Last Saturday, some Spanish friends invited me along to a benefit concert in Guardarrama. The concert was held in a majestic hillside villa owned by a philanthropist lady doctor named Maria. Alalay is a home for street children in Bolivia. An American woman blogged about her experiences volunteering at the house if you're interested in reading about the children and how the Alalay helps them.
The concert consisted of various types of performances of varying degrees of skill and talent. I saw my first live harp performance early in the night. I was mesmerized by the lady's nimble, agile fingers plucking at the strings. The second performance wasn't very skilled - her aria made us all cringe a little. The third, was a Brazilian guitarist singer/songwriter and his sidekick. His amp was turned up so loud, his singing made us wince in pain. But I suppose I'm being a little 'tiquis miquis'. It was after all for a worthy cause and the tickets were a mere 5 euros.
The bellydancers were friends of my Spanish friends and the reason why we attended the concert. I have to admit that I'm no expert on bellydancing. I've seen a show or two live but most of my experience comes from the videos of famous hard-bodied bellydancers I've seen at my local kebap shop. These ladies had shapely bellies (not unlike my own) and I found I liked their soft movements. They weren't encumbered by our pop-culture cookie-cutter mould and showed us that graceful and sexy women come in all sizes. Plus they looked like they were having a lot of fun and that mood infected the audience who applauded and cheered with more enthusiasm than I had heard all night.
We left the salon after the bellydancing so I didn't have an opportunity to see any of the other performances. We had already been sitting on the metal folding chairs for 3 hours and that seemed long enough so we abandoned our coveted front row seats, wandered around the enormous terraced garden then ate sandwiches by the pool. By the time we left, the villa was packed with people. The benefit concert was obviously a success and would continue long into the night without us.