Diary of a weekend (though not exactly a typical one)

It seems that lately I have so much to write about, but little time to sit down and write. This, I have decided, is not such a bad thing. But, it did prompt me to attempt a more multi-media approach, and this was a perfect kind of post to test it out.

Last weekend was a crazy one, and this one that just ended even more so since I went to carnaval in Cádiz (but that’s for an upcoming post). Last weekend, a group of friends and I went on Friday night to a free flamenco concert, sponsored in part by the Diputación de Córdoba (local government). They really do a good job of organizing and sponsoring tons of stuff for young people to see and do, and this was just one night, part of a larger series ranging from rock to heavy metal to a rap MC battle. Too bad I already missed that last one. Could have been hilarious.

As a bit of background, traditional flamenco is sometimes a bit hard to listen to. It’s too emotional to be casual Friday night out music, have a couple beers and do some dancing. Flamenco, being of gypsy/Roma origin, tells sad stories, tales of love and loss and being on the margins. It flourishes in Spanish jails, actually. But there’s a growing trend of what’s sometimes referred to as modern flamenco, or flamenco fusion, or a host of other names, that is really popular among all ages and walks of life here. One constantly hears it blasting out of cars, on the bus, and on TV in Andalucía (though not necessarily in the rest of Spain). Chambao is probably the best known of these groups. Their song “Papeles mojados” was a big hit this year, but I am also a fan of “Pokito a poco” and quite a few others. So this concert was more along the lines of modern flamenco, enjoyable and a lot more accessible than the traditional stuff. The group wasn’t the best I’ve heard but wasn’t too bad–plus, everyone loves a mullet. Here’s a sample:

And then a little girl came on (a friend referred to her later as a vixen) and sang and danced. It’s pretty common here for little kids to know how to sing and dance flamenco or sevillanas, but it nonetheless sometimes seems a little weird. But also sort of fascinating.

On Saturday, I went with a couple friends to a medieval market in Plaza de la Corredera, one of my favorite plazas and home to a lot of Córdoba’s events.

Medieval Market banners in Plaza de la Corredera

the princess rides her….burro

Sunday meant perol. I have perhaps mentioned a perol before, but it’s a Cordoban word, one that people from other parts of Spain don’t necessarily know. So I also get to feel hip and in the know. People get together, sometimes in the country, sometimes at the fairgrounds, or at a bar, and eat and drink. All day. That’s basically the most important part. Every perol I’ve been to included rice made in a big cast iron bowl, cooked on a portable stand hooked up to a big natural gas bottle. You can see what I mean here (before it has simmered down):
Rice at the perol (the rare choice between vegetarian and meaty)

In addition to the rice, which is basically scrumptious, there’s generally drinks and tapas of one kind or another, though almost sure to include potato chips and olives and some sort of bread. The perol I went to on Sunday was my third, this one a benefit for a cultural space (and big hippie hangout) here in Córdoba housed in an old house with a central patio. It was recently renovated and the perol was to pay off the renovations. It included an entire afternoon of comedians, clowns, music, break dancers, and juggling and other hippie/circus tricks. So basically it ruled.

Here’s the MC, working his magic with the diabolo (I tried this once and was embarrassingly terrible). Sorry for the stuff in the way…I got relegated to the corner a bit.

My personal favorite of the acts, one I should have recorded for longer because it got much better. But so it goes.

And then the Brazilian drumming that capped off the afternoon, which apparently went well into the evening. When I left around 6:30, after having been there four and a half hours, this was just getting underway.

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