You may be wondering how we managed to see 4 fandango performances in a single day.
We did it by making it a very long day.
The weather remains nice and we were able to eat breakfast outside—albeit in our jackets. We made a market run to stock up the apartment and explored several of the streets in the area. It will come as no surprise to you that many of those streets had shops on them and that the shops had windows and that the windows invited a quick—or not so quick—look.
I also finished the first blog with pictures. Managing pictures with the iPad is trickier than I would like because I have to move the pictures more than once and, I have discovered too late, I am unable to re-order the pictures as they are added. I’ve also discovered that whether the captions show or not seems arbitrary. The order of the buttons on the control at the top of the pictures is “<“ which means previous picture “Up arrow” which will show the first page of the album ”1:1” which will change the image size ”a film strip with an up or down arrow under it” which will show or hide the thumbnails “A button with an up or down arrow above it” which will show or hide the picture captions. Those captions appear under the image, so depending on you screen, you may have to scroll down “Play symbol” which will start a slide show ”>” which means next picture
If you are using a tablet or phone, you may be able to simply swipe left or right to move through the pictures. That’s how it works on my iPad.
Note: In April, after we got home, I revised how the pictures pages worked and now everything should be easy and self-explanatory–I hope.
In the afternoon, we went to see a performance at a local peña. Peñas are like social clubs built around the idea of preserving the art. Here in Jerez, there are many of them, some quite old. The peña performances associated with the festival are all free and they draw large crowds of local people and visitors. All the performances start at 3:00, but we know that if you get there then you will be standing at the back of the room. So we got to Peña Los Cernicolas shortly after 2:00 and still almost missed getting a seat. Most of the seats were taken by local people. I fought the crowds to get us a couple of sherries and we spent the next hour or so people watching, and, in my case, people listening. The Jerezanos speak quickly and often drop the last “s” from their words.
The bailaora was Harumi Hata and she gave a great performance. I was also impressed with the palmeros who seemed to be having a great time. We enjoyed the peña performance.
By the time we got back to the apartment, we only had 45 minutes before walking to the Sala Compañía to see our next festival performance. We watched about 15 short sets by contestants in a flamenco competition (Concurso International Flamenco Puro de Turin). There was a wide range of skills in the individuals, pairs, and groups. The sets moved right along and we saw / heard a lot of flamenco in two hours.
I took the smallest wrong turn on the way to Teatro Villamarta on the way to the 9:00 performance but we still got to the area in time to stop for a quick bite at “La Vega.” We only had a few minutes to eat, but when I said “Debemos salir pronto. Por favor, traiga la cuenta” (We have to leave soon, please bring the bill) the waitress was incredulous: “La comida y la cuenta al tiempo mismo?¨as if she had never heard of such a thing before. We did make the start of the performance, though.
We had great seats to see Antonio ¨la Pipa¨ and his company perform “Estirpe” (Lineage). I wasn’t sure how the performance would be based on the first couple of minutes, but it was clear that La Pipa was demonstrating flamenco stripped down to its essence. He was supported by a company of artists who complemented his demonstrations. The audience appreciated the local artist in a way we never could and constantly showed its approval of what they were seeing. After the performance we talked to some people from Santa Fe, and the reviews were a little mixed.
The midnight show at Gonzalez Byass was a guitarist named Rafael Riqueni who has been playing and composing professionally since he was 14. He is now in his late 50s. His show was based around his new album called Herencia. The music wasn’t exactly flamenco, and it wasn’t classical Spanish guitar, and it wasn’t jazz, either. What it was was very entertaining. He is a virtuoso player in complete command of his instrument. During the first half of the concert, he spoke hardly at all, limiting himself to “Gracias, muchas gracias” a couple of times. In the second part, he was joined by two supporting guitarristas and he opened up a little bit. But, as Patricia said, he let his guitar do his talking.
We enjoyed all of the performances on Saturday. Each was different and each taught us something.