In the heart of Andalusia, Sevilla provides some of the best in Spanish culture, from flamenco to bullfighting. The hot days spent shopping, recording and sticking to the shady side of the streets on the cobble stoned passageways are more than rewarded by the sexy ambiance of music that sparkles and dances with a unique blend of heat, rhythm, and sensuality each night in Seville.
We were there for the views, the excellent seafood, and outstanding flamenco culture. I was also there to solve a complex etymological issue. To find out, once and for all, the meaning of the Spanish word “duende” from the folklore that gave it original form to the many derivatives it has been imbued with since.
The Spanish word Duende is complex. Derived originally from folklore, literally meaning ‘ghost,’ ‘elf’ or ‘goblin,’ it can be described as the magical word for ‘muse.’
Our first stop was this incredibly cozy tapas bar around the corner from my place, called Lola’s. It had cozy nooks with an old Spanish gentleman behind the bar (not to mention an affordable bill). The traditional décor – wooden furnishing, wrought iron chandelier and mosaic tiles imbued the first notes of the evening with a pleasant sense of nostalgia. We started with a few drinks and well-seasoned tapas. The night unfolded with a plan centered on flamenco.
With the best nightclubs and tapas bars, Seville grooves with hot, amicable energy by night. From flamenco shows flooded with tourists to the quintessential tapas bar where impromptu performances might sprout up to learning the intricate steps of one of southern Spain’s most addictive dances, La Sevillanas.
We headed for the traditional bars in Santa Cruz area, a string of tapas bars that are tucked within the district’s narrow alleys along Calle Mateos Gago. Despite the magnetic and enticing flamenco, I realized at last, I’d already found it.
Duende is an expression for the magical state of consciousness that occurs during a moment of connection with the infinite, intangible essence that gives authentic impact to a work of art. In Flamenco, it’s when the dancer evokes a fiery emotional state, bringing the music and audience into the spirit and passion of the moment.