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 ... 

Luz de Luna
Álvaro Carrillo

Yo quiero luz de luna
para mi noche triste
para pensar divina la ilusión que me trajiste

para sentirte mía
mía tú, como ninguna
pues desde que te fuiste
no he tenido luz de luna

Yo siento tus amarras como garfios, como garras
Que me ahogan en la playa de la farra y del dolor.

Si llevo tus cadenas a rastras en mi noche callada
que sea "PLENILUNADA," azul como ninguna

pues desde que te fuiste
no he tenido luz de luna

Si ya no vuelves nunca
provincianita mía
a mi CELDA querida que está triste y está fría

que al menos tu recuerdo
ponga luz sobre mi bruma
pues desde que te fuiste
no he tenido luz de luna

He sings the first verse of this song about eleven and a half minutes in. (The translation and more info on the song follows the video.)

I want moonlight
for my sad night
to imagine divine the hope that you brought me
to feel you are mine
mine, like nobody else's
as since you've gone
I've had no moonlight

I feel your moorings like hooks, like claws
That suffocate me on the beach from the party and from the pain

If I drag your chains in my quiet night
may it be a full moon, blue like none other
as since you've gone
I've had no moonlight

If you never return
my little country girl

to my cell, my love, that is sad and cold
at least your memory
will shed light on my haze
as since you've gone
I've had no moonlight

Some Notes on the Song & Its Translation

I found the words along with an endearing personal anecdote from the songwriter's son about the history behind this song here. I learned in his post that the word plenilunada (which I couldn't find in the dictionary) comes from the Latin word, plenilunium, which refers to the full moon and was first used in Spanish by Carrillo in this song.

I struggled to translate the following line, a mi CELDA querida que está triste y está fría. I wasn't sure if the word querida was referring to the woman he longed to meet or the cell he was in. In part because in some recordings of the song they sing, querida celda, which would refer to the cell. I considered this translation: my precious cell that is sad and cold, but it doesn't align with the rest of the song that he would cherish the cell, so I figured it was referring to his love. 

I also was unsure of how to translate the word farra. The word "party" seemed out of place, but based on the fact that he had been locked up forced to play guitar at a party, I guess he could be drowning from the party. (I discovered that farra also refers to a type of fish, but that seemed to make less sense in the context.)

You can hear Javier Solis sing it here.

By the way, Manuel sings parts of so many songs in the video, it was hard to choose which to publish. You can expect to see some of the others in future posts. Oh, and he sings this letra at about 3 minutes 45 seconds.

Stick Around

Tomorrow to learn about how to dance to a cuplé and to see Carmen Herrera do just that.

Want to learn more about bulerías in Spain?

Join me in May on the Flamenco Tour to Jerez.

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