Of Flamenco and The Duende

There are neither maps nor exercises to help us find the duende – Federico Garcia Lorca

Duende is something of a mystery to me. It is supposedly a powerful feeling that is very much entwined with flamenco. Some say that it is something more than just the magic of flamenco. So, just what is it really?

Standing around a street corner in Seville with a flamenco show ticket in hand, I thought to myself maybe this would be the place to teach me about the duende.

I was also hoping that maybe it is something I will sense along the twisted lanes of Triana or even in the gardens of the Alcázar. La Giralda seemed like a brilliant place to find it too. Or maybe even the magnificent Seville Cathedral.

20131031-174123.jpgMagnificent Seville from La Giralda

But as my time in Seville wore on, it became obvious to me that the duende is not something I can seek in corners of the city. Or hope that it finds me through the beauty of the architecture. The duende was something you had to live and breathe everyday.

I came to this realization as I sat watching the magnificent flamenco performance at La Casa del Flamenco, a 15th-century house located in Barrio Santa Cruz. The setting was intimate and it seemed like I was privileged to watch this amazing art brought to life before my eyes.

20131031-174243.jpgThe magic of flamenco

The power, the passion, the sadness, the beauty and the sheer intensity of it all left me breathless. For an entire hour, I was transported to another place and time. It was magical!

Dare I believe that this was the duende? I don’t think I will ever know if what I felt that day was the duende. And I don’t know if I will ever find it. But, I am very sure that I will never stop trying.


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