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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Godella International Guitar Competition

In concert, and in search of my summer home - 50 years on

In November I played at the Godella International Guitar Competition in Valencia, Spain. Godella is an outer suburb of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast close to Alicante. It has an impressive theatre appropriate to a town much larger than Godella. It has some splendid restaurants offering great food, traditional and otherwise. It has some beautiful 19th century houses with large internal patios paved with colourful Baroque Valencian ceramic tiles. It also still contains, I think, the house where I spent idyllic summers as a child 50 years ago - but where is it? Well, let me take it one step at a time.

I was delighted to be invited to play in this new Festival for I had only been back to Godella a couple of times very briefly in all these years. This time I was to stay there for a few days. The organisers accommodated me in a rather large monastery, about 300 hundred rooms, where there are now only 12 monks left.....but that is another story. The monastery is about 10 minutes’ walk to the theatre where I gave the concert. Every morning I would go into town to have breakfast with Carlos Jaramillo, the charming Festival Director and as I strolled would ask myself: now where was that house? How could things have changed so much? I don´t recognize anything!

I enjoyed giving the concert. While doing so I remembered as a child playing the guitar in the open patio at the front of my uncle´s home. I could see the wheat fields as I did so. Sometimes the farmer would pass through the field wearing a straw hat and holding onto to a mule or donkey. All this I imagined during the concert, especially when playing the music I remembered from childhood. I spoke of my time in Godella to the audience. They loved it. I half hoped somebody would come up to me and say they remembered me, but no one did.

The next day I decided to track down the house. I started from the ex-railway station, now the metro station. From there I walked along the road I remembered from the intersection. Yes, this is the one. There were no shops and no buildings, just countryside, but this is the direction. And there was a slight curve in the road then as there is now. Here on the left there was a wheat field and opposite was the road itself. Yes, this could be the road. But at the end there was once another wheat field, but now there are houses.... hang on, I think it's this house on the left. Let me walk round the corner and check whether the old house over there is still the same one. Once it was my uncle's house. Yes, this was my uncle's house, so that house back there is where for sure I spent my childhood summers. And there it was, but a stone's throw from the monastery where I was staying!

Carlos infront of the house where he spent childhood summers

I think I can say this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience – returning after 50 years to a childhood location to play a concert in a grand theatre. I may be wrong, and I may have a similar experience again in 50 years' time. If so, I'll let you know, so watch this space.

December 2010

For more information about the competition and the region of Valencia see newspaper article.

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=228 .
© 2019.

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