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Hola!

Unbelievable but true. I continue the series. You must know that we Spaniards are not good at discipline… But we have other qualities. For example:

guitarra EspañolaReason for loving Spain nr 2: MUSIC

Let me set this clear: I do not imply that we are superior musicians, composers, dancers or anything (though we do pretty good). What I mean is what a role music plays in our lifes, in our culture.

Music in Spain is everywhere, everyday. Spain in general is quite a loud country. But interestingly, that loudness is seldom anoying. I have noticed and thought about it? I think the answer is music. It is always there, adding a note of acoustic color to the loudness.

Music in Spain is enormously varied. Few countries have experienced such an incredible cultural traffic. We have been invaded/visited by Phoenitians, Iberos, Celts, Romans, Arabs, French… Even today we get invaded/visited, especially by Brits or Germans. We call it now tourism and charge for it, as opposed to die from it (at least most of the time). And yes: we love tourists. Seriously!

jota aragonesaWell all of those folks/visitors/invadors have left a tremendous cultural legacy in our peninsula. And musical influences are definetly a great part of it. From the Celt tones you find in the north, north-west, to the obvious arab influences you find in flamenco music. I think its remarkable what an acoustic footprint has been built over the centuries.

We have the Jota in Aragón, the Sardana in Cataluña, the Chotis in Madrid… And this is – believe me – just a small selection. In Andalucía alone we have Flamenco, Soleá, Bulería, Cante Jondo, Sevillanas, Fandago… And that is just one region.

There is a long list of famous Spanish musicians to choose from, but that would deserve another post.

quien canta su mal espantaBut what really strikes foreigners most, is how much we love singign loud. It does not matter if we are good at it. It is fun. It feels good.

We usually prefer to sing in Spanish. We are not very good in speaking English. We might not have a clue about the words of this or that song or what it means. But we try our best and our loudest…

One of many sayings in Spain that are linked to music is: “Quien canta su mal espanta”, meaning: He who sings scares away his evil. Maybe that is why we tend to be in a good mood?

Or is it our wine? Not sure. I think I will sing out loud, along with a glass of  “The Spanish Quarter” Tempranillo-Cabernet and try to find out. Why don’t you try the same?

Salud!
Francisco

You are going to love this one!compartiendo tapitas con vino

Tapas are becoming more and more popular. I am amazed, happy and proud when I see more and more tapas bars popping up all over the world. In most cases they are actually quite good.

What very few people know, is where the name and the tradition come from.

First you need to know, that the word “tapa” means “lid” in Spanish.

Then, you need to grasp a bit of our culture: Spaniards love to talk, discuss, joke and sing together. We love also to go out. A perfect evening has often been to leave home and go “de tapeo”. Could be translated in “go tapa-ing”.

This has always been like this, also in times where higenic laws were more easy going, and bars -specially in the summer- were full of flies. We don’t drink quick. Steadily and during hours, but not quickly. To avoid flies getting into your glass of vino tinto (red wine), you got your glass served with a lid. That lid was a sliece of bread or a tiny plate with something on top. It could be a slice of jamon serrano (the best ham in the world, which deserves an own post), cheese or any other tasty something.

And as you might have guessed, this bite literally served as “lid”, which in spanish is “tapa”. That’s all the mistery.

Some things have changed with the time: bars are clean, have few/no flies etc. We still love to talk and drink and eat at the same time. And we love the tradition of offering a tasty bite.

Unfortunately you get charged for your tapas in more and more places every time. But not everywhere! I will soon get back to you with more about this though

Till then: enjoy your tapas with a glass of “The Spanish Quarter” or your favourite Spanish wine.

Salud!
Francisco