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Duende - Jason Webster

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Duende - A Journey Into the Heart of Flamenco
Jason Webster
Paperback / softback
Broadway Books
UK Publication Date

The music started:
two guitarists beating out more
The women took turns to dance in a frenzy, each trying to outdo the other.
"Deep Song always sings in the night," Lorca had written. It was the credo of the flamenco:
a rejection of the mundane, the ordinary, the life of the everyday man, embracing, rather, an extreme world - extreme passions, extreme feelings, the extremes of life and death.
And it was a way of life I wanted to believe in - its excitement, its danger, the affirmation it gave you that you were different, and alive.

Destined for a sedate and predictable life in academia, Jason Webster was derailed in his early twenties when his first love, an aloof Florentine beauty, dumped him unceremoniously.
Loveless and eager for adventure - and determined to fulfill a secret dream -- he left Oxford and headed for Spain, the country that had long captivated his imagination, and set off in search of duende, the intense and mysterious emotional state - part ecstasy, part melancholy
- that is the essence of Spain's signature art form:

Duende is Webster's captivating memoir of the years he spent in Spain pursuing his obsession.
Studying flamenco guitar until his fingers bleed, he becomes involved in a passionate yet doomed affair with Lola, a flamenco dancer (and older woman) married to the gun-toting Vicente, only to flee the coastal city of Alicante in fear for his life.
He ends up in Madrid, miserable and lovelorn, but it's here that he has his first taste of the gritty world of flamenco's progenitors - the Gypsies whose edgy lives and fervent commitment to the art of flamenco vividly illustrate the path to duende.
Before long he is deeply immersed in a flamenco underworld that combines music and dance with drugs and crime.
After two years Webster moves on to Granada where, bruised and battered, he reflects on his discovery of the emotional heart of Spain.

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JASON WEBSTER was born near San Francisco and later moved to Europe as a child, living in England and Germany. He eventually ended up in Alexandria, Egypt, and then Spain, where he learned flamenco guitar and where he has been based on and off for the past ten years. He currently lives in Valencia, Spain, with the flamenco dancer Salud.

"In this enjoyable Spanish travel memoir…Webster…fluidly interlac[es] his foreigner's perspective with edgy and often perilous cravings to live of a genuine flamenco guitarist…Webster deserves praise for verbalizing an emotion that most people can only feel or imagine." -Publishers Weekly

"A journey into the heart of flamenco, it is as vivid and colorful as an Almodovar film; it'll leave you with a burning desire to head for Spain." -Time Out (London)

"There are three great non-fiction books about Spain written by Englishmen. One is Laurie Lee's As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, the other two are by Gerald Brenan: The Spanish Labyrinth and South from Granada. In my view, Jason Webster's Duende:…is very nearly up there in the pantheon….A powerful, dangerous book that will win many prizes."
-Cond Nast Traveller (London)

"Jason Webster has immersed himself deep in a world where few outsiders have succeeded, and he writes about it in an engaging style. I found his descriptions of the Flamenco underworld irresistible, his characterizations deftly drawn, and his ideas and observations on Spain and the Spanish thoughtful and intriguing...I was drawn in straightaway, and although I hesitate to say this ... I couldn't put it down." -Chris Stewart, Author of Driving Over Lemons

"This is a thoroughly good read.
An honest attempt to explain a consuming passion, it's a book where fact is definitely stranger and more convincing than fiction." -Living Spain

"A compelling account of a culture closed to most guiris (foreigners) and infinitely darker and more dramatic than the colourful tourist spectacles would have them believe."
-The Observer (London)

"His descriptions of troubled modern day Spain are mesmerizing…" -Daily Express

"Jason Webster is an exceptional writer, and this is a great book." -Sunday Telegraph

"For a first book, indeed for any book, Webster's writing has great assurance, and there are some superbly constructed moments...Duende is an impressive debut...We will be lucky if we see many such passionate and evocative travel books this year."-Sunday Times (London)

Country of Publication
New York (State)
Number of Pages

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