Photographs and Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel

      Music: Andalusian [Tree of Life / Yuval Ron Ensemble / Magda, 3 min excerpt] Turkey via Spain

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Sevilla the next destination is a large, attractive city with a picturesque maze of streets called the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the former Jewish quarter. The old Spanish architecture is found here with grillwork and balconies almost all sporting flowers. The curving, meandering, narrow streets cast cooling shadows. Sevilla is the site of the first concert of Yuval's group, here in a small nightclub, Sala Malandar, where on other nights youth dance to popular music. We unpack our bags at the Hotel Plaza de Armas, which is memorable for its buffet breakfast  spread, the best of the hotels on the journey. It even had a swimming pool on the roof. We will return to Sevilla for more sightseeing after further travels south.  Dinner at the hotel becomes a shabbat meal as Dinah leads the lighting of and prayer over the candles.


Looking northwest.

Sevilla lacks tall skyscrapers. Churches dominate. Another rooftop view. The narrow streets of Barrio de Santa Cruz. A rare modern building.

A colorful junction.

Great lamps line the sidewalk.

A comfortable, secluded neighborhood plaza where streets meet.

Easy to get lost amid the canyons.

Gothic with Islamic forms.

Poster of the concert.

Mhijea, who reaches back to the Arab Spain. Carmon Amador and Mhijea. Flamenco and Arabic  Dancing. Maya Haddi & Norik Manoukian. A song reaches out. Yuval, Jamie Papish, and the cantaor José Caraoscura.

This concert is our first exposure to musical blending of flamenco with a middle eastern sound.  True fusion can work on only certain rhythms, though melodies are similar. Thus, the musicians often alternate in styles.  With little rehearsing, the performance is somewhat raw but full of energy.  Seeing Mhijea perform a quasi belly dance in Arabic costume to flamenco music seems odd at first, but it is a direct statement on origins, when gypsies came to Spain at the cusp of change in Spain in the 15th century as Arabic and Jewish cultural influence fade with rising Christian European and Gothic influences.  Flamenco, as we know it, is a relatively recent development, but the strong and complex gypsy rhythms persisting from  India must have been applied to Iberian country tunes, the formality of classical  12th-century Moorish nubah suites, and North African/Arabic rhythmic handclapping. Flamenco is a fusion of various musical elements and cultures; its origins lies in the inherent curiosity and inventiveness of musicians who enjoy jamming and learning from different styles. The concert in Sevilla is such an example.

The cantaor becomes a drummer. Another costume change for Mhijea. Singer and dancer acknowledge each other.

Hands up!

Yuval sings,  too.

Guitarists Critóbal Jiménez and Ezequiel Reina.

Carmon Amador swings, José Caraoscura sings.

The grand finale. Yes, snails. A beer joint specialty. Mark and Lara: couple #1. Oscar and Sheila.: couple #2. Classic street entry. A physician's office.

Appendix: Food

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 On to Jerez

Sebaastian's institution's first location. A formerly Jewish home in the barrio. The same architect designed the minaret in Marrakech, Morocco.