Thursday, 20 October 2011

revelation at DAI: must learn spanish, must visit spain!

Was at the Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyah (DAI, Kuwait) Flamenco Journey concert last night.

When I first read Flamenco in the memo, my mind immediately stupidly shouted: 'FLAMENCO DANCERS!' and recalled this scene in Mission Impossible 2.

Now I want to fly to Seville. But for now, let's head back to the DAI.
It wasn't dancing, it was music. But flameco music shouldn't be so bad, right?
It most definitely wasn't.

We got there at 6 45 pm, early by our standards as the show was due to begin at 7, but obviously it wasn't early enough coz every darn seat was taken. We walked through the aisles and went around to the back and discovered the DAI had very thoughtfully set up a projector screen and seats before it. I was a tad disappointed that we wouldn't actually see them perform (the faces on the screen were a little blurred) but then again we were here to listen, right? Right.

The music was beautiful, a fusion of flamenco, folk, classical and modern music with guitar (three) and percussion. The percussionist, Pablo Gómez Molina, stole the show in the latter half with his absolutely brilliant performance. I have no idea what he did as I have no knowledge of musical instruments (I can just about tell a piano from a tuba). He would alternate between putting a curious but small, silver object in his mouth making whooshing sounds like the wind with it and bring his feathered drumsticks (the feathers made me think of voodoo for some reason) down with a crash on the cymbals while changing his drumsticks to these other weird 'metalsticks' that kinda resembled an egg beater in each hand, without the metal being linked on top. Occasionally, he would tie bells or something above his knee and quite literally, shake a leg. Thrice he held up an odd object that resembled a small drum but with something within and shook it. I marvelled at how he was always doing two things at once - a multitasker to a T! His interjections certainly gave a fabulous edge to the guitar play, complementing it in every way.

The concert was, if you haven't understood yet, AMAZING. While the guitarists were playing I closed my eyes and I could see those flowing red skirts, whisking in the air as the owner's shoes tapped the floor in tune to the music..

This was the only video I could find. Not as great as the ones played, for one thing Pablo is not doing anything strange. I didn't take my camera so I couldn't take videos of them playing :( Mental Note 2: NEVER EVER leave home without the camera!

After the show, the sister and I raced to the front where the quartet was receiving a well-deserved standing ovation. As they were getting off the stage there were loud cries for an encore and the sweethearts that they were, the four returned to play another track.
Mental Note: watching performers in the flesh beats seeing them on a projector screen by a mile and a half. They were friggin' GORGEOUS!

As always is the case when one witnesses a wonderful and heartfelt performance, the sister and I skipped over to where Pablo the percussionist was packing up his instruments to tell him how awesome he was. I asked him about them (before today I'd no idea what percussion instruments looked like, like I said I'm an ignoramus in this department) and he graciously told me what they were and a little about their music.
After complimenting him on his performance, he informed me the CDs were on sale outside. The sister bought one on the spot, it had all the tracks that were played :D We then set out to get the CD autographed by Pablo, who scribbled something in Spanish with a permanent marker the sister dug out of her bag (she just happened to be carrying one.. wonder what else she's got in there o_O). We then hesitantly approached the lead guitarist Juan Carlos Gomez to grace his CD with a signature and the rest of the band, Pablo, Luis Miguel and Jose Miguel trooped in. They tried to decipher Pablo's writing and said it meant 'beautiful eyes' (the correct translation is at the end of this post). Wha..? And then Carlos wrote something and translated it, from what I remember it went something like 'big beautiful eyes illuminate your life'. It was probably lost in translation as they spoke little English and I speak no Spanish. If you understand Espanol, tell me what on earth it really says por favor, 'coz Google Translate and I can't make head or tail of it.

Translate si?
I have a bone to pick with some of the people that attended. The hall was so packed, people were actually sitting on the carpeted floor. A moronic woman behind me was talking on her phone very audibly (despite the turn off your cellphones announcement) while the concert was going on and only shut up when somebody 'SHHHHH'ed her. Atleast three other inconsiderate losers in my line of view were constantly fiddling on their iPhones or Blackberries. For God's sake, you've had the good fortune to settle your rear on a chair, why not sit back and enjoy the music? And if you don't enjoy it, show some respect - LEAVE and give your seat to somebody on the floor who wasn't lucky enough to grab one! The light of their mobile screens was so distracting a man even told off a teenager who wouldn't get off it. Twenty minutes later, she was back on. Maybe DAI should hold all phones before a concert begins..

Never mind them. I'm listening to the CD right now and reliving the show. Kudos to DAI and the Spanish Embassy for a lovely evening.

Mental Note 3: Must learn Spanish.
Mental Note 4: Must visit Spain and see Flamenco dances live. This goes on the Before I Die List.

Addendum: A visitor to the blog very kindly translated it for me :) Pablo's writing says: For the most beautiful (girls) and Carlos' says: 'Let your big eyes illuminate your life'. Okay so, it ain't my eyes that are beautiful, it's the whole package. Works for me =D Nobody could ever top these autographs.


  1. The Spanish hand writting says: "For the most beautiful (girls). Let your big eyes illuminate your life"
    Olé!!! I really have enjoyed your comments as they give a deep insight about the concert and the feelings of the audience.

  2. Olé!! :D Thank you so much for the translation and the comment! :)

  3. And they say nothing ever happens in Q8. BTW you should try this site Duolingo. It helps you with learning Spanish and a few other lingos!

    1. They're lying o_O you just have to know where to look.
      Thanks for the site!


Exercise your freedom of speech!
Go on. You know you want to.