Throwback: Flamenco in Calasparra

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As I claimed before that I would post any and all of the posts that I previously missed under the title “Throwback”, this post refers to the weekend that I went to Calasparra, Murcia to celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week) with my roommate Rocío and her family.

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I have previously talked about the various religious processions that were celebrated that weekend. However, Saturday there are not any official processions and so used the day to see some of the other sites of the city. Argeo, her cousin, drove us up to the mirador, where you can see much of farmlands and rice paddies for which Calasparra is famous.

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From there we headed up the mountain to where the Virgin de la Esperanza (Hope) is housed. According to the legend a shepherd who was looking for refuge in one of the caves found a small wooden image of the Virgin. The city wanted to move the statue to a church centrally located within the city, but when they went to lift it, it was too heavy to be moved and so they constructed a shrine out of the rock there on the mountain. Not only is it a site known for many miracles and frequented by many pilgrims, as proven by the large quantity of ex-voto gifts (these are the gifts in wax or other precious materials contained behind the main altar). But also, as Rocío told me, it is a common place to hold First Communion or wedding banquets, particularly because it is right next to the river.

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After exploring the entire complex, we headed back into the car and visited the main river at another point in the city. This is the typical summer hangout spot, but we were too early to go swimming in April.

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From here we ventured out of the limits of the city to a restaurant on a hill that is known for live Flamenco performances. It is completely a family run production. For instante, the owner sang while one of the waitresses dances. Additionally, the family of the guitarist showed their enthusiasm for his music, joining in dancing. The young girl pictured below could not sit in her seat and was joined on the floor by her mother.

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Of course, Rocio graced the dance floor with her skills. I still do not have a clear enough definition of what constitutes the Flamenco and the Salsa and end up with a funky mixture of both styles all at once without coordination. That doesn’t stop me from joining in the fun, I just don’t appear elegant or graceful.

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They were even kind enough to allow the audience to sing, like Karaoke but without the lyrics on a screen. While Ro came up with a creative blend of words, our other friend made us all laugh with his silly phrases.

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