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Cave of Blues 2017/09/24 Zugurammurdi

My host is a concert harp player and I'm enjoying her practice session. The dulcet tones resonate through the otherwise unadorned white walls of her modern apartment. It's like she's painting in floral patterns, sometimes shadowy, sometimes bright. Its such a pure and emotional sound, I feel like I'm in a movie. This morning I met her over a simple and wholesome breakfast of porridge and fruit. Ideal after after a weekend of mostly white bread and salty, oily bar food.

By every other measure though, the weekend was excellent... worth the epic journey from Dijon. It started at dawn, with a kiss goodbye from Sophie, then three trains, a bus, a Blabla car and a kindly dancer's car landed me and my ridiculous luggage in the Spanish village of Zugurramurdi after nightfall.

Cave Of Blues promised a memorable experience and they delivered. About 60 friendly folk including musicians made this an intimate affair. Most of the dancers are from cities in this region, also Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona... and one familiar face – Angela, a lindy hopper from Sydney! We are gathered in a Euskera region, where all signs and placenames are in Castellano and Basque language (Euskadi). Basque looks very exotic and indecipherable... lots of Ks and Xs.

While dancing with a live band on the first night was beautiful, it pales in memory after the dance in the dramatic, floodlit arches of the caves. High as a cathedral, with a stream running through, the caves are nestled in a lush green landscape reminiscent of Ireland. The cave dance was the grand finale of a fabulous day... an easy hiking through emerald hills dotted with sheep, followed by 'clandestino' dancing in the gorgeous old village square. 'Clandestino' means secret (street) party, but of course it was no secret with our chunky speaker cranking out blues.


Likewise the next night in Pamplona – more open air dancing, this time in lovely Media Luna Park. Locals drinkers enjoyed our dancing too, vicariously, as they lounged in the parkside bar.

The legs knew total exhaustion on Sunday after the return from the mountains ... a walking tour through Pamplona, more schlepping of luggage, and dancing. But it's all good. After this, my first experience of the Spanish blues scene, I look forward to more fusion-meets-trad bluesy good times with these friendly, open, people. Gracias Helios and the Big Kick and VBR crew!


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