Posted by: puebloman | November 4, 2009


Green by Garcia Lorca (my translation)
Verde te que quiero verde,
Verde viento, verdes ramas.
Los dos compadres subieron.
El largo viento dejaba
en la boca un raro gusto
de hiel,de menta y de albaha

Green, how I love you green,
green wind in green branches.
The two friends emerged
as the long breeze was trailing a rare flavour in the mouth
of gall, of mint and of sweet basil . . .

Lorca is talking here about the Vega, the fertile countryside around Granada, green and perfumed. Referring to awaking after summer evenings at his parents’ house “La Huerta” he said “We awoke, our heads aching with perfume and poetry”.

Sobre el rostro del alijibe
se mecia la gitana.
Verde carne, pelo verde,
con ojos de fria plata.
La carambano de luna
la sostiene sobre el agua . .

Over the mouth of the well
the gipsy girl swayed gently
Green flesh, green hair,
with chilled silver eyes.
An icicle of moonbeams
Suspends her above the water . . .

Andalucia is usually surprisingly green, but not in the English sense. The grey green of the olive mixes with the deep verdence of the avocado, the exotic fronds of the mango tree and pale washed green of the “gumbo” – the prickly pear.
At the beginning of November we remain gripped by the iron fist of summer with the landscape many shades of rust from the bare earth and the dessicated vegetation, and still hardly a cloud in the sky.

Nevertheless the word “verdiales”, meaning “the greening” is prevalent and powerful here and attests to the green that always lies under this temporary desert. The term refers, for example, to the local Malaga olive oil, which has a particular colour and flavour. A deep green oil. The best is supposed to be found in Periana, which has a famous old mill still operating and celebrates its oil and peaches in an annual festival, but I like Almachar oil the best, cold pressed and sold in 5 litre flagons from the co-operative in the top square of the village.

Verdiales also refers to the local folk music played at every festival. It is real live folk music. Its home is Comares and each village has its Panda or club. A circle is formed of musicians, one of whom also sings. A conductor stands outside of the circle and holds a stick over the heads of the players to indicate when to start stop and shift tempo. The instruments vary, as is traditional. There are usually a couple of gut strung spanish guitars, finger cymbals, castanets of course and a fiddle and anything else lying around – a drum, a twelve string lute, but not usually anything blown. Cutar had its Verdiales Panda properly accredited this year, a matter of great pride to the village.

Here are some scenes from the last festival:

Miguel and Maria

Miguel and Maria dance the verdiales

Antonio Pino with guitar

Antonio Pino poised for action

Demonstrating the castanets

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