In the first installment of the flamenco cuplé series I'll explain what a cuplé is and show you a video example. But let's begin by looking at this one that Ani sang one day during bulerías class on the Flamenco Tour to Jerez. It was so pretty, so I asked her to tell me the words:

¿Quién se ha llevao mi amor?
¿Quién me ha dejao sin nada?
¿Quién se ha llevao todo el sol
que entraba por mi ventana?

Pasaron días, semanas y meses
y hasta la luna dejaba de brillar
porque parece mentira Gitana
que tú me tengas a mi que olvidar

Y ahora nos vamos los dos
dejando atrás la barandilla del puente
y hasta la luna deja de brillar

al vez pasa una mala corriente

Who has taken my love?
Who has left me with nothing?
Who has taken the sun
that entered through my window?

Days, weeks, and months have passed
and even the moon has stopped shining
because it seems like a lie Gypsy woman
that you would need to forget me

And now we're both going
leaving behind the railing of the bridge

and even the moon has stopped shining
as a bad current passes by

Sung as a cuplé por bulerías for a dancer this would be followed by a short coletilla...

Neither Ani nor Esther, Estefanía Aranda, her assistant teacher, (you can see both in the photo above from the last Flamenco Tour) could remember who wrote the words. I searched but have yet to find any answers. If you have information on this song, please let me know below in the comments. And since I can't find an example of this one, I'll share another with you, but first ...

... What's a Cuplé?

In flamenco a cuplé refers to a song sung to the rhythm of bulerías. In this article in La Razón Fernando Soto says that "in Jerez when you flamencoize a copla and sing it por bulerías, this is a cuplé." 

You can find out more about the history of the cuplé here

What's the difference between a cuplé and a letra?

While a cuplé is a whole song (a copla or any song or poem that wasn't originally flamenco) sung por bulerías, a letra is a single verse of any flamenco form. Typically a flamenco singer mixes and matches letras of their choosing. They may sing whatever letras they want in whatever order they want as opposed to singing a complete song where the verses follow a particular order.

Ok, now here's that video of La Repompa. According to the YouTube notes, cuplés are her favorite thing to sing:

Stay tuned for another cuplé and videos of Rocío Jurado and Bernarda and Fernanda de Utrera in the next post.

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