Showing posts with label Federico Garcia Lorca. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Federico Garcia Lorca. Show all posts

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 . . .

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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.

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"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. . .

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

TPThursday: Searching for Duende in Seville

Duende.  A Spanish concept as hard to define as it is to find.

But I was bound and determined to find it last year in Andalucia.

Prior to our trip, I was inspired by the writings of Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca who discussed the elusive concept in the book “In Search of Duende” (A New Direction Pearls publishers, 1975).

Lorca described duende ‘as a power, not a work. . .a struggle, not a thought.’ Likening it to a demonic ‘earth spirit that captures an artist, be it a bullfighter, Flamenco dancer or musician’  in such a manner as to cause an emotional – even physical response – by the audience.

In theory, we would know it was duende when we found it.

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With our legal and journalist backgrounds, finding such a thing would be a stretch of our ‘fact and figures’ approach to life. I anticipated it would require attending a bull fight or a flamenco performance to even have a chance at experiencing duende, but then as we walked back to our hotel in Seville late one night. . .

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We saw through the open back door of a tavern that is was packed with men in dark robes with colorful sashes, patches and a few tassels. We’d noticed similar dress on a few people we’d passed earlier on the street. It sounded like they were having fun, so curiosity – or was it that rascal duende – led us inside for a closer look . . .

DCVegasSeville2011 241. . .at the red and white sashes, the patches and other adornments on  their outfits:

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It didn’t matter that we were the only English speaking twosome in their midst; certainly the only Americans.  In our broken English/Spanish conversation we think they told us they were from various universities, they gathered annually at different locations in Spain.

DCVegasSeville2011 245To this day and despite Google searches we still aren’t sure exactly who they were or what they did, why they gather, or why they were in town. 

But sometimes that really isn’t important when you think back on an experience. . .

Especially when it was an experience like no other we had in Spain because when they picked up their instruments and began to play music. . .and sing. . .

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The atmosphere changed as first one and then others picked up instruments and joined in. . .

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The man in the center, a patron at the bar, requested a particular song and they began to sing it. . .

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A song of such power and emotion that soon the patron – with a deep, strong voice – had joined in. . .

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Here I should note that earlier in the evening Joel had told the woman in the photo that I had been searching for duende on this trip. . .

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We were caught up by the music’s intensity, the vibrancy in the small place, the spontaneity of the continuing song-fest . . .

DCVegasSeville2011 254Duende?”
You want duende?” 
This, . . . this, is duende!” she said to me.

But she didn’t need to tell me that.
I knew it was duende – I’d felt it too.

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“But there are neither maps nor exercises to help us find the duende. . . .
The great artists of the south of Spain, whether Gypsy or flamenco, whether they sing, dance or play, know that no emotion is possible unless the duende comes. . .”
- Federico Garcia Lorca

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Have you ever searched for something so elusive in your travels? Did you find it?

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