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Modern choirs for people who love to sing

On to Granada!

Welcome to part 2!

The next major highlight is the three hour coach trip to Granada, which proves almost as enjoyable as the visit itself. Sally is speaking again:  ‘Coach leaves at 8.30 a.m. sharp. If you’re not on it, you’re not going.’  On the journey Sally announces The Quiz, with 60 questions. She is speaking again: ‘Now can I make this very clear. In the event of any disputed questions, my answer is the right one’. There was also a reference to ‘The Tunbridge Wells Mafia’, but I’ve forgotten the context. I think it might have had something to do with using mobile phones for the answers….

The quiz is good fun and we feel we’ve done well to score 36 out of 60 wide-ranging questions. In no time we start to see the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada and then we are in Granada itself. Our destination is another luxurious ‘Melia’ hotel, near the Cathedral and the swish shopping area. Granada is distinctly chillier than Seville and those snow-capped mountains are in evidence every time we turn a corner in the city.

In Granada now we are well into flamenco territory. Today we have a flamenco lesson, a meal and a flamenco show at the Jardines de Zoraya: one of Lonely Planet’s ‘four best flamenco venues’, in the Albaicin quarter which overlooks the magnificent Alhambra on the hills opposite.  Unfortunately we have a somewhat tortuous cobble-stone route on foot to our destination, so we miss half of our lesson, but it is still enjoyable.  Then a quick dash back to an open square: the Mirador de San Nicolas, where we manage to get the attention of quite a large audience by singing some of the songs we’ll be doing on our final Friday night.

Then to another splendid meal in the flamenco venue itself: our tables surrounding the small stage. After we’ve eaten our fill and consumed more wine, the performers come on. They have a guitarist, two male singers and one male and one female dancer. The guitarist plucks and strums and one of the singers breaks into a nasal, Middle-Eastern sounding lament which builds until suddenly our female dancer bursts onto the floor, strutting, stamping and ruffling her skirts, with the most intense expression on her face. The music and the dance reach a deafening crescendo, her feet a blur on the floorboards.  Then suddenly it is all over and she appears to collapse, all passion spent.

This is repeated over and over again, to different songs and different music.  The male dancer performs as well. He is not lightly built like a ballroom dancer – he is built for maximum impact and sound! Wearing a three-piece suit, he struts and stamps and sweats, eventually removing the jacket but not the waistcoat.  Sadly, the performance has to finish eventually and we all rise to give a standing ovation. It has been an amazing evening and our first taste of flamenco.  I don’t think we’ll be taking it up though – far too hard on the joints.

Join us for the final part tomorrow!