An Astronaut in Medieval Salamanca
Today we ventured into the city of Salamanca once more, bright and early for our master class. At the DaCapo School, with the guidance of our instructor Mara, we learned common traditional Spanish folk music and the instruments used, most of which displayed creativity and resourcefulness among agricultural areas. Traditional Spanish music falls into three main categories: pasacalles, jota, and charrada. Once we grew comfortable with the rhythms, we formed our band of Spanish folk music with an arsenal of spoons, castanets, tambourines, glass bottles, mortars and pestles, pandero (which is made of goat skin), and sea shells. And then we danced to the jota rhythm. Mara taught us some traditional footwork. This master class showed us how to create music from very humble beginnings, inspiring a sense of community.
Afterwards, we toured the city with Carmen, a native of Salamanca. She led us through the Old Cathedral, and the New Cathedral, which actually dates from the 17th century. On the façade of the cathedral we discovered a surprise: an astronaut carved into the stone. The beautiful architecture and depth of history surrounding the buildings has survived conquests, earthquakes, and college students of the university adjacent. Following this, we viewed the library of Salamanca University which was originally a palace, and then toured the Plaza Mayor. Salamanca is a magical city steeped in history and tradition.