Today, a beautiful letra and a difficult translation ...

From Tonás y livianas
by Manuel Machado

Quita una pena otra pena;
un dolor, otro dolor;
un clavo saca otro clavo,
y un amor quita otro amor.

One sorrow removes another sorrow;
one pain, another pain;
one nail drives out another nail,
and one love replaces another love*

You can listen to Camarón sing it here por bulerías accompanied by Paco de Lucía and Tomatito.

Translation Notes

*Wow. I really struggled to get this to feel in English the way it feels in Spanish. I did not succeed! I experimented with various translations and consulted some threads I discovered discussing the saying, 'un clavo saca otro clavo.' I considered translating the last line more literally as 'one love takes away another love' however the word 'replaces' makes the same point and just seemed to me to flow better. I actually wanted to translate the last line as simply, 'and one love replaces another,' leaving out the final 'love,' but that felt like too much meddling to me. In the end, this is definitely one of those verses that I prefer to read in Spanish...

... I'd love to know your thoughts. Please let me know below in the comments.

Another Note ...

This article from the Diario de Sevilla discusses the work of Manuel Machado from his book Cante Hondo published in 1916 and the many letras written by him that have been recorded by various artists without accreditation given to him as they've been mistaken for popular verses.

Coming UP!

The Flamenco Retreat at the Oregon Coast is coming up January 20-22. This weekend flamenco intensive offers small group learning & oceanfront rooms and welcomes guests of all levels from all over. Find out what previous participants have to say here.

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