Here is an observation activity to help you understand bulerías more deeply along with a letra and a video from the Peña la Bulería caseta during the Feria de Jerez.
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Ahora sí que estoy a gusto
estoy comiendo y bebiendo
con personas de mi gusto
It’s pretty easy to find places to see flamenco in Madrid. The challenge is knowing where to find quality flamenco. (Yes, you can see plenty of mediocre flamenco even in Spain, and if you’re in Spain, you definitely want to see the good stuff!) So today I'll tell you about four places you can go to see quality flamenco in Madrid, show you some videos of fantastic dancers in action, and address the idea of the 'touristy' flamenco show.
The Flamenco Tablao
One of the best ways to experience flamenco in Madrid is to visit a tablao, a place where flamenco is performed. Here are four tablaos where you can (usually) count on seeing good flamenco in Madrid:
One Saturday during the last Flamenco Tour to Jerez, after finishing class with Mercedes Ruíz, we showered and headed over to El Porrón for a lunchtime fiesta. José Luís had gotten us some delicious merluza fish from El Puerto de Santa María which Maribel prepared along with lots of aliños (marinated salads), a guiso (stew), and other goodies. Zorri sang, José Luís sang, Maribel danced, we danced, people stopped in to say hello. Afterward we went home and rested so that we could go out and see more flamenco later that night.
You can see pictures of that fiesta below, and if you're looking for a dose of alegría (happiness), DEFINITELY watch this video of Zorri dancing for us during bulerías class. I call Zorri El Embajador de la Alegría, The Ambassador of Happiness. One can't not feel happy around him, and watching him dance, well, it can make your face hurt from smiling so much.
At the end of the post you can listen to Atahualpa Yupanqui sing the song in its original form.
So, below find another one from Zorri.
Once you've read it, scroll down to the bottom of the post to see three awesome videos of people (Joaquin Grilo, Rocío Molina, and Midori) dancing por bulerías.
Me acuesto y no cojo cama
Me acuesto con el sentío
a ver quién a la puerta llama
Cuanto más hondo es un pozo
más fresquita sale el agua
cuanto más hablo contigo
más dulces son tus palabras
The deeper the well
the fresher the water
the more I talk to you
the sweeter your words
Most likely there is at least one person in your life you feel this way about. (I can think of many, my nieces, my sister, my sweetheart, just about all of my friends...) Why not share today's letra with one of your beloveds?
Saturday evening the moon shone so brightly against a miraculously clear sky. Miraculously clear because that same sky had spent most of the day wearing all shades of grey and only shades of grey. I guess it cleared up just in time for the moon to let us know that it was almost full.
Last night the moon showed off again, full and bright in the February sky.
And, so, today, a letra referencing the moon. (It's another one from Zorri.)
Estaba la luna clara
yo te vi pasar con otro
estaba la luna clara
el cielo me se nubló
y el resplando de mi cara
nunca cogerá el color
This is a story about how doing less in bulerías can serve us well. It's the follow up to the previous post on observation. Read on, and find out how to simplify your bulerías and perhaps even your life a bit too.November 2013, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
She said she was going to show them how to dance on a losa.
Y por fiesta.
And party style.
It was Ani who said that. Ana María López. She said it on a Monday morning in Jerez.
A story on the value of observation from a past Flamenco Tour (followed by four bulerías take-aways):
Sunday night I was writing
About flamenco and Jerez and what I'm doing here and what I want to learn here.
And I set some intentions for the week.
I had a few.
One was to Observe
To observe people dancing bulerías. Especially people whose dancing I liked. In class and out. Anywhere and everywhere.
To watch them, really watch them. And to notice what was happening.
To notice how they responded to the cante.
To notice how they danced with the compás.
To notice when they did what they did.
To notice the things I liked.
To notice the things that worked.
Maybe even to notice the things I didn't like.
And to notice the things that didn't work.
On Monday morning I went to bulerías class
That was the day Ani taught the ladies about dancing on a floor tile. I'll tell you about that in the next post.
It was also the day she read my mind.
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.
On Friday I went to the Peña la Bulería. As you may recall, it is literally steps away from our apartments here in Jerez. I was feeling sleepy and my legs were not looking forward to standing on the hard marble floor after having spent a good deal of time in flamenco shoes and walking on hard streets that day, but once there I was glad I went. As usual.
A young singer named Enrique Remache was performing.
I heard many fantastic letras, like like this one, and jaleos, and took great pleasure in witnessing the reactions of the público.
Always one of my favorite aspects of seeing flamenco in Jerez. Men looking at each other and laughing with pleasure upon hearing a particular thing sung a particular way. I won't try to explain this. Just please visit Jerez sometime in your life, and see.
I also love seeing the mix of generations at the peña shows. Teenagers to people in their 70's voluntarily going to hear flamenco.
Will 2015 be the year to go to Spain? More on that below, but first a letra:
Qué dolor de mi mare
tengo la camisa sucia
no tengo quien me la lave
The sorrow of my mother
I have a dirty shirt
I have nobody to wash it for me
You can listen to it here.
Stay tuned next week for the final letra of 2014 and the final installment of this series of bulerías shared by Zorri. (Don't worry, you'll see more letras from him here and there in the future.)
This afternoon I was working on the letra.
I translated it, wrote it out, took a picture of it, and then decided I’d better hurry up and take a quick walk before the sun went down. It was nice out, and I could finish the post later.
It began to rain minutes after I began my walk.
I guess I needed to be rained on.
The sky had given me no indication that this was going to happen. It had been sunny all day, and all I noticed were beautiful nearning sunset colors from the moment I stepped outside. So many colors and shades of brightness that I didn’t really see the grey rain clouds.
I notice lots of things,
But sometimes I miss certain things that would be most helpful to notice,