Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Occidental College Glee Club: exchange and joint concert in Cordoba with the Coro del CSM Rafael Orozco

Dear friends from Occidental College Glee Club:
After a wonderful time, exchange and concert with the Coro of CSM Rafael Orozco - Superior Conservatory of Music of Córdoba - here you have some pics and videos to share these moments with you. We hope you like them!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Measures comversion chart

We hope this little chart will be useful during your trip to Europe.
Please notice Money conversion changes everyday.
Also Time conversion will change as Portugal follows GMT (as UK), while Spain follows CET (like France).
Therefore, in Spain is one hour later than in Portugal.

USA - California

USA - California

1 euros
1,36 dollars
x 1,36
0,73 EUR
x 0,73
1 sq meter
10,76 sq yard
x 1,19
1 yr2
0,83 m2
x 0,83
1 Meter (m)
3,28 feet
x 3
1 feet
0,3 metros
x 0,3
1 Kilometer
0,62 miles
x 0,62
1 miles
1,61 Km
x 1,61
1 kilograms
2,20 pounds
x 2,2
1 pound(lb)
0,45 Kg
x 0,45
1 liter
0,26 gallons
x 0,26
1 gal
3,79 l
x 3,79
10º Celsius
50º fahrenheit

60º F
15,5º C

20 ºC
68º F

70º F
21,1º C

30º C
86º F

80º F
26,6º C

12:00 noon Spain
11 am Portugal
7 am (behin)

- 5 hrs
12:00 noon
5 am (ahead) Spain
4 am (ah) Portugal
+ 5 hrs

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Occidental College Glee Club in the media, first overview from Incantato

At Incantato Concert Tours, we aim to make every performances a special one!
Here we present you some of the media coverage for your concerts - even before you start your Spain and Portugal Performance tour.
You can always link to the original page just by clicking on the pictures.
We will be posting more screenshots in the next days!

Cultural agenda of Andalucía, Spain

Cultural agenda of the city of Cordoba, Spain

Official web of the City of Évora, Portugal

Cultural Agenda of Portugal, Viral Agenda

Palacio Foz, Lisbon

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Incantato presents the Occidental College Glee Club concert card

Incantato proudly presents the Concert Card for Occidental College Glee Club performance tour 2014.
Spain and Portugal are awaiting your arrival!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fado, singing blue in Portugal

A shawl, a guitar, a voice and heartfelt emotion. These are the ingredients of Fado, the celebrated form of world music that captures what it is to be Portuguese. Fado is probably the oldest urban folk music in the world and represents the heart of the Portuguese soul. Listening to Fado is like visiting Lisbon, meeting the Portuguese people, those that once upon a time faced the unknown sea. This type of music that connected nobles, vagabonds and seafarers, is still nowadays a shared passion by all Portuguese. Fado has been recognized last November 2011 by the UNESCO as Inmaterial Humankind Patrimony.


Fado can be performed by men or women, although the raw emotion of the female fadista is nearly always preferred. Dressed in black with a shawl draped over her shoulders, a fadista stands in front of the musicians and communicates through gesture and facial expressions. The hands move, but the body remains stationary. It’s a solemn and majestic performance.

Traditionally accompanied by the Portuguese guitar, there are many ways of singing the Fado. It can range from the faster Fado corrido of Mouraria, to the impromptu singing known as ‘desgarrada’, or the mournful music of the students of Coimbra. And the well known Fado Vadio (Vagrant Fado), which is characterized by the place where it was born and sang for so long, the streets!

There are two main varieties of fado, namely those of the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon style is the most popular, while Coimbra's is the more refined style. Some of their characteristics are that in Lisbon it is always sung by a solo performer on the contrary, in Coimbra it is often performed by groups of male university students. Both are accompanied by two guitarists, one playing the melody on a twelve-stringed Portuguese guitar and the other supplying the rhythm on the six-stringed viola. In Coimbra we find the usual Fado’s sad style, but with different motivations and also based in the medieval songs called trovas.
Inspiration for Fado can come from almost any source, with predominance of themes like: destiny, deep-seated feelings, disappointments in love, the sense of sadness and longing for someone who has gone away, the sea, the life of sailors and fishermen, and last but not least “Saudade” (one of the main themes used in
fado, that means a kind of longing).


The word Fado comes from the Latin fatum, which means fate or destiny. Fado, in a certain way, represents better than anything the spirit of the Portuguese people: the belief in destiny as something that overwhelms us and from which we can't escape, the domination of the soul and heart over reason, which leads to acts of passion and despair, and reveal such a black and beautiful sorrow. There are many theories about the origin of Fado, like:

  1. Fado has its origin in Moorish songs; Moors kept living near Lisbon even after the Christian take-over. The melancholy of those songs and the referral in many lyrics to Mouraria strengthen this theory.
  2. Fado arrived to Portugal with the sailors returning from their long trips (1822), under the form of Lundum (the music of the Brazilian slaves). Lundum only after a while started modifying until it became the Fado. The first lundum songs related to the sea and the lands far beyond them, where the slaves lived. Then, one of Amália's Fados, called "The Black Boat" talks precisely of a senzala (place where the slaves were kept).
  3. The melancholy character of Fado evolved from Portuguese seafarers who sang of home during their long absences at sea.
  4. Fado was born in the Middle Ages. As cantigas de amigo (friend songs) are a good example of it. They were love songs dedicated to a woman and have great similarities with diverse subjects of the Fado of Lisbon. Also with the Fado of Coimbra, where the students intone their songs beneath the window of the loved one (serenades).


Fado became popular thanks to the singer Maria Severa who lived in the first half of the 19th century and died at the age of 26. She made this type of song famous in aristocratic circles through her romance with the Count of Vimioso. Her life later became the subject of Portugal's first sound movie in 1931. To this day, female performers wear a black shawl in her memory and her life story has been the influence of several Fado songs, poems, novels, and plays.

By the early twentieth century, Fado had become a fixture in the everyday life of Lisbon’s working class. It was played for pleasure and also to relieve the pain of life. Fadistas, skilled singers that performed at the end of the day and long into the night. Fado was the earthly music of taverns, brothels and street corners mainly in Alfama, Mouraria, Bairro Alto and Madragoa. Fado reached its golden era in the first half of the 20th century, when the Portuguese dictatorship of Salazar (1926-1968) forced the fado performers to become professional and confined them to sing in the fado houses and the so called "revistas", a popular genre of "vaudeville". The main names of this period were: Alfredo Marceneiro, Amália Rodrigues, Maria Teresa de Noronha and Armandinho and Jaime Santos (guitar players).

From the 1940’s until 1999 Fado was shown to the world through the voice of one amazing artist, Amália Rodrigues, the towering figure of Portuguese fado. In the 20th century she made Fado known beyond Portugal, performing all over Europe, Japan, South America, and even in the United States, in New York's "La Vie en Rose" in the 1950s. When she died the country’s prime minister called for three days of national mourning, and as a national icon, she was buried in Lisbon's National Pantheon.
Amália has found a worthy successor in Mariza, who takes Fado to an even wider audience. Other very important names of Fado are Maria da Fé, Hermínia Silva, Argentina Santos and Carlos do Carmo.

Nowadays in Portugal, the younger generation respects fado but isn’t dedicated to it. Contemporary fado musicians like Misia have introduced the music to performers such as Sting. Cristina Branco, Dulce Pontes, Camané, Mafalda Arnauth and Katia Guerreiro are other sonant artists that keep Fado alive, and brought with them a new look to the traditional song, occasionally reviving 19th century fado. Amendoeira.

And also please note that despite Fado being a symbol of the Portuguese nationality, it is, by no means, the national song. From region to region, Portugal possesses several rich and typical folklores of each geographical area that have nothing to do with Fado. Perhaps we can, if you want, to say that this will be the form of folklore of Lisbon, Oporto and Coimbra. However, it is appreciated and recognized in all the Portuguese country as a symbol. This is the spirit of fado, the expression of a collective soul, made of each one's soul.

Sources: Clube de fado, www.fado.comHistoria do Fado, Pinto do Carvalho, A history of the Portuguese Fado , Paul Vernon,…

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Incantato Performance Venue: Auditorium of the Colégio do Espírito Santo, Central Évora University.

The Occidental College Glee Club, under the direction of Désirée La Vertu, will perform in the University Auditorium on January 16th, at 8 pm, in a Joint Concert with TAUE - Tuna Académica da Universidade de Évora, as a finale for the music exchange.

The University of Évora is one of the buildings most visited by tourists from around the world flocking to the city. The University of Évora, the second oldest in Portugal, was founded in the 16th century (1559) by Cardinal Infante Dom Henrique (the future king of Portugal), and by the Pope Paul IV, and it was delivered to the Society of Jesus.

The Colégio do Espírito Santo, (College of the Holy Spirit) is the core of the University of Évora and appears today in the same format in which it was conceived and executed between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, housing the Rectorate, many Departments as well as many college classrooms and units.

Its monumental and artistic ensemble includes the Renaissance Cloister, with harmonious double galleries in Tuscan order; the Refectory (sixteenth century); the Chapel of Nossa S.ª da Conceição (1641); the Old Library, with a painted ceiling fresco (1708), and a magnificent collecion of ashlars and paintings along the Johannine Classes (1744-49)

The Tuna Académica da Universidade de Évora, TAUE, is a traditional ensemble that has became one of the main vehicles to publicize the good name of the University of Évora and the true spirit of the University and its students.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Weather in Spain and Portugal and What to Pack for your Trip

Dear travelers of the Occidental College Glee Club,
As your departure for your 2014 performance tour comes closer and closer, Incantato Tours would like to provide you with a couple travel tips.

For most people, packing for a trip is the most difficult part. The solution for many is to just pack as much as you possibly can into your suitcase and backpack, but as a colleague explains it: "You'll be thanking me later when you don't break your back from having to carry everything on your own. Don't do it!" Her advice: "Pack as lightly as you can. The best way to get it all to fit nicely into your suitcase is to fold it nicely and then roll it tightly. It can all fit into your bag like a puzzle."
The major factor is that you should bring only 1 suitcase, no heavier than 50 pounds.

Knowing the weather forecast can be helpful, keeping in mind that it is still too early to have a good prediction… However, here you have some examples of how the weather can be in the cities you will visit for the month of January. Remember it is winter!
  • Madrid: Temperatures between 35º and 50ª F, scarce rain, chilly wind from the snow-capped mountains. 
  • Córdoba: January temperatures usually vary between 40º and 55º F. It is never as cold as in Madrid, so you can expect fair non-rainy winter days… being outdoors at sunny midday is nice!
  • Sevilla: Very much like Cordoba, average temperature in January runs from 45 to 60º F. It is a bit warmer, and it might rain occasionally.
  • Évora: 43º and 55º degrees, some rains, mild temperatures unless it gets windy up-and-downhill. 
  • Lisboa: Well, this could be the rainiest part of the trip – though you can always be surprised!!. Lisbon January temperatures run from 45º to 60º F, and there is a 47% chance of getting some rain!!

Even if you are used to lower temperatures and you feel these forecasts sound like summer, please keep in mind that many churches have a dress code and will not allow you to walk in if you are wearing tank tops or shorts. A scarf is a good solution here. Shorts should always go to your knees (both for ladies and gents).

Now it is time for you to start planning your luggage! We hope the weather forecasts can help you to decide what to bring. Here are a few things that we think are essential to have to be comfortable with what the weather brings and with the weight of your bag - remember, we allow only one checked bag per person, (maximum 50 pounds) and one small carry-on such as a backpack. 
A sample packing list (just a suggestion!):
  • Rain jacket, maybe with fleece insert
  • Umbrella
  • Gloves, scarf, hat… if you tend to feel chilly!
  • An adapter plug/converter (if you are bringing electronic devices, please check if they are compatible, most new devices are – most……)
  • Camera and batteries or charger with adapter
  • At least two pair of jeans/pants, ladies may want to bring a couple skirts or dresses, too
  • A sweater or two, (or three, if you tend to feel chilly).
  • Plenty of shirts, including a polo or two and at least two dress shirts (Europeans dress much more formal than Americans)
  • Plenty of undergarments and socks for daily changes
  • A watch, make-up and jewelry if applicable (carry on any valuables at all times)
  • Choir music and attire
  • Don't forget shoes, we recommend a maximum of three pairs (tennis shoes, good everyday shoes, dress shoes). Bring nice concert shoes, but make sure that you will be able to walk long distances in them. Europeans do not wear flip flops other than to the pool or at the beach.
  • Put all liquids that are in your carry-on into a zip-lock bag. And remember the 311 rules: TSA | Transportation Security Administration | 3-1-1 on Air Travel
  • All scissors, fingernail clippers, etc. are better packed in your check-in luggage along with liquids over 3 ounces. Bring enough contact lense solution and prescription medication that you may need for the whole duration of the trip.
  • If you forget anything there are plenty of shops where you can by shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Occidental College Glee Club is featured choir at the Basilica de Nuestro Padre Jesús del Gran Poder, Sevilla.

Occidental College Glee Club will be singing Mass on Tuesday 14th January at the Basilica of Our Father Jesus del Gran Poder, a very beloved temple in Sevilla.
The temple was consecrated as a Minor Basilica in 1993 and only two years later, in 1995, was awarded the Gold Medal of Sevilla, being the only image of Christ that holds such recognition.

The second Basilica in the city, this basilica is home of the Brotherhood Hermandad de Nazarenos de Nuestro Padre Jesús del Gran Poder y Mª Santísima del Mayor Dolor y Traspaso, (brotherhood of Our Father Jesus Nazarene of Great Power and Blessed Maria of Suffering and Traspass), was founded in 1431 with founds from the powerful Duke of Medina Sidonia.

This brotherhood procession takes place at dawn on Easter Friday, and it's followed by thousands of penintentes. For the processions, the Pasos (steps) are carried by the brotherhood members, called costaleros, a tradition that honours them deeply and has its roots in the. The pasos, carrying the very sculptures, very enriched and ornated, can weight all together up to 2,500 kg ( 5,500 punds), and each costalero can be holding a weight up to 100 kg (220 pounds). The processions are held in silence, just broken by the saetas singing -  a very flamenco song singed from soul and faith.

The brotherhood was located in different places until in 1703 he moved to the Church of San Lorenzo , which was its usual venue until the construction of the current basilica.

The new temple was completed in 1965, although the first consagration took place the following year.

The building features Sevillian baroque architecture on the outside, and inside forms a central plant, similar in structure to that of the Pantheon in Rome. The temple itself is a large circular area covered by a very hemispherical dome decorated with moldings, with a large central oculus illuminates the entire temple.

We can admire in this temple the image of Nuestro Padre Jesús del Gran Poder (our Father Jesus of the Great Power) , to be dressed effigy , carved by Juan de Mesa in 1620. 
We can see another sculpture of San Juan Evangelista also made ​​by Juan de Mesa , considered the best sculpture of the saint of the whole city .

Alongside, the image of Mª Santísima del Mayor Dolor y Traspaso is venerated: a Sevilian anonymous work of 1798 . 
The Cesta del Gran Poder (Great Power Cage) is very interesting, being the only survivor in the city from the XVII century, and was carved by Francisco Antonio Gijón. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A glimpse of Spain at the holidays

On December 22 almost everyone in Spain takes part in the Christmas Lottery, and prizes are celebrated in style out in the streets.

Christmas Eve (December 24) and Christmas Day (December 25) brings families together. Traditional dishes such as lamb and sea bream are prepared, along with seasonal desserts such as turrón (rich sweet made with almonds), polvorones (crumbly shortbread) and marzipan.
Many attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, to commemorate the birth of Jesus. 

 December 28,  the Day of the Santos Inocentes, where people play pranks on each other similar to those of April Fools’ Day. Novelty items purchased at street markets add to the entertainment.

Bid farewell to the year with the New Year’s Eve celebrations on December 31. Tradition has it that you have to eat 12 grapes one by one, in time with the striking of the clock at midnight on December 31. If you manage to eat all the grapes on time, you are in for a year of prosperity and good luck. People gather at the clock towers in their towns or cities (usually found in the main square) to toast and  welcome in the New Year. Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid is a popular place to spend New Year's Eve. Thousands of people decked out with hats and squawkers joyfully toast in the New Year. Celebrations continue throughout the night at hotels, bars and clubs throughout Spain.

Another tradition is found in Alcoy, where young and old alike anticipate Christmas and the arrival of the Three Wise Men with special excitement. On the Sunday before January 6 (Epiphany), a  children’s parade called “les Pastoretes” (the little shepherds) is held. Children dressed up as shepherds parade with their flocks to give gifts to the new-born Baby Jesus. Excitement builds until January 4 when the Royal Envoy reads a royal proclamation announcing the coming of Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, The Envoy is accompanied by “les Burretes,” small donkeys that carry letterboxes where the children put their letters to the Three Wise Men.

Finally, when night falls on January 5, the Three Wise Men make their spectacular entry into Alcoy, riding camels, loaded with presents. Torch bearers (antorcheros) light the way as the Wise Men ride through the streets of the town. Christmas carols fill the air as the royal pages (“les negres”) hand out  presents to the children.

To learn more about New Year's Eve in Spain, visit

To find out more about the Three Wise Men visit

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Little things to know about Spain and Portugal before packing

At Incantato Tours, we strive for you to enjoy every single step of your way. Here you have some info on little things you might want to know about Spain and Portugal before getting on the plane. Maybe these tips are able to help you enjoy the trip better!
Spain and Portugal at night by NASA

In Spain there is a saying that :
“one just-in-case is worth more than a hundred if-I-had-known”

- It is customary to always have some kind of picture ID. You can use your passport or your driver's license. It is a good idea to have a photocopy of your passport
 to be kept with the rest of your valuables.

- In order to use a credit card, you will need to activate it and get a pin number before coming. Let your bank know that you will be using it abroad so that the card will not get blocked!

- American Express credit cards are not accepted in many places.

- Any kind of Traveler Checks are not accepted. If they are, it can become very expensive.

- Please click here for more info on money matters.

- Food and clothing are generally more expensive in Spain than in the USA. Portugal is cheaper than Spain for most things.

- It is forbidden to smoke in all public places.

- Please bring a photocopy of your prescriptions in case you need medication. This is a just-in-case! The active ingredient is good to know too, as we do not always have the same medicines (though mostly).

Cooblestoned Praça do Giraldo, Évora
- Old towns mean cobblestones and hilly streets, pedestrian areas, steps, stairs... Happy feet help to have a happy tour. Please bring flat, comfortable shoes.
- Flip-flops are definitely not comfortable in our old towns, but they might be in the hotels. We do not walk around barefoot! Remember that January maybe rainy, especially in Portugal!

Showing your knees/shoulders is forbidden inside churches. We will be entering churches almost daily – concerts, art, history... Please bring appropriate clothing. Knee-long pants/skirts, girls can use a scarf to cover their shoulders. Men are not supposed to use scarves, so please do bring shirts with sleeves (short or long).

- Pocket-knives, scissors and sometimes drinks and food are not allowed inside some monuments and museums.

- Laundry service in hotels is very expensive. Unfortunately there are only a few laundromats in Madrid and Lisbon.

Suitcase: 1 per person, NOT heavier than 50 pounds!!

If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. There are so many little things that we can tell you, and we will be hapy to address your doubts!

Hasta la vista!