Guest post: Seville as a beautiful sad-happy woman

I don’t know much about Flamenco. I have watched flamenco shows few times; each time left me bewildered and not understanding what musicians  and dancers try to express and what sadly lingers in such a beautiful dance full of movement and passion. The same feeling caught me few weeks ago at Scottish National Gallery as I stood speechless beside my friend Berza Simsek in front of this painting.

“La Gloria: Spanish wake”has been painted in 1864 by John Phillip. The description to the painting says: ” The body of the dead child, illuminated by candlelight, is seen through the door-way at the left, where the grieving mother sits in deep shadow. Friends try to console her, while the passing of the child’s soul directly to heaven is celebrated in the brilliant sunshine.”

Reading this description  made me realize the sad beauty of Flamenco and once again I wished I knew more about it. Fortunately for me my friend Berza Simsek not only passionate about it, but knows more about falmenco, took flamenco dance classes and even travelled to one of the capitals of Flamenco-Seville.

Pain is often present in Flamenco songs. You can feel the pain in the breaking voice of the cantaor (singer), in the passionate footwork of the bailora (female dancer), in the powerful strumming of the tocaor (guitarist) and in the jaleo (noise) of the palmas (claps). But even a painful story told in such an artistic way can become beautiful, and can be appreciated…

Being one of the capitals of Flamenco, Seville is like a passionate bailora who is ready to love you, and wants you to love her. She has suffered enough pain with invasions through centuries that made her able to tell heartbreaking stories. But the very same invasions made her a more interesting woman, a woman who drunk wines from the glass of different civilizations.

You can find the tracks on her body from sleepless nights she spent with Romans, Moors and Bourbons. On her face can you see the joy and sorrow resting from those times. Her bullfighters symbolize the power she possesses, and the suffering one might have ever experience because of her when the blood flows from the veins of the bull. But she is also compassionate enough to open her arms to poor gypsies in her streets of Triana.

And if you have the ability to feel her, she is ready to reveal the deepness in her secret gardens, Real Alcazar, where you can truly find heaven on earth”.

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