We had come to Granada to visit the Alhambra, the fairytale palace, fortress and gardens created by the Muslims who ruled Andalusia from the 9th century until 1491 when Ferdinand and Isabella defeated them.
The next day we began to explore the rest of the city, which sits under the Sierra Nevada’s snow-capped peaks.
We wandered down the steep hill from the Alhambra and the hotel where we stayed and found ourselves on Cuesta de Gomérez. Midway down the narrow street we heard the sound of flamenco guitar music and saw the sign and captured this video postcard.
Through the doorway, we saw a man in deep concentration sawing a piece of wood. He looked up and nodded.
We learned that we had stepped into the workshop of Francisco Manuel Diaz, a master flamenco guitar maker and a renowned guitar player.
Aficionados use the term “luthier,” someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments, to describe Francisco Manuel Diaz. But guitar and flamenco experts consider him so much more.
The 73-year-old was born in Granada and studied with master guitar makers Eduardo Ferrer and Manuel de la Chica. He also made a mark playing flamenco guitar and traveled extensively to perform in festivals and clubs.
Those in the know prize the guitars he builds and praise his deep knowledge of the craft and attention to musical and aesthetic details.
An online seller of one of his guitars described, “a very rich old flamenco sound, which is difficult to find in most modern guitars.”
We talked with the master briefly about how the ban on ivory affects string instrument makers. He told us he never uses ivory. “Only bone,” he said.
We shot our video postcard in Granada with an iPhone 5s.
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