Radio Reloj

I started writing a play, set in Andalucía initially — but then it moves across the Atlantic to the Bahamas en route to Cuba. I’m remembering those incredible summer flamenco festivals in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. People would arrive in the countryside from all over, starting late at night. The artists would sing and dance all night. I remember an old Roman ruin, sun rising, and people still gathered to listen.

I also remember the sound of flamenco late at night on the FM dial in Sevilla, radio flamenco. The calm of the city, cold crisp air in January. The momentary interruptions of “radio reloj,” time’s passage being marked in those songs. A recent post of el Granaíno with Patrocinio reminded me of that sound coming into my top floor apartment on Ave María.

From — please help me find this incredible photographer’s name!

Somehow those radio waves lifted up the voices of those figures who move through the back streets of Triana, La Macarena, and Santa Cruz — spirits of another age.

(Pedro El Granaíno y Patrocinio, bulerías en Madrid, Veranos de la Villa 2017)

As I go back to the first draft of Act I, I realize that I’m trying to capture the essence of those summer flamenco festivals, the air at night in Sevilla when those invisible figures traverse the city, the immediacy and directness of the radio at night playing songs that serve as an altar for another period in Andalucía and Spain’s history — one that lives inside the present, but that requires digging and close listening, sometimes to silence.

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