Stop & Listen To The Accordion

As I’m fumbling for my metro pass  and running down the escalator to catch the next train, I am overwhelmed with the sound of a Spanish accordion taking over the entire hall of the station.

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So you’ve been in this new place for a few months now, and you’re beginning to phase out of the honeymoon period and starting to feel the weight of the many stresses you can no longer choose to ignore pressing down on your shoulders. Stress always seems to follow you, whether you’re a thousand miles away, or right next door.

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I wake up with 20 things I already have to do on my to-do list, throw on some clothes, and dash out the door. As I’m fumbling for my metro pass and running down the escalator to catch the next train, I am overwhelmed with the sound of a Spanish accordion taking over the entire hall of the station. I take a step back, look around, and breathe. “I’m hearing an accordion playing in this metro station, right here in Barcelona,” I think to myself. I then begin to realize once again how much beauty surrounds me.

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One thing about Barcelona I’ve been particularly impressed by is the caliber of talent among its street performers. The musicians plant themselves in the metro stations and cars, tiny cafes, and the center of plazas. The metro stations in Barcelona have extremely long underground hallways that you walk through to transfer lines. But as the underground heat bears down on you and you become overwhelmed by the Sony advertisements plastered alongside the entirety of the hall, the passion of the artists’ music reverberates throughout the entire tunnel and reminds you of the culture the city has to offer. These artists range from Japanese clarinetists, Spanish guitarists, break-dancers, American rock musicians, and anything and everything in between. Barcelona is an international city, and the talented musicians scattered throughout its public places only further prove that.

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A Flamenco guitarist and singer, who plays every Thursday night, showed me just how much passion the city has to offer. Inside Café LaLola, the musician sang with his eyes closed, his voice exerting enough emotion to give all the spectators chills. And yet some of the best musicians are those that I stumble upon. In one instance, my friends and I were walking towards one of the events of Barcelona’s famous Festival de Merce when we stumbled across a most incredible Spanish guitarist playing in the center of a plaza. We stopped and listened, put our arms around each other, and sang along to his rendition of Tracy Chapman, worrying about nothing and taking in the presence of friends.

So as I walk through the metro station, I smile at the musician and throw in a few coins, thanking him for reminding me to stop and hear the accordion.

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