We were all blown away by Jesús Carmona and Company's performance here in Portland this week, "I can't stop thinking about it," one student wrote me, "The best performance I attended in my entire life. Heart stopping," another said. You can see pictures from the evening and a video below.
Now, here's a letra from the show:
Yo me puse en camino
antes del alba
cuando llegue a tu casa
Flamenco artist Antonia 'La Negra' passed away earlier this week.
Below watch a video of her singing bulerías to her daughter, and here is one of the coletillas you'll hear:
A nadie quiero
Mientras que viva mi compañero
The Festival de Jerez is in full swing right now, so today I'll share with you a video from there taken earlier this week of Ana Morales with Juan José Amador singing her this letra:
A la orilla de un río
yo me voy solo
y aumento la corriente
con lo que lloro
Today, to wrap up love month, a song that falls on the tragic side of love.
This one was on a compilation CD I purchased soon after returning from Spain the first time. I would listen to it over and over again.
Following the words you'll find a collection of videos one of which is Pepe de Lucía and his daughter Malú singing it live, another from the Spanish version of The Voice, one of a little boy who will blow you away, one with some very cool dancing, and one from La Macanita.
Sueño De Amor (Al Alba)
Pepe de Lucía
Te marchaste al alba
Llenaste mi cuerpo con el fuego de tu amor
Y te fuiste al alba
Y al alba, y al alba
What does it feel like to have been the first teacher to some of the most famous flamenco dancers from Jerez?
That's a question I asked Ana María López, one of the most influential flamenco instructors in Jerez, Spain, in the video interview you'll see below.
Sitting down with Ani . . .
In the interview Ani, as she's affectionately known, talks about how she grew up surrounded by flamenco in the San Miguel neighborhood of Jerez, began studying dance as a little girl, and later grew into one of the most well-known bulerías instructors around. She has been the primary teacher to some of the greatest flamenco dancers working today such as Mercedes Ruíz, Patricia Ibañez, and Carmen Herrera. Naturally, we study bulerías with her during the Flamenco Tour to Jerez. Watch through to the end of the video where you'll see her in the studio demonstrating how to dance bulerías with the cante and feel the joyful essence of Jerez.
Here's LOVE Month Letra # 3 ...
Pasaba toda la noche
sentaita en mi ventana
qué larga se hacía la hora
viendo que tú no llegabas
Flamenco lover, this post is dedicated to you.
Last week I asked some students what they loved about flamenco. (I asked myself too.) Our answers became the list below. Following the list you'll find the video that inspired one reader to begin dancing flamenco along with a downloadable valentine for you.
What We Love About Flamenco:
- The challenge
- The community
- The emotion
- The elegance
- The passion
- The boldness
- The rhythm
- The beauty
- The focus
- The complexity
It's the second week of LOVE letras!
Here's the chorus to Vicente Amigo's Enamorao followed by a video of Alba Heredia when she was little.
lo que a mi me está pasando
es que estaba enamorao
pasará el tiempo
no servirá de escarmiento
lo que hemos pasao
It's LOVE month ...
Here's a letra to start February off right along with a video of Saray García dancing at Casa Patas.
Soleá por Bulerías
La gente a mí me lo murmura
contra más me lo murmuren
te quiero con más locura
Another soleá (the next letra) and a video of Beatríz Martín.
En todas las partes del mundo
sale el sol cuando es de día
es que a mi me sale de noche
hasta el sol está en contra mía
Do you have a hard time finding the motivation to practice?
I hear you.
. . . And I want to help!
Here are twenty ways to bring new life to your flamenco practice
The following ideas will not only spice up your practice but will also make you a better dancer. Apply them to a full choreography, part of a dance, a combination, or even a single step.
1. Do it while singing (or humming) the melody.
OBJECTIVE: Connect the music to the dance. Move your focus away from the steps. Improve your memory. Improve your focus.
2. Do one part over and over.
OBJECTIVE: Solidify and perfect a given part.
3. Do it facing different directions in the room.
OBJECTIVE: Stop relying on the mirror. Focus. Test your knowledge of the dance. Learn to adapt to different situations. Prepare for performance.
This week's letra comes at the request of a reader. She is learning a soleá to this music and wanted to know the words.
Here is the first letra:
Por qué no te levantas tempranito
que al castillito quiero ir
me han dicho que con el alba
se oye el eco de Joaquín el de la Paula
This week's letra made me think of an experience I had years ago which has nothing to do with flamenco. It has to do with dishonesty and fear. It started with a question, which led to a lie, which in turn led to facing a fear. The facing fear part actually helped prepare me for flamenco where I'm forced to confront my fears over and over again. To my surprise, all of the practice meeting my fears in flamenco has only made it easier to do so in life outside of the dance.
More on that in a minute, but first let's take a look at the letra and watch a video of Mercedes Ruíz, our teacher on the Flamenco Tour to Jerez, dancing caña, all in red, with bata and mantón.
Subí a la alta montaña
buscando leña pa’ el fuego
como no la encontraba
al valle bajé de nuevo
Have you given any thought to what you want to get out of your flamenco experience this year? If it has to do with making your hands look better, read on, for today I'll tell you about two common mistakes I see with flamenco hand movements and how to fix them. I'll also show you a video of Mercedes Ruíz, our teacher on the Flamenco Tour to Jerez, demonstrating how to move the hands correctly.
Sometimes we get so focused on learning the steps that we neglect details like hand movements. “I’ll get to it later,” we say. We may think we don't have time, that it’s not that important, or find it boring.
But practicing 'manos' is a must for every flamenco dancer
The good news is that there is not one right way to move the hands. Like other stylistic elements of flamenco dance, there is plenty of room for individuality in this area. Watch a few video clips of different professional dancers, and you'll see how personal hand and finger movements tend to be. Matilde Coral reminds her students to make their hands look like doves, Mercedes reminds us to open and use every finger.
While there may not be one right way to move the hands, there are wrong ways ...
Here's one more bulerías from Manuel Moneo. Watch him relaxing and laughing with his friends while singing (con mucho arte) below.
Qué malita fue tu madre
A ti te ha cortao todo el pelo
y a mi me ha tirao a la calle
Want to amp up your flamenco progress in 2018?
Here’s a two part formula to get you going:
Part One: Reflection
“The more reflective you are, the more effective you are,” Hall & Simeral
Consider the past year in flamenco, and ask yourself:
- What kind of flamenco activities did I participate in last year?
- Through which experiences did I grow the most?
- Which experiences were the most fun?
- What’s one thing that didn’t go the way I wanted it to, and what can I learn from that?
Today I wrap up the flamenco cuplé series with a bonus post, one more song, and a few more videos:
Alfredo García Segura y Gregorio García Segura
Sin firmar un documento,
ni mediar un previo aviso,
sin hablarnos, ni mirarnos
ha nacío un compromiso.
Flamenco singer Manuel Moneo passed away earlier this week.
The huge mural of him that you see in the picture above was steps away from where we study bulerías on the Flamenco Tour to Jerez in the historic flamenco neighborhood of San Miguel. (You can see a video on the making of the mural below.)
Manuel was known for his siguiriyas and soleá. Here you can watch him singing martinete in Carlos Saura's movie, Flamenco.
To sing flamenco well one needs to be able to feel and to love,
~ Manuel Moneo
He talks about this concept in the video interview below where you'll not only hear some of his story but also learn about the importance of el Barrio San Miguel, La Plazuela, to flamenco.
But first, let's listen to him sing por bulerías (con mucho arte). Here is one of the letras you'll hear:
You've heard many examples of different artists singing cuplés in the previous four posts. Now it's time to see how one dances to a cuplé, and I've got one of the best possible examples for you, Carmen Herrera. Following the video I'll talk about how to dance bulerías to a cuplé then share one of the songs you'll hear and its translation.
Let's begin by watching Carmen as she dances to the singing of father and sons Alfonso Carpio "Mijita," Alfonso Carpio "Mijita Hijo," and José Carpio "Mijita." They are at a juerga at Peña de la Bulería in Jerez. The video is queued to begin where Carmen starts dancing at 4 minutes 30 seconds (though I'm pretty sure you'll want to go back and watch the whole thing at some point.) Today's song begins about five minutes in. The guys share in the singing, and it's kind of impossible not to get excited watching the interplay between them.
While you watch, notice how Carmen's dancing changes as the song progresses. Notice how she reacts to her three singers and where she puts her remates. Notice when she brings the energy up ...
Today I share with you a video of Manuel Lombo doing his thing at a juerga in Spain. While the previous posts in the flamenco cuplé series have featured more polished videos, this one is completely raw. Not only in its quality but in the nature of the singing. It takes place at a juerga, spontaneous and natural. Manuel begins singing letras then moves to cuplés, with plenty of dancing in-between. He is backed by a chorus of jaleos and palmas that help us to feel the energy in the room.
But before we watch anything, here are the words to the final song, written by Mexican composer and songwriter Álvaro Carrillo. I love the part of the video where Manuel sings this song. From the collective olés upon hearing his first line, to the crowd joining him in singing at the end to the part where he dances himself off ...