If you like exploring how letras can vary, if you're looking to practice bulerías to cante at a comfortable speed, or if you just want to get better at bulerías, then consider today's post a treat. You'll find a video with examples of one letra interpreted in two different ways along with a short activity to help you train your ear and get better at improvising.
First, the letra:
El sitio donde te hablé
ganas me dan de volverme
y sentarme un ratito en él
The place where I spoke to you
I can't wait to go back
and sit there for a bit
You can hear this letra sung two different ways (pretty cool indeed) in the video below. There is also instruction geared toward people studying cante and guitarra. It's all in Spanish, but not to worry, I found this translation of the video in full. (The music starts about 2 minutes in If you'd like to skip all of that and get right to it.)
You can hear Tomasa La Macanita sing it her way here.
Now, An Activity for You
(Intention: to become better at improvising & to train the ear)
- Stand up and play the above video (Start it where the music starts, about 2 minutes in.)
- Dance to the first version of the letra. (You may feel tempted to listen first and plan out your moves, please don't. Just dance and see what happens in the moment. See how your body does or doesn't respond to the cante. It's a great way to improve your ability to 'improvise'.)
- Now go forward to about 3 minutes 15 seconds in, and dance to the second version of the letra.
- Listen to the two versions of the letra again, this time without dancing. Notice the remates, the caídas, notice the spaces, and think about how you'd like to dance with all of that in mind.
- Get up and try again!
- Repeat as many times as you'd like.
When I did the activity I found myself doing a remate I was working with during the 10-Day Dance Like You're In Class With Mercedes Challenge during each version of the letra. I think all of that practice during the challenge made it part of my natural bulerías vocabulary. ;)
How About You?
How did you respond to the cante? Did the guitar help guide you as well? How did you feel while dancing? Were you able to dance through the letras without stopping? Were you able to put in some remates? What did you learn from the exercise? Let me know in the comments below.
You can see more instructional videos from Toma Flamenco on their YouTube channel.