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‘El Amor Brujo’ at Northern Lights Music Festival brings back memories of Andalusia, Spain

“El Amor Brujo’’ by Manuel De Falla will be performed February 23 at the Northern Lights Festival de Febrero. I remember after about 20 years in the OFJ I would see this piece on the menu and think: Oh man, that again?

pg21Then the first fanfare would sound and I would be on fire until the end. No conscious thought, the music just grabs hold and won’t let go.

My love of Spanish music began long before that. When I was 16 I would listen to Segovia or Rodrigo’s Concierto “Aranjuez” all the time. A few years later as I walked out of Pokhara for a solo trek in the Himalayas, the slow movement of “Aranjuez” played in my mind and tears flowed as I headed across the wide plane toward the mountains. A week later I watched monkeys leap through rhododendrons high above the snow across from Annapurna. Then off to Andalusia to search some more and down into a deep valley below a tiny village, walking up to the snowy mountain past a lone man plowing his field with just a pick. He paused for lunch and pulled out bread with fat. He had almost nothing but offered me half his meal. It was good. After the long day’s walk, I joined the line of farmers going up the trail to their small homes. One man offered me his mule to ride on up the hill.

Maybe that is part of why De Falla loved this land and lived in old Granada for a time. You meet people like those and feel connected to all life and the earth. You can also follow the Semana Santa procession through narrow Granada streets at night and hear the improvised flamenco songs of women leaning out of windows, singing to the icons passing below.

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