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?
Last week we watched Paloma Fantova get into it, so this week I want to show you a video of Belén López (who always goes all out) along with an alegrías letra.
From Sin Ti Yo No Sé Vivir (Alegrías)
Yo sé que ya no volverás
No quiero recordar
Que te fuiste pa siempre
Sin ti yo ya no sé vivir
Me he acostumbrado a ti
Y no quiero perderte
Y no te tengo primo
Y no te tengo
From Consejos, coplas, apuntes
campanas del alba
que sonando están.
(My kitty cat, Frances, helped me write out this one. You can see the pictures below.)
No quiero decirte nada
No vaya a ser que se te ponga
la carita colorada
Today a video of Emilio Ochando (who will be in Portland next month for workshops!) dancing alegrías and a letra.
Alegrías de Cádiz
A Cai no le llaman Cai,
que le llaman relicario,
porque por patrona tiene
a la Virgen del Rosario.
Today, a beautiful letra and a difficult translation ...
From Tonás y livianas
by Manuel Machado
Quita una pena otra pena;
un dolor, otro dolor;
un clavo saca otro clavo,
y un amor quita otro amor.
On the last Flamenco Tour to Jerez the ladies spent a good amount of time in the bar talking to José Luís and Maribel (our hosts). This is often the case as they are quite fun to chat with, and they make us feel at home. (Some people don't speak Spanish. I'm convinced this makes the conversations all the more fun.) So Luís loves flamenco letras and happily shares them with us.
One day Stefani and I were sitting at the bar, and she asked him if he was an aficionado. He told us that he wasn't but that he used to be. He said that when he was younger he would go to the peñas and keep up with what was going on in the flamenco world. He told us he is no longer as dedicated.
Anyway, when you walk into Luís and Maribel's bar you see a big wooden bureau to the left with a man's face carved into it. That man is El Torta.
A Letra from Otra Galaxia (Other Galaxy)
Antonio Humanes, José Monge Cruz (Camarón)
Yo me pregunto mil veces
mi paso por este mundo
y a quién le debo mis alegrías y mis penas
¿Será al cielo y a la tierra
o a los senderos ocultos de la esfera?
I ask myself a thousand times
my path in this world
and to whom do I owe my joys and my sorrows,
to the sky and the land
or to the hidden paths of the globe?
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'll be honest. In the beginning, I wasn't a huge fan of flamenco singing.
It wasn't that I didn't like it.
It intrigued me that's for sure. But I didn't feel inclined to sit around and listen to it a whole bunch.
It didn't take long before that changed.
I guess it happened early on during my time in Sevilla, on that first flamenco trip.
And actually, while I was initially drawn to the baile, the cante played a huge roll in getting me hooked on flamenco ... and keeping me in it.
Just like the compás.
Well, you know how it is now.
Which brings me to the letra:
Tell me I'm not alone
Dime que no estoy sola
When I have to stop what I'm doing and close my eyes. Cerrar mis ojos y pararme.
Because I hear something too beautiful not to. Not to stop. To listen, to take it in, to feel. And to let myself cry.
Close my eyes and stop
And then do it again.
Tell me you know what I mean
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.
Quite awhile ago I published this letra. It was fall not spring when I posted it, and at that time I was preparing to embark on the VERY FIRST FlamencoTour to Jerez. Now as I get ready for the sixth (yes sixth!) tour, I'm re-posting it because:
#1: I've been admiring the daffodils blossoming all over Portland,
#2: It needed a picture. It never got a picture.
Yo vengo vendiendo flores
las tuyas son amarillas
las mías de míl colores
I'll get to the translation in a moment,
But first let's talk about words
The same letra, different words. I love this about flamenco.
Today a song that Paco de Lucía composed for his mother from the album of the same name which he dedicated to her, Luzía.
Paco de Lucía
Las cuerdas de mi guitarra
lloran por siguiriya
ay por mi mare
por mi Lucía
The sun and the moon have been hanging out together in Portland today. I guess they're getting along.
(Below you can see the crescent moon I've been admiring in today's blue sky.)
Sol y Luna
El sol le dijo a la luna
vivir contigo no puedo
porque cuando digo blanco
tú siempre me dices negro
We wrap up Ida y Vuelta month with one more guajiras. Oscar was here last week, so I asked him to share a favorite guajiras for today.
That letra is below followed by a video of Concha Jareño dancing por guajiras. LOVE this dance.
Contigo me caso Indiana
si se entera tu papá y se lo dice a tu mamá
tengo una casa en la Habana destinada para tí ay!
con el techo de marfil
y el piso de plataforma para tí blanca paloma
llevo yo la flor de lis
One more letra por bulerías for December.
Él de la gorra gris
yo estoy loquita por él
y él no me quiere a mí
This is a letra that Zorri sang the other night.
Watching Zorri laugh after singing it was the best, and then hearing him laugh because, well, if you've ever heard his laugh,
It's a laugh that makes you laugh. That on top of the meaning of the letra, let's just say it made for a good laughing session.
Ten cuidao con ese gato
que se coma una a una
las sardinitas del plato
Be careful with that cat
because one by one it eats
the little sardines from the plate
We were supposed to go to a tablao that night, but that didn't happen.
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 ...
We love fandangos around here, I know you know that. Here's one for you today:
Un sabio se volvió loco
con su esencia y su saber
no quería comprender
que los sabios saben poco
cuando quieren a una mujer
A wise man went crazy
with his essence and his knowing
He didn't want to understand
how wise men know little
when they love a woman