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withinity

 

Posts: 180
Joined: Sep. 17 2013
 

Al Andalus 

Greetings

I'm a bit confused at the state of the forum and why certain sections have been closed off so I really don't know where else to ask this question since off topic is closed and this is not directly related to Flamenco yet it kinda is.

Anyway was just woundering if anyone could recommend some books about the history of Al Andalus, both by Spanish and foreign Authors. Written in English and Spanish.

Also, I'm tossing up a rental property between either Seville, Jerez and Cadiz for this summer. What can you guys tell me about these places or maybe you have an additional recommendation? I am a complete greenhorn to Spain and know there are many experienced travelers here.

How do the different regions of Andulucia vary when it comes to Flamenco? Is their some ultra commercial places or towns that are basically falling under the category of 'tourist trap' targeting Westerners, like the rest of Europe.

If so were are the opposite places from these , does Flamenco even exist as a cultural thing for/among any groups of people anymore or are those tapas bars with the set up shows on stage as far as it goes?

I know in many other places younger generations have kind of 'ditched' the traditions in order to take up a more American style of life. So here I'm just woundering.. wondering about Andulucia does she hold any of the old ways. Are they completely gone lost in a staple culture of Smart phones and Fast-food or do the remnants remain leaving something in between.


Gracias , please Enlighten me.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 3:10:57
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

I spent a couple weeks in Sevilla and loved it. BUT, it's a big city like any other big city. It'd be like going to Nashville and asking random people on the streets about bluegrass. They'd know what it is but it's pretty unlikely they listen to it. But I bet if you're looking for it you could find a pretty kick ass bluegrass scene in Nashville. Similar in Sevilla, Flamenco is absolutely there but the city by no means revolves around it. Plus side of it is, it's a big city with all kinds of things to eat, see, and experience outside of flamenco and it's very old so very cool historical stuff to see but I'm pretty sure that's the same all over Andalusia.

I know very little about Cadiz.

Jerez is likely the "most flamenco city". I've not been but everyone I know who has been or who is from there talks about it like flamenco is a bit more of a big deal out there.
Likely, same amount of flamencos in Sevilla as in Jerez it's just in Sevilla they get a little drowned out by the city being big.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 3:54:46
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

Withinity
What do you want to do besides being close to flamenco? Summer is all about tourism, beech and stuff like that.
Summer es VERY hot and not specially flamenco. Of the 3 cities, Cadiz is a lot cooler in summer and the least flamenco.
You can find some outdoor summer festivals in Andalucia but they will be during night 23 - 04 hours.
Flamenco is having tough times and other cultural expressions are doing worse.

Al-Andalus has IMHO very little connection with flamenco. Granada is the best place for studying Al-Andalus.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 6:42:29
 
Piwin

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RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

Go to Galicia, it's much cooler and the beaches won't be jam packed with people!
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by the "ultra commercial" places, but pretty much anything on the coast during the summer will be catering to tourists since it is after all a big chunk of their livelihood. There are many places in Andalucia that don't have much to do with modern western lifestyle, though it's really about poverty and not about any kind of traditions being upheld (try inland Andalucia East of Guadix, any poligono around major cities or just the small hamlets far out in the countryside...). Flamenco still exists as part of culture with people just getting together and singing/playing, though I'm not sure how welcome any of us would be as a tourist only there for a few months. I suppose it's about the connections you make when arriving. Have you thought of looking up Airbnb type rentals? I remember meeting a guy in Cordoba who was deep in flamenco and rented out his appartment as a kind of "full flamenco experience" kind of think (i.e. he bring his guests around to his favorite tablaos and whatnot).
Granada has a lot to offer and has a strong hippie vibe.
Seville has more of a big city feel but has probably the most to offer in terms of quantity and diversity of flamenco.
Cadiz is cooler (starts to be the Atlantic ocean somewhere around there) and there are some interesting flamenco things to see within driving distance. (with a car, chiclana, jerez, etc. are really right next door).

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 10:50:33
 
withinity

 

Posts: 180
Joined: Sep. 17 2013
 

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

Well besides flamenco I want to learn how to speak the language so I guess just to settle in to whichever town I end up choosing , gaining some sense of navigation of the region and how things work, get to know locals over time etc. I would be arriving late in the summer around Septembre , when is the tourist season generally over? Should I strike up a deal with a landlord directly as opposed to going through an agency , I hear its pretty greasy.

Are you telling me people within spain are flocking towards the coast in summer because the cities are too hot?

Sorry for the interrogation with my barrage of questions lol.

As for Al Andalus that pursuit is more tied too interesting reading material and as a tool for study of the language. Not really studying heavily about it more of a general interest.

Seems nice Galicia lol Thanks for all your insights and observation guys. I'm not sure how long I am going to be there by the way, I booked a one way ticket.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 13:18:57
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

Al Andalu'...is a big history subject too much to write here...
Granada would be a good place to go .. Really if you want to learn Spanish and be with the people etc ... i would suggest you go to a smaller village place ,,
I know its hard to choose and there are so many ,
but lots will have a peña flamenca .. so there will be players around and you can go to other villages in the area with them ..

The main reason for the smaller place is that the villagers will have time fro you , they will want to know you and you will get involved in all kinds of life pretty quickly ...

The bigger cities are, well ... different .. like all bigger cities ,,
and the coast is very touristic in the summer ...

from experience , i spent years living up a mountain in a small village in Cordoba.., great ,, really good and i still have a lot of freinds there ,,even the Mayor ,,,

a little bit of research will help you choose a location ..close to this ,, not too far from that .. bus routes trains etc ...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 13:31:49
 
Piwin

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RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

If you're arriving in September you should be fine. It's mainly July and August where the coastal regions fill up with tourists. In September, most people are going back to work already and the holiday rush slows down (and the heat abates somewhat).

I guess if all you need is flamenco and Spanish, your options are pretty much open to all of Andalucia. If you like mountains, Granada and Jaen are very nice. There are lots of mountain villages close to the main cities and/or closer to the sea. The flamenco scene may be smaller than in Sevilla but there's more than enough to keep you busy for a lifetime.
Sevilla is definitely a sort of "hub" in that there is a lot of flamenco there, but as Lenador said, it's a big city so you don't necessarily get the impression that there's that much flamenco at first. I know a few people who live in villages around Sevilla so they get the best of both worlds of sorts, i.e. the small village feel and the amenities of the larger city.
Malaga has some good penas but I've never been there long enough to speak of how life there might be. Often overlooked are the cities to the East like Almeria who also have a rich tradition of flamenco.
Cordoba has a good flamenco scene too. Many come back from Cordoba with the impression that people there are a bit colder than in the rest of Andalucia though (only been there about two weeks myself so it's hard for me to tell what to make of that claim).
The coastal cities to the West like Cadiz or Huelva strike me as the most welcoming of the lot. I've found people there to be amazingly welcoming and fun compared to other places of Andalucia, but that's very subjective and doesn't mean that people elsewhere aren't welcoming (it just takes perhaps a bit more time).

If you're planning on staying a while but don't know where, perhaps if possible you could take a few weeks at first to just travel around a bit from city to city and get a feel for the different areas. The bus is cheap (cheaper than travel by rail and about just as fast) and usually very comfortable (sometimes has Wifi too). Check www.alsa.es.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 13:59:51
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

From what you write, my suggestion is Granada. September is cooler there because of the height and you can find most things. Language schools, some flamenco a lot of Al-Andalus....
But i dont get this with Al-Andalus because you want to study Spanish language. The two things have very little in common. Spanish is the language that those that came after Al-Andalus spoke.
If you want to study Spanish culture, yes then it has its part. Especially in Andalucia and Especially in Granada (Cordoba and Sevilla)

And yes Spanish go to the coast in summer and the season ends end August.

I´m not so sure about this with getting more in contact with the locals in the villages. In the 15 years that I have lived here, society has changed a lot. Especially the last 7 - 8 years. A lot less people in the streets and most with their attention put in their mobile/cell phones. Spain is the biggest consumers of mobile-internet hours per capita.....
The place is far from being as interesting as it was.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 15:24:29
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

quote:

As for Al Andalus that pursuit is more tied too interesting reading material and as a tool for study of the language. Not really studying heavily about it more of a general interest.

I thought this was interesting when I stumbled across it.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_language_influence_on_the_Spanish_language

I spent two weeks in Sevilla and made maybe 2 friends, separately and one of em was kind of an a-hole, Italian guy.

I spent one week in Rhonda and made an entire group of friends my first day there and all of them were super cool to me the whole time. Not recommending Rhonda for you as there's nearly no flamenco at all but you get the big city vs small city idea.

In all cases my friends were made through some sort of metal shirt, iron maiden, slayer etc. Maybe try that? Jk
Actually except the a-hole....he just ran the hostel.....make metalhead friends.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 15:30:34
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3297
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

quote:

Anyway was just woundering if anyone could recommend some books about the history of Al Andalus, both by Spanish and foreign Authors. Written in English and Spanish.


If you want to learn about the history of Al Andalus, a good beginnning would be to read "The Ornament of the World," by Maria Rosa Menocal. Ms. Menocal tells the story of the rich cultural mix that was Al Andalus under the Moors, particularly under the Caliphate of Cordoba. She sometimes soft-pedals aspects of Muslim rule such as the Dhimmi (Christians and Jews as "People of the Book") not having full rights as Muslims had, but on the whole she presents Al Andalus as a pretty enlightened place compared to its Northern European neighbors at the time. "The Ornament of the World" is a good read and interesting history about a place and time many of us are interested in to the present day. Highly recommended.

Bill

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 17:02:48
 
Escribano

Posts: 6311
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

Especially the last 7 - 8 years. A lot less people in the streets and most with their attention put in their mobile/cell phones. Spain is the biggest consumers of mobile-internet hours per capita.....
The place is far from being as interesting as it was.


No more learning Spanish sitting on your doorstep with the neighbours, I guess? Kids were already going that way when I was there. They wanted me to talk them in English and after they could say "hello" and "1,2,3,4,5" they disappeared

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 19:11:34
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

quote:

And yes Spanish go to the coast in summer and the season ends end August.

Dos everyone get a summer vacation from work??? How long is it generally???

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 20:12:20
 
Escribano

Posts: 6311
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to Leñador

quote:

Dos everyone get a summer vacation from work??? How long is it generally???


Feels like a month but it's probably 2 weeks on average. Depends on their job. A lot of bars and restaurants off the coast shut down for annual vacation, as there are no customers anyway. Granadinos from the city hit the beach every weekend.

The norm for professionals in the UK is about 5-6 weeks paid a year, plus public holidays.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 20:15:34
 
Estevan

Posts: 1891
Joined: Dec. 20 2006
From: Torontolucía

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

quote:

Anyway was just woundering if anyone could recommend some books about the history of Al Andalus

'Moorish Spain' by Richard Fletcher - an excellent, well-balanced account.

If you want to know something about the events after 1492 that went towards establishing modern Spain, I recommend 'Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain' by Matthew Carr. If you have the stomach for it.

Nothing to do with flamenco, of course, but you did ask and I'm just trying to be helpful.
For a flamenco-related recommendation, see my post in the 'Semana Santa' thread.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 20:33:37
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

I only know spaniards here in Spain and in general they get 1 month for the summer (july or august) and a lot of extras for the rest of the year. And then they have this very Spanish thing:
If a public hollyday falls on a sunday, they get the monday free..... And if the public hollyday is on a tuesday or thursday, they get friday or monday free respectively.

All this doesnt count for agricultural workers and Luthiers. We work 7 days a week.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 21:12:30
 
withinity

 

Posts: 180
Joined: Sep. 17 2013
 

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

Hey friends.

Thanks for all the great feedback and sorry for the delayed response I don't want to seem ungrateful.

I broke my right medio finger and completely freaked out assuming all the worst things possible in relation to my future in relation to the Guitar. The public health systems just added to the stress also.

It's looking much better now though, will be able to make a closed fist again when my hand is recovered fully. Very weak at the moment because of the time in the cast.

I still worry a little about the new positioning of the finger , i've tried to analyze it and think it should be ok technique wise positioning albeit a bit awkward at first. If its not dam the public health system to hell since the surgeon talked me out of surgery once i already had the anesthesia needle in my arm. The surgery would have involved cutting into the tendon and perma screws.

So yeah besides that... Europe it's looking pretty shocking lol. Macedonia to Spain here I come.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 26 2016 14:55:06
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13289
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

quote:

ORIGINAL: withinity

Hey friends.

Thanks for all the great feedback and sorry for the delayed response I don't want to seem ungrateful.

I broke my right medio finger and completely freaked out assuming all the worst things possible in relation to my future in relation to the Guitar. The public health systems just added to the stress also.

It's looking much better now though, will be able to make a closed fist again when my hand is recovered fully. Very weak at the moment because of the time in the cast.

I still worry a little about the new positioning of the finger , i've tried to analyze it and think it should be ok technique wise positioning albeit a bit awkward at first. If its not dam the public health system to hell since the surgeon talked me out of surgery once i already had the anesthesia needle in my arm. The surgery would have involved cutting into the tendon and perma screws.

So yeah besides that... Europe it's looking pretty shocking lol. Macedonia to Spain here I come.




My buddy just broke 3 fingers of the left hand in January. They had to put pins in behind the knuckles and through the joints to get all the bones to heal proper, then pulled them out after two weeks. As of a month ago he's already been doing gigs. Not the same as before of course, but the body adapts to what it has to do. Chin up!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 26 2016 15:02:26
 
Piwin

Posts: 3376
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

Rough. Though in a lot of penas you can get by just fine with just a thumb and maybe an index finger here and there so I wouldn't worry too much about it

Enjoy the trip. Lots of good music around Skpoje with a pretty large Roma community there.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 26 2016 16:59:49
 
withinity

 

Posts: 180
Joined: Sep. 17 2013
 

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

So guys , in about a weeks time I will finally be living in Spain , its well past the tourist season now and things are starting to cool down.

I'm tossing up between Granada and Seville and I really cannot make my mind up, so I dug up this old thread too see what you guys had to say once more..

I get it , the big city vibe makes certain elements harder to find but I'm really not down to be living in a village or something like this at the moment. I have been spending alot of time in such places over the last 4 months.

So Granada vs Seville... Which do you think is better for a younger person who wants to settle into a city and also has interest in Flamenco.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 8 2016 16:25:28
 
withinity

 

Posts: 180
Joined: Sep. 17 2013
 

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

Oh wow , I can see the population of Seville is like more than double of that of Granada. Is Granada still an active place or has everyone left the city in order to study and work elsewhere much like other parts of Europe.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 8 2016 16:29:24
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13289
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

quote:

ORIGINAL: withinity

Oh wow , I can see the population of Seville is like more than double of that of Granada. Is Granada still an active place or has everyone left the city in order to study and work elsewhere much like other parts of Europe.


Sevilla has always been like the "madrid" of andalucia. Many more work opportunities.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 8 2016 16:32:06
 
Piwin

Posts: 3376
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RE: Al Andalus (in reply to withinity

If you can, why not just take a bit of time to visit both before settling down? They're not that far apart (3h?) and the bus is dirt cheap.
As far as what you were saying about people leaving: Granada still has a pretty strong university programme that brings in students from all over. Business-wise there's work (at least there was when I was there) but the city hasn't attracted that many large companies (or any?). Those tend to congregate around a few major hubs in Spain. I remember someone telling me that the main reason for the population decrease in Granada capital had to do with people moving to the suburbs, more so than migration to other parts of Spain.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 8 2016 21:21:01
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