Lost in Duende
After a scenic train ride from Malaga, I arrived in Seville, Spain, on a beautiful October morning. The taxi carried me to the B&B, which was located on a narrow, winding cobblestone street decorated with small balconies hanging with bright flowers and stained glass. After checking in, I left my bags and took to the streets of Seville. The sun was shining and the sky was a vivid blue contrast against the stone walls of the old town.
The city was sweet with the scent of oranges as almost every street was lined with blooming orange trees and bougainvillea. Seville was unique from other Spanish cities I had visited as there were many architectural elements remaining from the days of Moorish rule. I spent the next few hours strolling the intricate mosaic hallways of the Alcazar, paid my respects at the tomb of Christopher Columbus and climbed the tower of the Cathedral for views of the city. It was interesting to see how so many homes had flat roofs that were used as terraces, complete with outdoor furniture and pools. The panorama of red-tiled roofs all fit closely together like a puzzle against the hilly landscape and deep blue sky.
Tight with passion
I spent the evening at a Flamenco concert in a small tavern not far from the city’s bullfighting ring. There was a guitarist sitting on a chair in the corner of the stage while the audience listened quietly, enjoying bowls of olives. A woman entered in a long flowing skirt. Her hair was tied neatly in a bun with a single rose. She began to dance and as her feet tapped and stomped in intricate rhythms with the guitar, her hands twirled delicately above her head. When her face was not tight with passion and pain, her eyes pierced the audience with a stare. When the music came to a stop and she took her final pose, I could feel the audience on the verge of tears. After a short instrumental break, a man came on stage and performed. His black figure moved like a shadow and his feet tapped so fast in rhythm they were a blur. When they danced together they melted beautifully in a lovers’ dialogue through movement. Their feet were strong and full of rebellion while their arms moved fluidly around their bodies like water.
My personal experience of Flamenco, whether I’m in a cafe in Andalucía or an amphitheatre in San Diego, is always spirit-inducing. I can’t help but feel the urge to cry, stomp my feet to the music and yell out in rapture. In the gypsy world of flamenco, they call this feeling I describe as duende. Duende visits me on trips like these when I leave home to discover the world and all its beautiful music.
After spending time in Seville, I took the bus to the most southern tip of Spain, a city called Tarifa. The old town is a picturesque white cluster of old buildings and cafés. But what makes this place really special is the wind. When I walked down to the beach, the sky was full of colour from the dozens of kite surfers. As I sat on the beach, I could see Africa in the distance. In the morning, this strong wind would carry me away to Morocco, where a new continent awaited.
Natasha Kozaily is a local singer-songwriter and painter. She recently released her debut album Between Shores and currently resides in San Diego where she continues to create and perform. Natasha recently completed her bachelor’s degree in music from Cardiff University, where she wrote her thesis on Caymanian folk musician Miss Julia Hydes. For more information please visit www.natashakozaily.com