Saturday, August 3, 2019

Music in Mijas, Spain

Mijas is a beautiful little white village nestled into the hills above the Costa del Sol.  The local tourism guide states that when you wander through the narrow, cobbled streets of this Andalucían village, you can understand what has attracted foreigners over the years.  Despite all the visitors, Mijas Pueblo has managed to retain its culture and way of living.  For me, it is one of those places that holds a special appeal because it is enchanting.  I have visited the village several times and always eat at the same restaurant.  La Reja is built into the side of the mountain and has the cave appearance inside, beautifully decorated with ambience in capital letters.

Today, Lyn and I decided to attend a Celtic Concert that started at 9:00.  We wanted to go early to avoid the crowds and get a parking spot because she was sure it would be overrun with tourists and Spaniards.  She parked on the street before the main square and we walked up into the village, surprised that it was quiet.  We knew we had a few hours before the Celtic music began, but where was everyone?

We wandered around the many shops in the main plaza, had a cool drink after our walk in the heat and then began our ascent up, up and up some more stones steps until we found the restaurant.  And we were not disappointed.  Fried Camembert with blueberry sauce, Ensalada  Malagueña (salad made with bacalao fish, potatoes and oranges) and chorizo in wine sauce.  And wine.   All delicious with the backdrop of the green valley before us on the open patio with the perfect breeze to cool off our skin after our walk.
I always laugh when I see the small cubbyholes outside the bathroom for people to sit while they wait their turn.  There are two seats carved into the mountain wall as you walk down the very narrow, steep steps down into a dungeon type alcove.
The music was set for the outdoor theater adjacent to the Plaza of Toros.  There were more people gathering by 7:00, so we people watched with a cool drink under umbrellas in the patio by an antique church.  Music started thumping.  Celtic music?  No, surely not.  The air around us started feeling more festive and by 8:00 we ambled our way to the theater.  Children ran loose and threaded their way around kiddie rides, a Greek tent was selling sticky, sweet baklava, another was showing jewelry, textiles, scarves, and more food.  Everything smelled good and I was still full from our dinner.

Once inside, we found seats and the Spanish chatter was a bit overwhelming.  Lyn decided we needed to split a Guinness since it was Irish music.  So we did and the music started.  Irish dancers, bagpipes, guitars, and then a musical group from Asturias.  When I heard the announcer say the ladies were going to dance la jota, I grabbed my camera.  That dance was from the north where my grandmother was from and I knew she danced that as a child.  The culture seemed to seep out of the dancers and their costumes told the rest of the story.

We heard Scottish music, Irish music and a bit in between.  The beat was mesmerizing and when it was over, I thought it was over.  But, then a band began playing with guitars, drums, a banjo, violin and the lead singer had the crowd tapping their feet, clapping hands and dancing in their seats and in front of the stage.  The crowd came alive and went wild.  And it was near midnight!

We decided to leave after nearly an hour, but we were loving it.  When we turned to walk out, we were both stunned to see the standing room only crowd was about ten deep.  We fought our way out and saw the plaza teeming with people.  It’s as if the sky opened up and dropped a thousand people through the village.  We were walking out and we saw so many people just arriving.  They definitely know how to have a party.  And children were everywhere...the restaurant patios were filled up with families eating dinner AT MIDNIGHT.  Amazing.

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