"You cannot destroy the tradition without first learning about it." - Belén Maya

I have a guajiras verse to share with you today, but first allow me to give you some background:

I'm in Seattle winding down after workshops Belén Maya this week. 

On Wednesday I went to a lecture she gave at Seattle Central College.

In that lecture Belén spoke about herself as an artist.

She talked about how she expresses herself as an individual through flamenco. She talked about how she had to dedicate to studying and understanding traditional flamenco in order to do her own thing. She talked about how she danced in tablaos (doing traditional style flamenco) at night while studying on her own and dancing in her father, Mario Maya's, company (which was more modern) during the day.

In the picture above you can see Belén at Wednesday's lecture watching herself performing a guajiras with Mayte Martín.

She showed us this clip as an example of how both she and Mayte Martín challenge traditional flamenco archetypes, in their dress for instance.

Here is a letra from that clip, and you can hear Mayte Martín sing it at 4 minutes and 50 seconds in the video below.


Quiero platicar contigo
debajo del cocotero
para que tú sepas
linda trigueña mía
cuánto te quiero

I want to talk to you
underneath the coconut tree
so that you know
fair skinned beauty of mine
how much I love you

You can find another guajiras letra from the video here.

And here, in Carlos Saura's Flamenco, you can see another example of Belén challenging traditional flamenco archetypes. 

In the lecture, Belén spoke of how she broke tradition with her moves, her dress, her choice to dance without cante or guitarra. How she was nervous when she went in for filming amongst a bunch of famous flamencos, how would they respond because when this was filmed (1995), her breaking away from tradition in these ways was pretty huge. She told us how she went in the day of filming and showed Carlos Saura what she was planning on doing and, how, luckily, he liked it. (Lucky for ALL of us.) She told us about how they ran it a few times then filmed, bam!

 I'll share more insights from Belén in an upcoming post.


Thanks to Marisela and Belén for helping me to understand and translate the meaning of trigueña.

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