Andalusia Memories 4: Sevilla Song and Dance

Uwe and I spent a recent holiday in southern Spain. My first trip to Andalusia took place when I was barely 17, and the memories that flooded me so many years later are all from deep recesses in my senses.

We traveled by bus between Granada and Córdoba, and later to Sevilla. I didn’t remember a thing about what Sevilla looks like. Memories came back anyway. In Granada they involved spatial proportions; in Córdoba, infinity and water. In Sevilla, my recollections arrived with sound.

Parque María Luisa

We strolled through the lovely Parque de María Luisa to the Plaza de España.

Plaza de España

The Plaza was constructed in 1929 when the city of Sevilla hosted the Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair. A building façade curves, with lovely tilework depicting each Spanish state. Uwe took photos while I admired the details.

I heard an insistent, rhythmic clacking: a young man with castanets stood in the plaza. Near him a guitarist played as a dancer’s heels pounded out a hypnotic dance.

She was astonishingly poised, with the self-confident grace required of flamenco dancers. Her skirts swirled as she dipped and turned. Her dance in the square     the pluck of guitar strings     the click         clack        click clack clack clack clack of castanets…. I was thrust back in a relived moment so deeply entrenched that I cannot tell you when or where it first occurred.

For as long as I recall, flamenco always moves me to the edge of tears. I never understood why until my mother told me that she’d developed a short-lived taste for flamenco guitar music when she was pregnant with me. After I was born the craving promptly disappeared. So do these relived audio memories come from the womb? From that first trip abroad so long ago?

I had my coins out and ready when the dancer came around with a hat. I was surprised to see how young she was under her make-up. She might have been 17… just the age I was when I first visited this beautiful region.

Perfect. She and my faulty memory were perfect.

© Jadi Campbell 2017. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. Uwe’s photos of our trips and his photography may be viewed at viewpics.de. Go to my earlier posts to read more about our visit to Andalusia.

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4 thoughts on “Andalusia Memories 4: Sevilla Song and Dance”

  1. I absolutely loved Sevilla. Only there for a few days but I drank it all in. Sitting in a bar watching and listening to the locals singing and dancing Flamenco I had thoughts of living there! The temperature was 40 degrees C and the water was intermittent in our hotel room, but that was all secondary to the magical experience of the city.

  2. Yes, memories – what are they? Where are they from? Your story makes me remember what I felt when I first heard the songs of cow-girls in the Swedish mountains, calling for their cows in the mountain pastures. This was in my early twenties. I’d never heard anything like it before, but these calls and melodies echoing through the valleys went right into my heart. And the strange thing was that there was a kind of memory that made me feel like coming home. I have no theory about this, but the emotion raised went right down to the bones. It’s wondrous, isn’t it?
    Ellington

    1. What a great story – it instantly reminded me of my first trip through the Alps. I was on a night train heading south through Switzerland and stood with the train window open because we could hear the cow bells of herds on the mountains. There was a large moon – I don’t recall if it was full, but there was enough light to see dark lumbering figures every so often. And the sound of their bells….

      Thanks so much for commenting.

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