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And evening at El Firoela, minuscule bar in Seville


One evening in the Spring of 2001 in Seville, my friend and co-worker Eugenia and I came upon a minuscule bar, El Firoela. Some folks were sitting about in an impromptu music session, playing in the flamenco vein for which the Adalusian region is renowned. There were: a guitarist, a singer, a guy playing the bottom of a tall ornate silver teakettle, and three women. The place was packed.

Eugenia and I went in, and sat on the narrow stair up to the toilet/drygoods storage.

None of us were drinking much, and the barman was pretty much just one more occupant.

This was one of the two best performances of flamenco that I experienced in Seville. Flamenco is an extremely romantic, emotional music. Flamenco is rooted in the suffering, the hopes, and aspirations of the Gypsy people. The Spanish of this region love it, though they are none too keen on the Gypsies themselves. It's a bit like the blues/jazz of the United States, whose white people can't hear enough of the black peoples' music, while they often seem that they don't like the black people from whom this music arose.

The three women were non-Spanish folk who'd come to Seville to study flamenco dance.

At a point, Miguel instructed las chicas that it was their opportunity to dance, and two of them did, in turn. Catherine danced beautifully. She was a Nordic beauty. Very nicely done. Sexy. The American girl was embarrased, but complied. "It's your time," Miguel insisted.

Eugenia, later, said of bar El Firoela "Creo que es un error" — giving her opinion that she believed the opening of the bar to be a mistake, and that they'd be unable to make enough money.

They didn't make much money from us, nor apparently from the others who occupied the space that evening. It was a great little spot, though, a fine discovery.

Later, we followed the closing of the bar by gathering outside the front door and agreeing to go find somewhere else to be together. (I don't say "to drink," because that was decidedly not the point.)

We went somewhere, to a bar I don't think any of us had visited. I smuggled in the half bottle that I'd not finished in the El Firoela. There was a pool table.

We left there at about 4:30 in the morning. I split off at a public square equidistant from my apartment and the bar El Mundo, where they were going. El Mundo, a late bar, was probably only barely opened and about half set-up. The others tried to convince me to come along. I was tired. Maybe more importantly, I was a little upset with myself. I had felt that Catherine had wanted me to talk to her, and I hadn't, not really. She'd left a little bit earlier.

Miguel, in typical Spanish fashion, told me "Es muy temprano" — it's very early.

And that was true enough — being in Spain, as we were. I felt like I should have gone along, but I really wanted to go home, so I did.


  • I lived in Seville from December 2000 until June 2001.


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