that it had sparked a memory for her; of a similar experience in Spain:

“We just happened on it in a restaurant. There were maybe 4-6 guys playing various instruments, a bucket or vat of sangria that we kept drinking from and singing along.

I remember that it was so much fun, we stayed until the restaurant closed around 1 a.m. or so. Even now, some 20-30 years later, I can feel the warmth, the camaraderie of that evening. We told our professor -- we were in Spain to study Spanish - and I remember him telling us a bit of the history of the Tuna but from the link you sent, I see it's been around for 700 years - impressive! I doubt we knew then that we were part of something so quintessentially Spanish.

I hadn't thought of the Tuna for a long time. In fact, the name was on the tip of my tongue as I wrote my comment. I wasn't sure I'd remember but just before I finished, it came to me and I decided to Google it.”

Marcia’s Google search solved our late night Seville mystery. Here’s one of many videos on You Tube of . . .yes, indeed. . .La Tuna. 

Like modern-day pen pals, Marcia and I began sending each other information about La Tuna and Lorca, the Spanish poet I quoted in the first post. One find was a web article that explains these troubadours have been around since 1215, the time of King Alfonso. 

DCVegasSeville2011 253The members were university students who in the beginning used these traveling performances to pay for their education; today it is an activity steeped in history and keeps alive the tradition of the medieval minstrels.

DCVegasSeville2011 200

"The duende….Where is the duende?

Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odor of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things."
--Federico Garcia Lorca

Thanks to Marcia at Inside Journeys for use of her photo and content used in this post.  Hope you'll come back on Monday to see whereTravelnWrite will be Meandering to then. . .


  1. What a happy coincidence, eh Jackie? I love this! I'm glad I helped solve the mystery. It shows how rewarding being part of this blogging community is.
    Thanks for the mention. I can't wait to go back to Spain again!

  2. Maybe you should think about writing mystery novels, Marcia! (Set in Spain???)

  3. What do you know? I thought I was the only one who's heard of "duendes". When I was in the Philippines, I was amused to see how seriously the locals talk about the influence of "duendes" in their daily lives.

  4. I will file this one away -- sounds like one could do a
    'spirit'-ual' travel trip almost anywhere in the world if you just pay attention to local customs and beliefs. Thanks for visiting, Michael.

  5. What a beautiful experience! I wrote about the Duende being in Mexico a few months ago but have yet to experience cultures that really invoke and respect the Duende (I hear it's so big in Latin America, and obviously Spain). Thanks for sharing!

  6. Charu, thanks so much for writing. I hadn't thought of duende and Mexico until you commented. You've added to our growing list of those who've found a 'spirit of place'. Hope you'll visit again!


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