Joy to the World (por Rumba Flamenca) in the Spirit of Zambombas de Jerez


We finally got it done:  our first family-fun video on Youtube for our very own version of the Christmas carol “Joy to the World.”  Yes, it’s January already and we are still in the spirit of Zambombas de Jerez.

And just in time too for the arrival of “The Three Kings” in the Christian holidays (or Los Reyes Magos) for those of you who celebrate.

To thank the old year and welcome the new one, our family thought of making fun of ourselves (particularly us, parents, who are a bit out of tune) and make our own version of the song, in the style of Rumba flamenca, mixed with of some of zambombas/villancicos (or Christmas carols performed in festive Jerezano flamenco style).

Here below are the lyrics, so you can singalong too: - joy to the world por rumba ~ Laying down the vocals on our mobile recording studio

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing

Ya vienen los Reyes Magos (2x)
caminito de Belen
ole ole Holanda ole
Holanda que ya se ve… que ya se ve, que ya se ve…

Cargadito de juguetes (2x)
para el nino entretener
ole ole Holanda ole
Holanda que ya se ve… que ya se ve, que ya se ve…

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy

Ande ande ande… la marimorena…
ande ande ande… que es la nochebuena…
Ande ande ande… la marimorena…
ande ande ande… que es la nochebuena…

Ven ven ven en Nochebuena vente pa Jerez…

Enjoy! Tell us what you think. BIG SMILE!

Audio: recorded, mixed, produced and mastered using an old-school DAW–a Roland VS-1880 between 26 and 30 December 2018, in Barrio San Miguel, Jerez de la Frontera (land of flamenco, sherry, fighting bulls and dancing horses), Spain. - joy to the world recording gear + Recording on an old Digital Audio Workstation–an oldie but goodie!


Here come the Zambombas in Jerez de la Frontera… Ven, ven ven!

The temperature has finally dropped to an Andalusian wintry chill and the arrival of Christmas is marked by the festive Zambombas, beginning in late November!

Now, what exactly are Zambombas?


They are traditional Christmas carols (Villancicos) sung in groups, usually in neighborhood gatherings, and in Jerezano style; that is, with festive flamenco flair… and perhaps, flare… usually por Bulerias, Rumbas, Tangos y Tanguillos. It is also the name of a friction drum that usually drives the festive songs, along with the guitars and the palmas (hand-clapping).

Today, the first of December, there are at least 20 such festivities in this little big village of ours!

We share this below list of Zambombas from masjerez (reformatted with dates, times and locations) with you English-speakers who are already here, or are planning to come here this month, to make it easier for you to find and participate in this very Andalusian tradition, that is particularly unique to Jerez de la Frontera. Next to Bulerias, Zambombas are the song of this town.

As a popular villancico goes, “Ven, ven, ven… en Nochebuena vente pa Jerez!” (come, come, come… on Christmas eve come to Jerez!).IMG-20181124-WA0008


1. Most of these events are FREE and you can get a cup of beer for a euro and some tapas and the traditional sweets for a couple more.

2. Times are “a partir de…” that means it begins at the listed time (mas o menos/more or less) and goes on all day until before midnight (There is an official cut-off time of 23:00, but you know…)

3. As you can imagine with food and drinks all day and night… the later it is in the night the more vibrant the singing gets!

4. The listing shows “official” Zambombas in Jerez, organized by the numerous religious brotherhoods, pena flamencas, and other institutions. There are several others in tabancos, bars/pubs and restaurants.

Agenda of Zambombas de Jerez 2018

(view the original source in Spanish @ masjerez)

Agenda de Zambombas de Jerez 2018

Friday, November 30
20:00 h, Colegio Las Esclavas, calle Santisima Trinidad
Saturday, December 1
14:00 h

  • Brotherhood of Jesus Nazareno, (Hermandad de Jesús Nazareno), Casa de Hermandad (Alameda de Cristina)
  • Brotherhood of the Candelaria (Hermandad de la Candelaria), Casa de Hermandad (calle Lealas)
  • Peña ‘Alba Neira’, Barriada La Pita (calle Tajo)
  • Brotherhood of the Three Falls (Hermandad de las Tres Caídas), Plaza de San Lucas
  • Brotherhood of the Jews of San Mateo (Hermandad de los Judíos de San Mateo), Plaza de San Mateo
  • Pena Flamenca The Garbanzo, AA.VV. San Miguel (Ronda de Muleros corner Oropesa Street)
  • Brotherhood of the Solitude (Hermandad de la Soledad), Iglesia de la Victoria (Church of Victory)
  • P.R. Los Pelotitos, Calle Carne (Carne Street)

14:30 h

  • Brotherhood the Holy Crucifix (Hermandad el Santo Crucifijo), Plaza San Miguel
  • Brotherhood of the Hope of the Yedra (Hermandad de la Esperanza de la Yedra), calle Empedrada

15:00 h

  • TBO Baguetería, calle Oloroso
  • Shepherdess of San Dionisio (Pastora de San Dionisio), calle Francos
  • A.C.F. Fernando Terremoto, calle Terremoto de Jerez

20:00 h, Bar Las 3 Rejas, calle Porvenir
20:30 h, Brotherhood of Transport (Hermandad del Transporte), calle Merced
22:30 h, Pena Flamenca El Pescaero, Avenida de Arcos

Sunday, December 2
14:00 h, Barriada de la Asunción, Poliderpotivo de la Asunción
Jueves, December 6
14:00 h:
Hermandad del Rocío de Jerez, Bodegas Fundador (Salón Los Claustros)
Pena Flamenca La Bulería, calle Empedrada
Peña ‘Alba Neira’, Barriada La Pita, calle Tajo
Saturday, December 8
13:30 h, Hermandad de las Angustias, Plaza de las Angustias
14:00 h:
Peña Colchonera, Cruz Vieja
P.R. Los Jartibles, Colegio de Adultos ‘El Aljibe’ (Ronda de Muleros)
Peña ‘Alba Neira’, Barriada La Pita, calle Tajo
15:00 h, A.C.G. Arco de Santiago, calle Moraíto Chico
20:30 h, Teatro Villamarta, Zambomba de la Navidad (Organiza Pena Flamenca Buena Gente), € € € entrance fee
21:00 h, Hermandad del Cristo del Amor, calle San Juan
Saturday, December 15
14:00 h:
P.F. Buena Gente, Bodegas Fundador (Salón Los Claustros)
Peña ‘Alba Neira’, Barriada La Pita, calle Tajo
A.C.F. Luis de la Pica, calle Carpinteros (Barrio de Santiago)
14:30 h, Museo de la Atalaya, Zambomba conmemorativa – Instituto Andaluz de Flamenco y Ayuntamiento de Jerez
15:00 h, Pastora de San Dionisio, Casa de Hermandad, calle Francos
22:00 h, T.F. Pepe Alconchel, calle Castaño
Friday, December 21
14:00 h, Peña ‘Alba Neira’, Barriada La Pita, calle Tajo
21:00 h, Pena Flamenca Los Cernícalos, calle Sancho Vizcaíno
Saturday, December 22
14:30 h, Hermandad del Soberano, Bodegas Fernández Gao, calle Arcos
14:30 h, Hermandad de las Tres Caídas, Salón Los Claustros (Bodegas Fundador)
15:00 h, Pastora de San Dionisio, Casa de Hermandad, calle Francos
20:30 h, Teatro Villamarta, Así canta Jerez por Navidad, € € € entrance fee
21:00 h, Pena Flamenca Tío José de Paula, calle Merced
Monday, December 24
15:00 h, Pastora de San Dionisio, Casa de Hermandad, calle FrancosThat is it for now.
We will update as needed. Enjoy the festivities!
Ande, ande, ande!!! Ole, ole, ole!!!
happy to be free… electrons … family

First-time family camping road trip summer: How much will it cost?

The cost of things we think we need for our first-time, family, camping road trip in Europe in the summer are listed in part one.  But what about the cost of sleeping, gas and food for this 6-week nomadic trip?

Cost of Sleeping on the Road

We need a total of 45 days for sleeping on the way to Poland and back.  It is summer season.  Accommodation for 2 adults and 2 children is not cheap.  The capital cities and especially the small countries that we plan to visit are expn$ive.  Forget hotels. seems to offer cheaper options, compared to Air BnB.  Difficult to find family-friendly hostels—those that can accommodate little kids.

The cheapest option is to sleep in a tent.  But, it turns out booking camping sites for only a night or two is a little tricky during high season.  Camping sites seem to prefer longer term bookings of a week, or at least 3 days.  A website called Pitchup offers limited locations.  We found that the quickest and most efficient way to find camping grounds was to search for “camping near [the area that you want to visit]” in Google map.  It showed more options for us in a short amount of time compared to other sites, but not everything of course.

Expect €30 per night (for 2 adults and 2 children) for the cheapest camping sites, to include a car, a tent and electricity hook-up.  To have a buffer, Ania and I figured to give us no more than €50/night for sleeping cost.  So, our budget for a 45-day, once-in-a-lifetime, roadtrip across Europe is between €1,350 and 2,250.  There goes the little savings that we have left!

Cost of gas/benzin/sin plomo gasolina/fuel for the road

We will likely travel 3,448 kilometers (2,142 miles) to Poland and 3,648 km (2,267 mile) back.  That’s about 646 L or €968.  Hmmm…  That seems a little short.  For the calculation, Buda (our Mazda minivan) uses about 11 kilometers per liter of gas and I guesstimated an average of €1.5/liter of 95 unleaded/sin plomo/bezolowiowa.  Gas is cheaper in Jerez at about €1.2/L.

Now, food?

This should be no different from our daily food expenses at home and that comes up to about €540 for 45 days.  Hmmm…  That may be a bit tight! Of course, our cooking will be limited to our butane burner and whatever we can bring with us on the road.  Food prices here in Jerez/Andalucia are much cheaper.  That’s why we are stocking up on grocery to take with us (beans, rice, pasta, tomato sauce… you know, dry foods).  That’s a lot of fuel for our very own internal combustion engines… all 4 of us… in one tent!

Don’t forget miscellaneous expenses to consider, such as beer, libations, travel insurance (about €300 for family of 4) for 3 months since our insurance does not cover international travel, fees for sightseeing, restaurants, piwo, , medicine, wine, sherry, cerveza, birra, beer… and more beer (to take the pain of living in a tent and on the move…. away 😉

In all, what’s the total?

  • € 257: camping gear essentials
  • 1,350 – 2,250: sleeping in tent (45 days in tent, 2 adults, 2 children)
  • 968: unleaded gas/fuel/benzin for 7,096 kilometers roundtrip (4,435 miles), estimated
  • 540: basic food for 4
  • 300: travel insurance
  • 500: miscellaneous
  • € 3,915 – 4,815 euros, total

Wait…. Ouch, Awa… Oh, shaizeaufderstrasse! Deep breathe here…

Well, considering we will be on vacation for a total of 45 days and visiting about 27 places, 11 countries…. and a chance to experience life on the road as a family… and spend some quality time with family and friends?… … that’s not too bad at all! That’s about (€87 to 107 per day for 4 people). It’s like having 3 American vacations all packed into 1.  Now, lessons learned.  Next time, we’ll cut that in half… or at least try!  And where next?

What do you think?  Big Smile!

Up next: Here we go and on the move, northwards, upwards!

Previous: What to bring for summer camping road trip?

Credits: Partial map of Europe taken from “Maps” by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski; published by BIG PICTURE PRESS, modified. Thanks!

What to bring for camping road trip?

What do we need for a summer camping, road trip across Europe and how much will it cost?  Our “Plan 333” calls for 3 weeks going up to Poland from Spain.  3 weeks staying with family.  And 3 weeks back down.

It will be our first time doing this.  So, we expect to screw up in one way or another and learn something from it.  We will share with you our lessons learned on the road after the trip.  For those of you with little children who may be thinking of doing the same but have never done it before, hope this helps.

Let’s break this down into chewable parts.  First, the total cost of camping gear. Ours was 257 euros.

The 3 pictures below list things that (we think) we need and their costs in separate categories.  The lists do not include costs for things that we already have (as marked in the picture-tables).  Of course, we could have gotten some items cheaper through second-hand sellers.  Though with the language barrier where we are, we could not risk getting something faulty for our first family camping… certainly not with two little kids!  To help us learn the language, we also included some of the names in Spanish.

Of course, we also need to bring clothes for 7 days (ideally, for each of us) with back-up for those cold nights in the mountains, shoes/sandals, food (lots of food), books, notebooks, computer, phones, extension cords, chargers, cameras, flamenco guitar (gotta keep those lessons in my head and flowing in my vain!), toys, books and entertainment things for Karol and Kaj who will each carry a small back pack, and of course a porta potty (toilet) for Kaj.

In order to save money, best to bring portable dual-use items that we already have, such as the children’s table and chairs which legs you can screw and unscrew, and can be used for play as well as eating. But how the heck are we gonna fit all these into our car? We’ll soon find out and keep you posted.

Next, we’ll write about the estimated cost of accommodation, gas and food to help calculate how much a 6-week camping trip in Europe in the summer would cost?

Big Smile!

fef - camping eat gear – what you need for summer camping roadtrip

Related post: Family Summer Camping Road Trip: Plan 333

fef - camping misc gear
Facebook: ~ what you need for summer camping roadtrip

summer camping roadtrip across europe

“Hey, Babe! What do you think about driving up to Poland this summer?”  Here’s another one of those wild ideas that enters the 1.2-kilogram, gray matter inside my hard head, flutters its fairy wings, grab on to a chunk of dying amygdala-gobbledygaga while in there, and just won’t let go!

“Are you crazy?”  We live over 3,000-something kilometers (that’s closer to 2,000 miles for you ‘Mericans) away in Spain and Kaj (our little runner of joy) hates getting into a car, gets stubbornly mad seating down and could cry for hours (not that we tested this ; ) until he gets what he wants!  One time, we had to detour from a trip because he wanted ketchup with his fries and would not stop crying “keeeeeeeetchuuuuuup” in an amazing combination of wailing, complaining and suffering reminiscent at times of a flamenco style called seguirillas or even saetas…  The whole stop and search for a freakin’ ketchup took two hours!  So, yeah, I do get my wife’s concerns!

“Better yet, we’ll take our time but not take any toll roads!…  We can even go camping!”  Yup, at that point of the conversation, I might as well go all out and push it.

Happy wife.  Happy Life.  And in order for wife to be happy, I’ve learned, in my own special stubborn way, to address her needs and the needs of the love of her life–our children!  Hers is the need to travel, discover and see the family.  The children’s? Well, they really don’t have much apart from Pavlov’s basics.  Come to think of it… Kaj and Karol (K+K) DO NEED to have old skool children’s play and veer away from the endless parade of mind-zombifiers on YouTube, Netflix and the good old TV.

They need to be able to be in a car for long periods of time.  They need to explore and discover…  They need to hit the road as much as I do!  After all, we are self-elected nomads of the cyber age, like others who are already out there!  We need to ROAM FREE! (okay, okay, I’m getting carried away here, just a bit).

So, back to reality.  Here’s the plan (Plan 333):

Drive up to Poland.  Stay.  Drive back down.  3 weeks up.  3 weeks in.  3 weeks down.  Simple enough, is how my accentuate-the-positive-ignore-everything-else kind of outlook sees it, doesn’t it?

Besides we need to get the heck out of the Andalucian summer sun-curse (unlike last summer when it was too hot to even think while I was steeped in a puddle of my own swampy summer sweat, even in the shady confines of our un-airconditioned apartment.

Why the timeframe?  We don’t have to work this summer (nice, eh?) but need to be back for the start of school.

Take no-toll roads.  Why?  The last time I drove across Europe, I sped through it all, pushing pedal-to-the-metal and all my kilograms of euro-coins went down the drain of toll roads, especially France!  Besides, we do have time to travel an average of 4 hours per leg.  So, we might as well take it easy, take it slow, and enjoy life on the road, unhurried.

Visit places that are no more than 4 hours apart on average.  Why?  K+K won’t take any more than that.  They’d go restless and I’d go nuts when they start losing it during the drive.  Kaj in particular cannot stay seated in a car for more than an hour at a time (unless he’s sleeping!) much less hours and days on end.

Cut the drive in half.  Stop somewhere for food, fun and maybe some fact-finding (any place with a playground would do, or an off-the-beaten place to explore if it were solely up to us–parents).

Find cheap accommodation.  This is a tricky one.  It is summer season.  The cheapest way to go is by camping–tricky too as the kids have not tried sleeping out of beds (unless they fall or pass out, out of tiredness), much less outside, in a tent and on the ground.  Hmmm.  Need to think about this some (more later).

Oh, and ahhhh… this has to be a child-friendly trip.  That means sights and stops with playgrounds and more stuff to do with children than, say, pub crawls and past-midnight growls.

From where we are, going northeast through Spain… Andorra, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, and Czech Republic, (and some 3-thousand something kilometers and over 3 weeks later). . . Polska, here we come!

Up next: What do we need for a 6-week camping and roadtrip across Europe and how much will it cost?

CREDITS: Modified partial map of Europe taken from “Maps” by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski; published by BIG PICTURE PRESS. Thanks!

One way ticket.. to Lisbon

One way ticket..

One way ticket, one way ticket

One way ticket, one way ticket

One way ticket, one way ticket to the blues.

Choo choo train

Tuckin’ down the track

Gotta travel on it

Never comin’ back

Ooh, ooh got a one way ticket to the blues.

Boney M – One way ticket

Fado  in the Alfama district of Lisboa/Lisboa/Lisbona
Fado in Lisbon/Lisboa/Lisbona

Tak właśnie było, tylko w naszym przypadku mieliśmy one way ticket do Portugalii!  Ten pierwszy etap naszej wielkiej podroży przebiegał w jak najbardziej pozytywnym rytmie piosenki Abby.  Jak tylko samolot portugalskich linii TAP (przy okazji:  polecam! dobra jakość i jeszcze lepsza cena) wylądował w Lizbonie, serce zabiło szybciej z radości.  Poczucie, ze jestem u siebie, w Europie było niepowtarzalne!  Expaci pewnie je znają!

Decyzja, żeby lecieć najpierw do Lizbony była dość prosta ze względu na ceny biletów.  Zawsze wydawało mi się, ze trzeba rezerwować bilety w obie strony, bo inaczej ceny szybują do nieba;  myliłam się!  W wyszukiwarce zaznaczyłam po prostu pole „one way” i nagle moje oczy i kieszeń bardzo się ucieszyły widząc sumy rzędu $300 (a nie $1200 za bilet, jak dotychczas).  Uświadomiłam sobie, ze przecież wcale nie potrzebuje biletu powrotnego!!  Heh..  Bilety kupione, wiza męża załatwiona (w Hiszpanii lubią turystów, także nie było problemu z formalnościami; szczegóły opisze Six), dom przygotowany, walizy spakowane.. w drogę!

Portugalia przywitała nas niesamowicie serdecznie!  Cudownie otwarci ludzie, a także mówiący po angielsku bez większych problemów! Z lotniska odebrał nas przemiły młodzieniec Joao, który zawiózł nas do naszej kwatery airBnB (odbiór z lotniska zorganizowany był przez właścicielkę mieszkania, które wynajmowaliśmy).  Wystąpił mały problemik, jak ów młodzieniec zobaczył podwójny wózek, 2 sadzonka do samochodu, 3 duże walizy, 4 małe walizeczki, no i dwójkę dzieci, tatę i zajmującą podwójne miejsce ze względu na rozmiary mamę, czyli mnie.. heheh..

Twarz mu nieco pobladła.  Ale nie wahał się za długo, wziął telefon w obroty i w przeciągu 10 minut zorganizował drugie auto (swojej mamy; dodam, ze za tę sama cenę).  Niesamowity!  Po drodze do naszego lokum, zdążył nam opowiedzieć, co należy koniecznie zobaczyć w mieście, gdzie zjeść dobrze i tanio, a także o swoich planach na życie!  Super facet.

plenty of space to run around in the first days of Spring at the Commerce Palaza
run free at Praça do Comércio

W Lizbonie spędziliśmy tydzień wypełniony po brzegi spacerami, zwiedzaniem, jeżdżeniem typowymi żółtymi tramwajami, które notabene jeździły szybko jak szalone, a także wspinaczka po siedmiu wzgórzach, na których położone jest miasto.  Parę praktycznych uwag – trzeba się przygotować, ze ze względu na pochyłości, wózek się raczej nie przyda w tym mieście.  Dla maluchów polecamy chusty, nosidełka, itp.;  chyba, ze macie mięsnie z żelaza i wytrwałość, by pchać wózek przez większość czasu pod górkę, albo gonić, jak spiernicza z górki na pazurki, bo się człowiek zagapił…  zdarza się każdemu, nie?  Druga rzecz, to wygodne buty.  Obcasów to z plecaka nie ma co wyciągać – ale to na pewno już wiecie.  Następna sprawa, to proszę sobie ładnie kupić bilet komunikacyjny na 24h, bo nic innego się nie opłaca.  Obejmuje on metro, autobusy i te sławne żółte tramwaje.  Pełen wypas, łącznie z faktem, ze, jeśli się podróżuje z dzieckiem, to macie miejsce siedzące zagwarantowane, nawet jeśli szpilki się nie da wetknąć, bo taki tłum.

Ludzie są niesamowicie uprzejmi i nawet babcie, czy dziadkowie ustępują miejsca dzieciom.  Nie odmawiajcie, bo to nie jest zwykła uprzejmość, tylko wrodzona, niewymuszona kultura osobista.  Na deser proszę sobie zostawić wyjście na koncert Fado w Alfamie (dzielnica słynąca z najbardziej utalentowanych artystów, gdzie ich przejmujące glosy rozbrzmiewają w malutkich uliczkach i niesione przez wiatr docierają do uszu okolicznych spacerowiczów).  Fado, podobnie jak flamenco w Andaluzji, to niespotykana nigdzie indziej w swojej oryginalnej wersji melancholijna pieśń, wykonywana przy akompaniamencie dwóch gitar.  Trafia prosto w serce!  Przekonajcie się!

Lizbona jest cudowna, ludzie są naprawdę przyjemni i życzliwi.  Nie ma, co się zastanawiać, czy warto jechać – WARTO!

Tram 28 - a nostalgic ride and a savior of big-baby-carrying fathers!
Tram 28 – a nostalgic ride and a savior of big-baby-carrying fathers!

Rodzinnie, można, a wręcz trzeba zobaczyć następujące atrakcje:

Pavilhao de Conhecimento.  Pawilon Wiedzy po naszemu.  Super sprawa.  Muzeum interaktywne, wiec większości ekspozycji można dotknąć, podmuchać, powąchać, zjeść raczej nie, ale i tak jest bardzo ciekawie!  Dla małych i dużych i tych średnich!  Jest mały plac zabaw w środku, a właściwie jest to plac budowy dla dzieciaków.  Moje łobuziaki bawiły się tam świetnie.  Polecam.  (bilety 9€ dla dorosłych, 6€ dla dzieci 3-11 lat).

Lisbon Oceanarium (darmowe dla dzieci do 3 lat; 10,80 € dla dzieciakow pomiędzy 4-12 lat; 16,20 € dla dorosłych, drogo).

Kolejka linowa, która kursuje nad Parque de Nacoes, który był wykonany specjalnie na Expo 1998 (teraz trochę jest w rozsypce, ale jazda kolejka jest przednia), Telecabine Lisboa znajduje się zaraz za oceanarium.  Najlepiej kupić bilet one way (w rytmie piosenki Abby, spróbujcie, bo to fajne uczucie).  Jak ktoś bardzo chce wrócić do punktu początkowego, to spacerkiem będzie również przyjemnie, a jak ktoś chce po prostu jechać dalej, to stacja metro jest niedaleko (one way ticket kosztuje 3,95€ dla dorosłych, 2€ dla dzieci w wieku 7 – 12, poniżej 7 lat za darmo).

Castelo de S. Jorge, super widoki!  Nie przegap!  Troszkę się napracujesz, żeby tam, dojść, ale warto!  Uwaga na wolno chodzące i atakujące pawie, które zjedzą wszystko, co zauważą i zakwalifikują, jako pokarm, chować wszystko!  (bilety 8€, dzieci do 10 lat wchodzą za darmo).

Tramwaj 28.  Ten tramwaj jest na większości pocztówek z Lizbony, wiec po prostu trzeba się nim przejechać i już!  Trasę ma bardzo urokliwa, także czas nie będzie zmarnowany.  Poza tym macie przecież te bilety całodobowe, wiec nie trzeba nic dodatkowo płacić, wiec nie gadaj już nic, tylko wsiadaj!

Santuario Nacional de Cristo Rei.  Robi wrażenie!  Poza tym sama podróż jest frajda dla dzieciaków, bo najpierw trzeba przedostać się promem na druga stronę rzeki Tag (Cais do Sodré to nazwa zarówno przystanku promu, jak metra: zielona linia) i później wsiąść w lokalny autobus (numer 101, przystanek zaraz niedaleko miejsca, gdzie dopływa prom), który dowozi na sam szczyt góry, na którym stoi statua Pana Jezusa.  Widoki śliczne.  Miejsce doskonale na chwile refleksji, przy współpracy dzieci oczywiście.

To wszystko?  Nie!!  Jest dużo, dużo więcej!  Powyższe miejsca są jedynie propozycja na zmaksymalizowanie czasu rodzinnego podczas pobytu w Lizbonie.  Pamiętajcie, to miasto mas jeszcze wiele innych skarbów!

Dedicated to Women: Saeta en la Iglesia de San Miguel, Jerez (International Women’s Day 2018)

I had been meaning to write about flamenco and share some experiences that may help you navigate through the dizzying number of shows and activities during the Festival de Jerez 2018 (23 February to 10 March). . . but you know, two kids and life have a way of getting ahead of everything else.

Then, last night as I was walking through the empty Plaza San Miguel to take the trash and recyclables out to the bins located a block away, in a small plaza just across from the Convento de San Jose, I heard an all too familiar calling for us flamenco enthusiasts.  Or was it a cry.

As I entered the little “echo” street that marks the beginning of calle Barja, a cantaora’s (a female flamenco singer) voice soared to the bell tower, cut through the silence of the plaza, and reverberated through the rain-wet walls of the buildings and bodega nearby.  Not a whisper nor a word could be heard, just my footsteps bouncing through the echo street with mechanical-sounding early reflections.  A strange combination.  A pleasant destination.

Dedicated to Women

I dumped the trash and emptied the recyclables–bottles and one milk brick (carton) by one–as an exercise in mindfulness in action.  Then the angelic voice turned into a coarse cry.  Crying out to whom?  I don’t know.  And from where?  I sought to find out.  I was in my pajamas–too lazy to change tonight.

And then, it died out. The voice, that calling. . . and there it was again, through the cracked open doors of Iglesia San Miguel (church of San Miguel).  I walked through the outer doors but hovered, hesitating, by the entrance.  After all, my wife’s not gonna like it if I walked in a church, much less our church, in my pajamas.  So, I cut the corner of the cracked-open door and took a peak.  If God or the Russians were watching, I must have looked like a speedy-gonzalez-spy-in-training… and not a good one at that!  It was a church full of solemn people, attentive to the cries of the saeteros (those who sing a specific style of flamenco, religiously themed, unaccomapnied by guitar or palmas or anything else but the echo of the voice.  Saeta itself, loosely translates to “an arrow straight to the heart of God,” traditionally only sung during the Holy Week).

I confirmed through the poster that it was a night of Saeta with 4 saeteros, dedicada a l a mujer (in honor of women) on International Women’s Day when millions of women joined strikes across Spain.

What to do.  What to do?  Well, out of respect for the church and fear of my wife, I decided to run back home, change, brush my teeth and get a little bit civilized.

At the church…. I sneaked to the rearmost pew towards the end of Jose Sandoval’s (from Utrera) lamentations, followed by Maria Almendro‘s (from Malaga) piercing penitence.  The exultadera Susana Esther Merino broke the wailing with her prose of exultation.  For non-Spanish speakers this part could have been a bit too long at about 30 minutes, but she hit the desired effect as the crowd applauded at the peak of her exultations.

A tocaor (guitarist) played a Solea and that’s when I noticed the great local guitarist Paco Cepero, siting by himself on an empty pew on the side towards the back of the church.  Then everyone played again, beginning with Maria, and including Juan de Mairena (from Mairena).  Then, that mournful beauty of a voice that called me into the church, came back.  It was Elu de Jerez.  The power of her mourning cut through the dome and straight to the heavens, from a whisper to a scream, like a thunder in reverse direction.

I never heard of her before this.  Clearly she was a cut above the rest.  You do not need to understand what any of them are singing to feel the power of their prayers and agonies and lamentations.  When the hairs on your nape and on your arms start to depart from your skin at the sound of saeta, you will have felt it and know what I meant.  No words will have been needed. It is what they call flamenco puro.

Pleasant surprises, such as this, abound here in Jerez de la Frontera.  You can immerse yourself in flamenco.  It is simply everywhere and it is free (for the most part that is)!  I simply went to take the trash out and came back. . .well, renewed to say the least.

Pena Buena Gente has an upcoming Saeta concurso (contest) on 10 and 16 of March (at 2100) at the pena itself.  The FINALS will be held at 2030 on 24 March at Sala Compania.  Entrance is FREE but do get there early, and PLEASE DO contribute to the local economy by consuming something.  For future reference, there was also a saeta held at 2100 on 09 March at the Iglesia de San Mateo (in the heart of the old historic center–casco historico).  I am sure there are others and I will post them when I come across the info.

test audio clip of toca por Solea and Maria Almendro’s saeta (11 minutes):

Download Voice00155