Here's a signature letra sung by El Chozas. Melchora Ortega sang it to us during our private show on the Flamenco Tour to Jerez.
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This week's letra made me think of an experience I had years ago which has nothing to do with flamenco. It has to do with dishonesty and fear. It started with a question, which led to a lie, which in turn led to facing a fear. The facing fear part actually helped prepare me for flamenco where I'm forced to confront my fears over and over again. To my surprise, all of the practice meeting my fears in flamenco has only made it easier to do so in life outside of the dance.
More on that in a minute, but first let's take a look at the letra and watch a video of Mercedes Ruíz, our teacher on the Flamenco Tour to Jerez, dancing caña, all in red, with bata and mantón.
Subí a la alta montaña
buscando leña pa’ el fuego
como no la encontraba
al valle bajé de nuevo
Below find a video of Melchora Ortega performing her signature bulerías - standing, high heels off, interacting with the audience, and dancing throughout - accompanied by Santiago Lara, David Lagos (her husband), and Javier Peña along with one of the letras that she sang to us last week at our private show. (Scroll down for pictures of the show.)
Tengo lo que tú no tienes
un reloj que da la hora
y un molinillo que muele
That night David sang granaína, rondeñas, caña, fandangos por bulerías, alegrías, bulerías... I was in HEAVEN. We all were. The piece including the letra below happened like this: Santi set it up with a beautiful intro, David sang a letra por granaínas, then they immediately transitioned into rondeñas. I wish you could have been there. (You can find out more about that show and how it was the highlight of Julie's summer following the letra.)
Por momentos mis martirios
se estaban doblando
de noche y de día,
I just returned home from Jerez, and naturally, I'm missing bulerías.
I have a letra to share with you today. It's one that David Lagos sang during our private show there, but before I do, I want to tell you a quick story.
On her last morning there, Julie took a final stroll around the city before she caught her train to Granada. On her way back to the apartments she found herself behind an older couple walking down the street. T
As I mentioned last week, we've been studying caña here in Jerez on the Flamenco Tour (along with bulerías por su puesto). We learned from Mercedes that la caña has six ays (iis) while el polo has five.
For baile, that is.
And there is a set of ays in the middle of the letra and at the end.
For cante, it's more open.
We're studying caña with Mercedes right now. (Here in Jerez on the Flamenco Tour that is.) Watching her dance while listening to Santi play the guitar can make it hard to focus on the steps. I'm sure you can imagine . . .
Below is a letra written by Paco López for her show Perspectivas.
Ya la nieve se hizo agua
de tanto llover
Los ojitos tengo secos
de sembrar y no recoger
The snow has turned to water . . .
Another letra from this alegrías by David Lagos and one more video that I'm pretty positive will make your day all kinds of better as soon as you watch it.
A un lance de su capote
suenan la palmas en la plaza
y es que torea en la plaza
vaya torero Rafael de Paula
With a throw of his cape
the clapping sounds in the bullring
because he is bullfighting in the bullring
Wow, the bullfighter Rafael de Paula
You can hear this letra at 2 minutes 30 seconds, but I highly recommend watching the whole thing, especially one minute in when he sings his tri tri tri trans and the very end.
Awhile ago I posted the first letra of this alegrías by David Lagos along with an unbelievably wonderful video of him singing it live accompanied by his brother Alfredo Lagos. Today find one more not to be missed video of David performing it live along with the first letra.
Que es chiquita y salerosa
no le pongáis tanta falta
que pa navegar yo tengo con mi barquita que me basta y sobra
She is small and charming
don't underestimate her
to sail I have my little boat who more than fills me
I want to tell you about some things that help me to feel better when I'm in a funky place. I also want to show you a very cool video and share a flamenco verse with you. But first, some words I wrote last week
(my first week back home post Flamenco Tour)
Coming home I feel overwhelmed.
This is not new.
It is how I usually feel after a trip to Spain. Excited to be back but overwhelmed and sort of confused at the same time.
This is not a good situation, the situation going on in today's letra. And then the way David Lagos sings it, well, you feel the meaning of the words even if you don't know what they mean,
Which happens a lot with flamenco singing.
I wasn't alone.
Tientos David Lagos
La que tanto querer me ofreció
me falló porque era falsa
desde el primer día que tuvo ocasión
The one who offered me so much love
failed me because she was false
from the first day she had the chance
This will make your day.
It's a video of David Lagos live por alegrías accompanied by his brother, Alfredo Lagos.
You should know, if you don't already, that David is nice.
You should also know, if you don't already, that he writes beautiful letras.
And you might as well know that one of my favorite things ever is listening to David Lagos sing por alegrías and that when I hear him sing alegrías live I cry every time ...
One letra. Varios palos. We know how this goes in flamenco.
Faly used to sing this one por bulerías:
¿Con qué te lavas la cara?
Que tanto te huele a flores
With what do you wash your face?
You smell so much like flowers
Watch this little boy sings it por tangos.
I am in Sevilla where the bells of the catederál keep ringing and the birds keep singing. That was not meant to rhyme, it just did. In Jerez there were lots of birds but not so many bells. And speaking of Jerez, last Saturday we went to hear José Carpio, "El Mijita," sing at a new little bar called Zoniquete. I mean it when I say that the place was small.
It was verdaderamente íntimo.
We were on our way home from dinner. Still on a high after our private show with Mercedes, Santiago Lara, and David Lagos earlier that evening. Everyone was sleepy from the classes, the shows, from everything. We could have gone home. And some did. But Cherie, Frieda, Stefani, and I decided to stop by the bar to see if anything was happening yet.
It was only 10:00, and there was nothing going on. Except that the performers were there. So we got something to drink and waited. The show was supposedly set to start at 10:30. Of course we knew it wouldn't start until well after. Still, I figured I'd ask when the singing would begin.
Cuando llega la gente.
"When people get here."
I left almost immediately after the show ended last night.
And people said, ¿Te vas Laura, Ya?
"You're leaving, now?"
Even though the show just ended. I wasn't even waiting to see if something exciting happened next. I wasn't even staying to socialize some more. I was going home as early as 12:30 am...
It was a peña show last night. At Peña La Bulería.
Ok, so I told you that I might share some bulerías tesoros directly from the mouth of Ana María López with you today or tomorrow. Well, it's not happening today because I just got this great email from Becky. Becky is a student. She came on the Spain Tour.
She passed it along to me. and I asked her if I could post it. She was sending it to me for me, but she very graciously agreed.
I read it as a series of snapshots showing how life has been going here in Jerez, which is why I wanted to share it with all of you. So, here you go, from Becky...