Writings from Sevilla, 2007 Part 6

More photos (of events described below) have been uploaded HERE.
We have also revised some of the other albums, so take a look. 

Friday June 15, 2007
What I love about Spain is this. After my class this evening, Freddie and I went out to La Giganta for tapas. Luisito was over when I returned from class. After he left and by the time we had talked to Paco and Pilar about hotels for tomorrow, it was almost 11:30 PM and we went out for dinner. La Giganta had their delicious lamb tonight, the best in Spain that I have ever tasted. Freddie and I sat outside, by the church, eating and watching the throngs of people. The restaurant was full of Sevillanos sitting outside at the tables, eating tapas and drinking.  It looked like everyone was enjoying the evening and life in general. Freddie and I both felt so happy.

On the way home we stopped to watch Sevillanas danced by Sevillanos (people from Sevilla). There was a neighborhood festival in the large Ponce de Leon parking lot between the church and the big street we cross to get home. There were two girls singing on stage. And then they called up Pepe Peregil, the old-ish man who is the singer who owns the bar in our plaza. I have already written about going into his bar and dancing Sevillanas with my hands from the bar stool. Peregil (pronounced “pear- ay- hill” (it means parsley) was standing right near us on the sidewalk. He came up to the stage, said something about not having his teeth on, and then began to sing some slow Sevillanas (the traditional dance of Sevilla, often seen in Flamenco shows in the U.S.). He was incredible. I know I have heard him on records, but here he was singing in person. This somewhat fat, plain looking middle-aged to old man sang incredibly beautifully. His strong, rich voice captivated the crowd. This was the kind of performance you travel to see, and here we had stumbled on it on our way home from dinner, in the cool summer night that didn’t have rain. (The weather has been cloudy and there was a short drizzle late this afternoon).
We got home by 1:15 AM and had to call Paco and Pilar back about hotels. We will actually do all of the calling to the hotels in the morning, because it got too late tonight. Now it is 2:00 AM and I need to get to bed, because we have to leave by noon tomorrow to go to Malaga. We haven’t been to Malaga before so this should be fun. We pick up the car around noon. I might not have another chance to write until Monday morning, or possible Sunday night.

Wednesday June 20, 2007
I was sure right about not writing. It is already Wednesday and I feel like I have not written in months. So many exciting things happen to us here in Spain. Our trip to Malaga was truly magical.

Friday June 22, 2007
I will write about the weekend but first must describe the current. We discovered a new delicious restaurant today, Bar Casa Eme in Puerta Osario about two or three minutes away from our apartment, the opposite direction of La Giganta. Lakshmi, Luis and Paco had all told us about it when we first arrived, but when we’ve gone there it has always been past its food serving hours or it has been too full. We tried several times. But tonight, just before eleven, after a quick video chat with Elun and granddaughter Josephine, we left the house and headed there. Freddie walked, just using his cane at times. He left his wheelchair at home.
First we passed an even closer Bar we had wanted to try, but it was full outside. So we continued to walk, because we always like sitting outside and eating. Tonight was balmy and I didn’t have to put on either of the two shirts I carried in case it got breezy.
At Bar Casa Eme we found a table that was still dirty and that had no chairs. I quickly rounded up some unused chairs from other tables and moved them over. Of course they cleaned the table for us. We started with a coctel de marisco. This was shrimp placed over a head of shredded lettuce with a pink sauce. It looked like a dessert. They served it in a large round glass cup attached to a glass stem. It was so good, that after two tapas of coquinas (tiny clams in butter and garlic) and a mondadito of Solomillo (fresh, pork sandwiches on toasted bread) we ordered two more coctel de mariscos. What a feast. There were only Spaniards there tonight. It is not in a passageway like La Giganta, so you have to come looking for it intentionally.
It was very friendly. The kindly older man would call out whatever was ready and then the patron would get up and get his or her food. Inside there were no tables, but two small counters, like bars (which it was) where you could order, and a place to stand and eat if you wanted to. That is where they write down in chalk, on the top of the counter, what you eat. It is your tab. Every bar used to do it that way a long time ago, but that is now a rapidly fading custom. This year we’ve only seen it in a few of the bars. The walls of Bar Casa Eme, like so many of the little bars, are plastered with photos of paintings of Jesus and Mary. The Virgin is big here. Spain has many virgins in its religion.
We got home around midnight, stuffed and tired. Then I had to take my shower and wash my hair. Luckily it is so warm that my hair should be almost all dry by the time I go to bed. I always have to shower after dance class because here I sweat.
I haven’t had time to write lately. I have so many magical things to tell, but they will have to wait until Sunday. Tomorrow early I or we go shopping with Pilar. Saturday night is the second night of the Carmen Ledesma Concurso, a big Flamenco dance contest having something to do with Carmen Ledesma, a local Flamenco dancer and teacher who is also a friend of Concha’s. We first met her at a party at Concha’s in 1999. Lakshmi has just started to study dance with her in addition to with Concha, and Lakshmi loves Carmen Ledesma too.
So tomorrow night a good dancer is supposed to be dancing in the Carmen Ledesma Concurso (contest) at the Peña. Lakshmi dances there on July 5. I like to see the shows. The concurso is at the Torres Macarena Peña, where I went and which I described early in this trip.
Sunday we are supposed to see Juan and Lucy but I should be able to find some time to write a little more. I am way behind. I’ve also had a hoarse, and sometimes lost voice, which might be the result of a little cold, although I don’t really feel sick. I am coughing a little and my nose ran a little. But drinking warm honey and lemon seems to have done the trick for now.  
I’m going to go to bed even though I feel like writing. I want to get some sleep and it is already 1:15 AM. I’ll make it by 1:30 if I turn off this computer.
The internet went out sometime after we went out for dinner. It is still not on. This is the first time this has happened here in Spain. I’ll have to figure out what to do tomorrow if it is still out. I feel so cut off. Interesting.

Last Tuesday Lakshmi danced at Casa Badia again, but I was too tired to go at the last minute and went to Pilar’s class instead. Freddie went to a school dance recital of Soleá’s and videoed her performance. After Pilar’s class I visited Ethan and Cihtli and got my Part V writings printed so I could review them before I sent them. I always end up staying there late when I go to visit them, and this was no exception. I think I ended up in the draft of an air conditioner because after that my voice went hoarse. The next evening, after a great daytime cante class with Juan, I lost my voice entirely.
It is especially strange to lose my voice when Freddie can’t speak much either. We were like the two mutes. But we managed. I had called Lakshmi and she got scared that something was wrong, because she couldn’t hear me. I had to pass the phone to Freddie who was able to tell her I was OK. She came over anyway, as she and her friend Ed from San Diego were just leaving Triana. It was about one AM. So we didn’t even get to sleep until about 2:30 that morning. It is a good thing we take long siestas.

Saturday June 23, 2007
Thursday at dance class we had to do the Bulerías again solo. I had to dance it near the end and although parts of my dance I thought were still messy, I danced it with gusto and feeling and fun and got a lot of applause. Friday when I arrived at class, Alegría, La Farruca’s little eight-year old daughter, told me I had danced the Bulerías very well. The day before little Manuel had given me the sign that I had done well. In class on Friday the Farrucos were videoing. On camera, they introduced each dancer, of course using the funny nicknames that Pilar has given many of the students. Again I was near the end. When they got to me Pilar introduced me as having more arte than anyone. I was amazed. Pilar is always saying that it doesn’t matter if you mess up, just stay in compás and dance it with “arte”. I guess I did. It was fun.
I seem to have gotten a little cold. My hoarse voice started to get better and now I have a very slight runny nose and a slight cough. I cough when I dance or try to sing. I’ve canceled my Juan classes until maybe tomorrow, depending on how I feel. Yesterday Freddie and I both had massages again with Alicia and Perla. Freddie had been hurting so I knew it was time for a massage.
This morning I called Telefonica and we managed to restore my internet connection. I had to follow directions in Spanish and I actually did very well and now it is working again. We had to reset the router.

Last Saturday we went to Malaga. I didn’t have time to call the hotels first as I had planned. When we went to pick up the car, they did not have the one we had reserved and we had trouble finding one with a trunk big enough to accommodate the wheelchair and Paco’s performance clothes and his guitar. Finally they decided to upgrade us with a beautiful Citroen with no extra charge. Magic number one.
We had a smooth, easy ride, stopping once for drinks and bathrooms and to buy Soleá some gifts. Freddie, especially, had fun picking out things for Soleá. They are “best friends”. We got her a painted clock and a giant pencil and sharpener. Soleá had stayed with Pilar’s parents in Sevilla.
After about three hours we arrived in the small pueblo just outside of Malaga, Alhaurín de la Torre, around six o’clock, later than we had planned. First we located the venue of the show. Then we looked for hotels. We found out that all the small hostels were full, except for one that had cockroaches, which of course we didn’t want. We went looking for the fancy hotel outside of town that Paco had originally wanted and which he had found, with a price, on the internet. First we stopped at the only other hotel in town, which was a week old. It was cold and a little more expensive than the hotel we were looking for, the Sol Andulsí.
So we continued on to the Sol Andulsí. There we found the prices even more expensive and were told we could book through the internet at the lower prices we had seen, but the number we had to call was closed for the rest of the weekend. They ended up giving us a deal and it was lower than the other hotel. The room that Freddie and I had was an apartment, and it was bigger than the apartment that we rent in Sevilla! It looked out on mountains and hotel lawn. We had taken the last two free rooms they had left. Magic number two.
Paco and Pilar’s room/apartment was a little smaller, but also very nice. It looked out on a lake. Both the rooms had kitchens in them and balconies.
On the way to look at our rooms, we ran into  CONTACT _Con-3DB3B75B11E6 \c \s \l Elena Bermudez, the former wife of El Cabrero and a former agent of Concha’s. She and I have always gotten along so it was a total pleasure to see her. We hadn’t seen her since 2003 (see Chronicles from 2002 and 2003). Magic number three.
We had missed lunch, so the hotel served us tapas. We sat outside in the shade by a fountain. Walking to the edge of that large terrace, we saw below a lake and a lake-like swimming pool. We felt as if we had entered a palace. Paco went to explore. Then we ate and went to our rooms to shower and rest up for the night, which would be very long.
Around ten that night we drove to the show and luckily got special parking for the performers, right near the door. Freddie left the wheel chair in the trunk of the car. The event took place in an old soccer field, much like the bull rings that other Flamenco events take place in. We went directly to a special place where the performers and their friends hung out and got served food and drinks. Paco would be performing with his sister, Esperanza Fernandez. Besides El Cabrero, whom we knew would be performing, we got some wonderful surprises. Manuela Carrasco was there. With her were Manuel Molino, Torombo, and Rafael del Carmen. Manuel greeting us like old friends. It was great to see Torombo again. He has a mustache and is thinner and at first we didn’t recognize him, although it looked like him! We were “presented” to Manuela Carrasco and had our photos taken with her and with Manuel, our two idols. More magic.
Manuela’s group performed and so did the singers Fernando Terremoto (the son), Cancanillo (sang and danced), and Calixto Sanchez (of whom I am not that fond).
It was the 34th festival of Cante at that town. We had a wonderful time, of course, and got to bed by 5:30 AM. Magic again.
We got up late the next morning and went to Torremolino, a beach town very close to where we were. There is a Sevillana (song) about Torremolino. We ate fresh grilled sardines and other delicious food at a restaurant on the beach. Then we went to the beach and actually went in the freezing cold water. It was about six at night by then and the weather was still very warm!
We took a leisurely ride back to Sevilla, picked up Soleá and were dropped off at home. What a magical trip. The next day Paco and Pilar came by for me and we returned the car to the rental agency. Soleá loved the car so much she suggested that they leave their red car there and keep the rental car!
When we got home, we realized that Freddie hadn’t used the wheelchair the whole time we were out. How wonderful.
That night, Monday, Lakshmi had her “prueba” audition at Los Gallos. She had missed the hiring season because she was in the US at the time, and they do not need dancers right now, as everyone has a contract. But Lakshmi will be available for substitutions. She danced beautifully. Also, surprising us, was Pepe (Pepito) Torres. He is now working there and danced a spectacular Siguiriyas. He is better than ever. Pepe stayed with us once when he was in California with Miguel Funi and David Serva and Clara Mora. He also ate dinner at our home when he was on tour with Farruquito, and his and Juana Amaya’s troupes all visited us after the Santa Cruz show. Pepe dances even better now and he was already wonderful then.
And last Thursday we found out that Manuela Carrasco’s troupe would perform for free at Hotel Triana that evening. Hotel Triana is an outside venue in the courtyard of a former hotel. We have seen many wonderful Flamenco shows there. Of course I went to see the show. Freddie was too tired so he stayed home. I think it was partly that he didn’t want to struggle with the wheelchair. It was great and I got sit in the third row. It was the same show we had seen on Saturday and it was wonderful to see it again. Lakshmi met me there after her rehearsal at El Patio Sevillano where she will start working in July.
Monday and Wednesday I had a wonderful singing class with Juan again and then my voice got hoarse and I haven’t had one since.

Sunday June 24, 2007
Yesterday we went to a shopping mall in Mairena with Paco and Pilar and Soleá. I always seem to buy beautiful things when I go shopping with Pilar. She has an excellent eye and brings me things to try on that I hadn’t even looked at! We ate some Mexican food and then went back to their house in Gelves, which was nearby. Pilar made me some Tomilla tea for my throat. Soleá watched the DVD we had for her made of her school dance performance which Freddie had videotaped. Pilar, the angel, is hemming the pants that Freddie and I bought and altering one blouse for me. She is wonderful at sewing, an art I never developed. She says she learned by necessity, altering clothes for Paco.
I danced the Bulerías I had learned from Pilar (Farrucos) for Paco and Pilar, and of course I practiced it a lot after I got started. They loved it and both exclaimed about the arte with which I danced it. I think something good has happened to my dancing. I am having a lot of fun with it. I also started teaching part of it to Pilar. Paco videotaped it, but it got erased by mistake before we saw it. Later we went to Pilar’s parents’ house to eat caracoles (snails). Paco brought the camera over to Pilar’s parents to show them my dance but it wasn’t on the tape. I ended up dancing the Bulerías again there. They loved it. It is improving. I don’t have a place to practice, but I go to bed and wake up doing it in my head. That helps but there were some things I had to actually practice and I was able to do that at Paco and Pilar’s, because they have a house so it doesn’t disturb the neighbors.
Pilar’s father Andres gave us a signed photo of him playing guitar at his shop. We will put it up in our studio. He is a very well known and well respected guitar maker and used to be a professional guitarist for many years when he was younger. Freddie has one of his guitars, the fancy one, with all the beautiful inlay on it.
At Paco and Pilar’s we looked at some of their old photo albums. Paco has photos of him playing with Paco de Lucia and Tomatito and other great artists. Even in the photos of him when he was in the military he is holding a guitar instead of a gun!
They want me to watch one of Esperanza’s singing classes. I hope my voice gets better soon so I can sing again without coughing. I’m thinking of going to the doctor if I don’t get well soon. Freddie can have another check up at the same time and do his monthly blood work a little early.
We didn’t go to the Concurso last night because I had the date wrong. Luckily I called Diana first and found out. The show Friday night had been canceled so we haven’t missed anything yet. It will be nice to see the young up-and-coming dancers.

After a late breakfast Freddie and I went back to bed and took a great nap. Later Lakshmi came over today to give Freddie a Spanish class. Before the class she and I walked out to eat and brought back food for Freddie, who felt like practicing guitar instead of eating. It was a still and hot summer Sunday late afternoon outside. A lot of people had gone to the beach or were still in Madrid for the major soccer match that Sevilla won last night, getting the cup. It was surprisingly un-crowded and quiet.  La Giganta had closed early so we went to a place near Corte Ingles, which they recommended. It was not that good, but a slight breeze wafted through the alleyway where we ate and that was nice. We stopped at the ice cream place on the way back and brought home delicious Spanish ice cream for dessert.
After class Lakshmi has to go rehearse at El Patio, so she will know all the numbers well by the time she starts in July. It is good that she is young. I myself am enjoying resting. I wore the new coral blouse today that I bought yesterday with Pilar. It felt great to wear coral, a color I rarely wear. I put it with the new turquoise cotton skirt with the shiny bangles on it that I bought in Torremolino just before coming home last Sunday. I matched my flip flops.
The zipper on my fanny pack broke so now I have to go shopping to replace it. Luckily, I brought an old purple back saver bag as a back up purse, but it looks pretty shoddy. I like to walk around Sevilla with a fanny pack so that my hands are free. But it looks like I’ll have to do something else for a while. Spanish people all carry purses and not fanny packs. But still it is safer, I think, less risky, to use a fanny pack.
Monday June 26, 2007
Today I went with Cihtli and her student Rosa, a Polish neurologist who lives in Atlanta, to Amelia’s, the modista (costume maker). Amelia now makes all Cihtli’s costumes. She is also Eva La Yerbabuena’s modista (a famous, movie-star-like modern Flamenco dancer). Amelia’s costumes are beautiful. I went specifically to get a practice bata (a bata de cola is a skirt or dress with a long train). I will start to study how to work with the bata, which is supposed to make your dancing better in general, according to both Cihtli, Lakshmi and others too. I first studied bata a little with Pepa Montes in San Francisco, but I didn’t have a bata in my size, so it was difficult with the huge ones she provided.
I ordered an orange bata with white lunares (large polka dots). This coral theme has overcome me! Then I ordered a turquoise dress whose underskirt will have lunares too. It has been a long time since I’ve had a new costume made. They will both be suitable for Alegrías. I am so excited. Amelia has a house in the outskirts of Sevilla. Just like Salao, the famous costume maker who made my wedding dress, Amelia has a barking little dog. She is an artist, and I feel that I am in very good hands with her making the costumes. Cihtli is having two incredible costumes made. Rosa needed to have a bata re-done that she had ordered from a store off the street and they had cut important corners. Amelia will make it work. I really want Freddie to meet Amellia and to see her work.
On the way to meet Cihtli, I had stopped at a pharmacy and bought the pills that Pilar’s sister-in-law, Esperanza, had recommended. Pilar has two sister-in-laws named Esperanza. This one was married to her brother.
The other is Esperanza Fernandez the singer, Paco’s sister. After the modista, I went to sit in on a group singing class that Esperanza Fernandez was teaching. She is a marvelous teacher and now I want to study with her too. The students did very well. This class ends tomorrow. Next she will teach for five days in Cadiz, but I don’t want to miss five days of Pilar’s class. I’ll only go if it is too hot to stay in Sevilla or if Pilar doesn’t teach that week. What choices I have to make!  Next trip I will arrange to study singing with Esperanza too.     
My hoarse voice is slowly getting better, and I think the new pills are helping. I am taking wellness formula, homeopathic formula, lemon juice and honey, and now this sublingual medicine too. I already tried vitamin A for three days. When I squeeze the lemon juice, I use the small green plastic juicer that Chris Hansen gave us years ago when we were staying at La Carboneria and Freddie had a cold. I keep it stored here in Sevilla with our Sevilla things. When I use it, I always think of Chris and the kindness she showed us when she came with the juicer and some oranges and a small knife.
I miss my cante classes with Juan, but I listen to the recordings I put on my computer and ipod every day, even though I can’t sing yet.
After Esperanza’s class in the Macarena, I walked to Plaza Pelicano, passing a purse store where I bought myself a purse. The woman there knew all the Flamencos and used to dance Flamenco herself.
I ate a bite at Plaza Pelicano and then headed to Pilar’s class. I love her Bulerías.
On the way home, I met Luis’ mother, as planned, who came with me to the house. She will do a little house cleaning for us on Wednesday, which we really need. That is her profession, but she made extra time for us. She is a very nice person.
I had returned home a little after 9:30, sweaty and tired. I had left the house at quarter to one. It was a long day, but another good one.
This morning before I left, I went to the grocery store, came back and made us breakfast and a chicken soup, which we ate tonight with a salad after I returned. I also straightened the apartment and took out the garbage. Freddie slept.
At noon, the agency woman had come over and collected the extra rent and told me in a very nice way that the neighbors were complaining about us. We try to be so quiet. They said, in addition to noise, we always had a lot of people coming over, which is true. We have a lot of friends. The agency woman did not seem at all upset. Ah Spain.
I’m trying not to talk, but I talked to Juan, Lakshmi, Pilar and Pilar’s father, and Freddie by phone. And I had to talk to Amelia the modista and Cihtli and Rosa and the purse store woman. But I am improving. And now I’ll get to bed. This weekend will be another tiring one, I think, and I want to be well and well rested.
Today was the first time I have left Freddie for so long since we have been in Spain. He was able to call me and give me a message from Pilar (who only speaks Spanish). Freddie practiced guitar almost all day. His guitar is coming along and I am very happy. I had wanted him to come to the modista with me, but he was still sleeping and didn’t feel like it. He had wanted to come to Esperanza’s class, but Pilar, who was going to take him, ended up not going so there was no way for him to get there, as I came straight from the modista’s. Next time.

Thursday June 28, 2007
My voice is still hoarse, but it is getting better. Pilar’s class ends Friday, but today is my last day because Friday we are going to a show at Mairena del Alcor, which starts at 9 PM. We will video. Concha is performing with Antonio Moya, Ines Bacan, Pepa de Benito and others. It should be an incredible show. Then on Saturday we go to the festival at Alcalá where Paco is playing for Esperanza, and the Familia Fernandez will perform. That show has other greats in it too. We chose that over Potaje de Utrera, which doesn’t sound as good this year. Paco is playing at both, but we have to choose one and stay at one in order to see more. We chose Alcalá, which is closer to Sevilla.
Last Tuesday we went to the last Casa Badia show of the season. It wasn’t as magical as the first one, but it was great. Lakshmi danced again (her third time in a row). Antonio Moya played guitar but Mari didn’t feel like singing, so she didn’t. She is very pregnant. Paco and Pilar came with us. Concha canceled her Tuesday group classes so she could go watch Lakshmi. Carmen Ledesma was there too. The rest of Concha’s family, except for her oldest son Quintin, came. Carmen, her daughter, sang. She is excellent. I can’t believe how grown-up and beautiful she has become, now at almost seventeen. We first met her when she was eight years old, Soleá’s age. Now she is a young woman. The teenage girls and eight year old Soleá and Lakshmi started doing palmas and jaleo at a table. They were so cute and so “teenage”. It was another good night with the audience participating in the fiesta after the performance. Paco sang to his father and mother (Curro Fernandez and Pepa Vargas), and they sang while he played the guitar. Concha danced to Carmen’s cante and Curro (her son’s) guitar. We were formally introduced to la Susie, Pilar’s close friend and a famous singer here. She is also Manuela Carrasco’s sister-in-law. Her daughter was one of the teenaged girls, along with Carmen, Conchita, and other girl I don’t know.
We slept a lot of last Monday. Then I went to Pilar’s class. Yesterday we went to look at an apartment for sale, but it was ugly and too close to the Alameda. Then we stopped by Juan and Lucy’s and had a lovely visit with Lucy and ate salad with her. She and Juan are going to France on July 5. Juan will be there for three days performing at an important festival. Lucy will stay for two weeks visiting family. I had a short rest when we returned home and then I went over to Pilar’s dance class. Luis’ mother came over and cleaned our apartment as a gift. She wanted to do something to thank us for our hospitality to Luis and Lakshmi in the US. She is a phenomenal house cleaner (her profession). The house is shining.
Summer has hit Sevilla. Pilar won’t be teaching again in Sevilla until July 16, three full days before we leave. So we have decided to take Esperanza Fernandez’s Cantiñas cante workshop in Cadiz July 9 - 12. We will be by the beach, the best place to be in Spain when it gets hot. Freddie will also take guitar there from Paco who is teaching the guitar part of the workshop.
Lakshmi found out that her working papers might take longer than they thought, so she won’t be starting to dance at El Patio until they are in order. That means she can go to the beach with us and she will have a little more time. Once she starts working there she will be committed every night and will have all the evening rehearsals start up again. They are now stopped until the papers come through.
So life continues in Sevilla.

We went to see Dr. Bolaños today. I have a little cold and am already taking the correct medicine. Freddie is fine and he thinks Freddie doesn’t need another blood test until he returns home. He prescribed some vitamins for Freddie’s energy and some cough medicine for me, which we will get when the pharmacies open later today.

Friday night we will see 'Aluricán en azul y verde' in Mairena del Alcor. It is a Homenaje a Pedro Bacán. Here is the line-up:
AL CANTE: Inés Bacán (Pedro’s sister, and an incredible singer), Pepa de Benito, Rafael de Utrera, y Carmen de Quintín (Concha’s daughter Carmen)
AL BAILE: Concha Vargas, Carmen Ledesma, Fernanda Funi y Diego de la Margara
AL TOQUE: Antonio Moya, Curro Vargas (Concha’s son) y Sevi Bacán (Pedro Bacan’s and Jill’s son).
PALMAS: Antonio 'El Pelao' y Vicente Romaní
Entradas: 5 €.

Saturday night we will see the XXIX Festival Flamenco 'Joaquín el de la Paula' at Alcalá de Guadaíra. (Luis taught be a song about Joaquín el de la Paula, a famous singer from long ago, last spring when he was at our house.)
Al Cante: Esperanza Fernández, El Pele, Capullo de Jerez, José Valencia y Canela de San Roque hijo.
Al Baile: Juana Amaya y su cuadro flamenco. Fin de fiesta con Curro Fernández y familia
A la quitarra: Manuel Silveria, Niño Elías, Miguel Ángel Cortés y Jero hijo
Lugar: Castillo de Alcalá de Guadaíra
Entrada: 15 €

    We are renting a car for those two nights. We will go Friday with Paco, Pilar and Lakshmi. Saturday we will go with Paco and Pilar, as Paco is playing in both that festival and the Potaje de Utrera.
At class today no one knew about these shows. I went home and looked them up on the internet. I found out from Diana that the festivals in the small towns don’t advertise in Sevilla, as they are for their own town. Exceptions are Utrera and Moron, and some of the others, who cater to bringing in afficionados (people who love Flamenco) from Sevilla and other cities. We are so lucky to have found out about these shows. I passed the information on to Diana to spread around. The line-up is incredible.
Saturday night Ethan will play for Familia Fernandez, because Paco is already playing for Esperanza. I think of Ethan as the David Jones Serva of his generation, an American living in Spain and excelling on the guitar. They both have perfect mastery of Andalucian Spanish and David has been the sought after guitarist for traditional Gypsy singers for many years, including Miguel Funi. Now it looks as if Ethan is following in his path.

Friday June 29, 2007
    The show tonight, Homenaje a Pedro Bacan, was incredible.  Unfortunately, there was so little advertising that most people didn’t know about it and it was less than half full. Paco said that if we hadn’t told him, they wouldn’t have known about it. Clara Mora, David Jones Serva and Nandi came to Sevilla for it. What a magical and special production. Magic seems to be a major theme of this trip. We have been so lucky to see so much incredible Flamenco.

Sunday July 1, 2007
    I feel so lucky in so many ways. Even tonight I was looking at all the new shoes I’ve gathered here in Spain. I am becoming a small version of Emelda Marcos. I have two pairs of rhinestone sandals, a pair of red with white lunares ribbon-tied alpagatas, two pairs of gold sandals, and one dark gold-ish pair, a round toe flat gold shoe, and a Persian looking pointed toe, sequined, plastic slip on heel that I bought in a Chinese store for eight euros. A lot of them were very cheap, but there are a lot. And I am slowly breaking them in. Cihtli just gifted me a pair of gold thong sandals tonight. She loves shoes too. So does Pilar. So does Lakshmi.
    We went out with Cihtli and Ethan today, first for some bad Mexican food, then to an English-speaking movie, and then to an incredible Chinese restaurant. We always have such a good time when we see them. Freddie had to walk more than we thought, but he was able to do it. Even when he feels off, he is improving in his speech. He uses more and more complex sentences. His Spanish comprehension is improving too.
    When I took a nap yesterday, he practiced, playing some of his old  guitar material very slowly. It sounded good. I love to go to sleep listening to his guitar. It is nice to hear it again.
David and Clara called. They stopped by on their way to the train station. They had spent last night at Jill’s house in the outskirts of Sevilla. They were continuing on to Jerez, where they have recently bought a house and will stay for the summer.  They had to wait to leave Madrid until Nandi’s school finished. We all went out to lunch together. Freddie decided to put six year old Nandi in the wheel chair and he pushed her to the restaurant. When we went into the restaurant they all looked at Nandi and felt sorry for her being in the wheelchair! At the end of the meal, she got out of the wheel chair and showed us some steps of some Indian dancing that Clara is teaching her. Clara teaches Indian dance to children in Madrid. Nandi was born in India and Clara adopted her shortly after her birth. They are a wonderful family. As I have mentioned before, David and Freddie have been close friends since they were seventeen years old!
Last night Paco changed our plans and we went to the Potaje de Utrera festival for the first two numbers. Lakshmi came with us, and also Paco and Pilar’s two friends, Pepe and Tere, who had the second car. We put Freddie’s wheelchair in their car because theirs had a lot more room than ours. Paco and Esperanza were the second number and they were both very much “on” and did wonderfully. Then we all hurried to our two cars and zoomed over to the festival at Alcalá, held at an old castle. We arrived just in time to see Juana Amaya, whom we had really wanted to see. Freddie videotaped that whole festival and also what we saw in Utrera.
After a short break, Lakshmi and I ran to the car and got the tripod from the trunk. The video from then on shows a marked improvement over the handheld version. Esperanza and Paco again did a wonderful show. Capullo de Jerez sang and then came Familia Fernandez, the group that Paco’s parents, Pepa Vargas and Curro Fernandez have and which Paco and Esperanza grew up performing in. Last night they had Carmen (Concha’s daughter), Curro (Concha’s son). They are both niece and nephew to Pepa and Curro. Then there was another young boy relative who sang beautifully, Conchita doing palmas, and Paco’s younger brother, Joselito and his wife dancing. Ethan played guitar with them. Freddie didn’t realize that Ethan was there (Freddie was all the way at the back of the space videoing) until we were watching it on the video this afternoon. He hadn’t heard me tell him that Ethan would be playing in that show. Familia Fernandez was the last act.
As in all the big festivals in Spain, this one finished late, about 4:30 in the morning. We ended up taking Cihtli and two students from class who are also students of Cihtli, Yuko and Sara, back to our house, because there wouldn’t be a bus leaving from Alcalá until 5:30 AM. Ethan went with Paco’s brother Joselito and his girlfriend Soroya. The “girls” all walked home from our house. Each person gave Cihtli’s cell phone one ring to let her know that she had arrived home safely. Cihtli let us know when everyone had called her. It is expensive here to call from or to a cell phone, so people often give just one ring as a signal.
We got to bed around six AM. Cihtli and Ethan got to bed around seven AM and so did Paco and Pilar. They had to get up this morning and return our rental car.
This “morning”, around six in the afternoon, Ethan called us and we all went out together. We are feeling so relaxed. I really like relaxing. Am I getting spoiled? This trip really feels like a renewal for both of us.

Monday July 2, 2007
I didn’t mean to send so much writing at once. I will stop editing and just send this! Normally I read all of it out loud to Freddie and get his input and print it out and edit it again and read it to him again. There are parts that I didn’t re-print and re-read to him, but I’m just going to send it!

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