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sevillanas

Sevillanas You'll Love | The Weekly Letra

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Sevillanas You'll Love | The Weekly Letra

You're going to LOVE the video below of the Makarines performing sevillanas live. The third copla they sing is an excerpt from this sevillanas and it has to do with the Rocío pilgrimage. Here it is:

Sevillanas (De: Porque El Relente Le Daba)
José Miguel Évora/Isidro Muñoz*

Porque el relente le daba
Le puse mi chaquetilla

Le puse mi chaquetilla
Porque tiritaba y yo la veía, 
Ay!

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Why You Shouldn't Call It Quits  . . .  (My First Flamenco Dance Experience in Spain)

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Why You Shouldn't Call It Quits . . . (My First Flamenco Dance Experience in Spain)

In 1998 I traveled to Spain to study flamenco. My plan was simple (and not very well thought out): Travel around, settle somewhere in Andalucía, find flamenco classes, find work. I had no contacts in Spain, no leads on where to study or work. I didn’t even know what city I was going to live in.

I just knew that if I wanted to learn flamenco I needed to go to Spain.

Today I'll tell you about finding flamenco in Sevilla, what it taught me about perseverance, and how it can help you.

I didn't plan much before I left for Spain. In part because I wanted to get a feel for the different cities before choosing where to settle. In part because thinking it through felt too overwhelming, and the more I thought about the details, the more I thought about changing my mind and staying put. I spoke Spanish, I had a strong desire to learn, I had saved enough money to hold me over for awhile, I felt ready for an adventure, and I knew I could figure things out once I arrived.

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Flamenco Verses by Palo | The Weekly Letra

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Flamenco Verses by Palo | The Weekly Letra

Sometimes you want to know a song to go along with the dance form you're studying in class. Other times you want to know the words to that particular flamenco song you like so much. And sometimes you long to know what those words mean.

I'd like to help you with that

Below you'll find a collection of letras (flamenco verses) organized by palo (flamenco form.) 

After over four years of translating and posting flamenco songs, and not quite as many years of writing them out and turning them into things like this, there are quite a number of flamenco verses (and often accompanying videos) to be found around here.

I've learned a lot about Spanish, a bit about Caló, and much about flamenco through the process of doing these translations, very often getting help along the way. Some of the translations are better than others, and the letras rarely convey the same feeling in English as they do in their original form. Still the translations give a general idea of what the verse is about.

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How to Avoid Castanet Burn-Out

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How to Avoid Castanet Burn-Out

Yesterday I told you we’d talk about what to do when castanets frustration hits. Because it will.

Below are some ideas:

1. Don’t worry that you’re not producing the right (or any) sound.

This is part of the castanets learning process.

The movements are AWKWARD. Please give your sweet fingers some time to assimilate new movements they’re not used to making.

Sometimes remembering you’re not alone helps a lot. (You're not alone!)

2. Keep trying.

When I would tell Mercedes I can’t do it, she would always say the same thing,

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How to Play Castanets for Sevillanas | La Cuarta

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How to Play Castanets for Sevillanas | La Cuarta

Learning to play castanets can be frustrating, especially in the beginning.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

In the coming days I’ll be sharing some tips on how to deal with some potential frustrations that come with learning this (completely and totally worth it to learn) technique.

For today, let's look at the toque for thefourth copla por sevillanas.

As usual, you'll find it written in two different ways.  Use whichever makes the most sense to you.  And remember, there are different variations of the toques, and this is one of many!

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Whoa | Viernes con una Letra

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Whoa | Viernes con una Letra

Below is the verse.

Followed by a video - possibly my favorite sevillanas ever - of Camarón singing it, with Tomatito and Joaquín Amador on guitar and Manuela Carrasco dancing.

Sevillanas 
Isidro Muñoz

Pa qué me llamas prima, 
si me crucifica que te mire,
si me crucifica tu mirada

Si cuando me tienes te retienes  
y eres como el vuelo de tu enagua

pa qué me llamas?

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How to Play Castanets for Sevillanas | La Tercera

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How to Play Castanets for Sevillanas | La Tercera

You've probably read the basics about sevillanas.

And you've probably seen my detailed explanation of the steps to the sevillanas I learned in Jerez, from Harumi who learned them from Ani.

But now,

What about sevillanas with castanets?

The toque for the first sevillanas is here, along with the reason why I write them out in two different ways.

And you can find the toque for the second one here.

Today I post the third one ...

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Tying the Knot (& How to Play Castanets for the Second Sevillanas)

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Tying the Knot (& How to Play Castanets for the Second Sevillanas)

I am often asked how to tie the knot on a pair of the castanets strings.  Because it's not just an average every day knot.  You can find out how at the end of this post.

Now raise your hand

Raise your hand if you tried to play the toque for the first sevillana, the one I posted last week

And, as promised, below is how we play castanets for the second copla.

It's written in two different ways.  The reason for that is here.

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You Have to Come Back | Viernes con una Letra

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You Have to Come Back | Viernes con una Letra

I danced sevillanas backwards tonight with castanets. Why, you ask?

Because it seemed like it would be fun

And it was.

I did it in my bedroom.  But really you could do it anywhere.

I did it and thought of Erica and the other left-handed people.  I'm not saying I did the ría with my left hand, I'm talking just about the steps.  I wasn't interested in that level of frustration tonight...

Perhaps we'll even do it tomorrow at the studio.  To.warm up our brains?  To do it without any expectation of perfecting it or turning it into a finished product.  To do it as an exercise and to then let it go.

I thought it would be harder to figure out, but actually it wasn't that bad.  You should try it.

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Viernes con una Letra | Sevillanas del Pañuelo

Such a beautiful sevillanas.  Watch the video below... 

Sevillanas del Pañuelo Manuel Moreno Maya

Pañuelillo que te di un lunes por la mañana un lunes por la mañana, pañuelillo que te di un lunes por la mañana, Ay! Me lo regaló un gitano de la hermandad de Triana de la hermandad de Triana Conmigo vino al Rocío unas cuantas primaveras y hoy lo llevas en el pelo cuando vienes a mi vera

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Do you know what just happened?

In class I'm often saying that soon the body will just know what to do, without having to think about it so much. Because it's true.

Take the hands for instance.  Las manos.

Hand movement is one of those elements of flamenco that seems to get just about everyone.  Even professionals who come to flamenco from other dance forms have told me this aspect drives them crazy.  Getting them to look good is one thing.  Then how much harder steps become when we add hands… and fingers,  Ay!  Another thing.

Still, there comes a time when they just start moving on their own.  Fluidly.  Doing things we didn't know they could or would do... It can be surprising when this first happens.

But there is a catch.

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Viernes con una Letra | There's more to the story

Last week you read about how his love had arranged to see someone else at la Puerta de Toledo. And here is the next copla.

Sevillanas
Tradicional

II. Me decía que iba a misa, mare, y me engañaba
Y me engañaba
Me decía que iba a misa, mare, y me engañaba
Y me engañaba
Si no llevaba rosario, ni libro
¿Como rezaba?

En el mismo sitio 
A la misma hora 
Estaba rezando  
Con otra persona 

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Viernes con una Letra | A La Puerta de Toledo

A La Puerta de Toledo
Tradicional

A la Puerta de Toledo, madre, le tengo celos
Le tengo celos
A la Puerta de Toledo, madre, le tengo celos
Le tengo celos
Porque se cita con otro 
La mujer que yo más quiero

En el mismo sitio 
A la misma hora 
Se estaba besando 
Con otra persona 

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So Here's the Thing About Sevillanas (& my weird way of explaining them)

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So Here's the Thing About Sevillanas (& my weird way of explaining them)

Summer (and it's still summer) has been fun and funny in Sevillanas class, and I mean funny in a good way.

Funny laughing a lot while dancing with partners...

And trying to remember what step to do when while looking directly at someone as opposed to looking at yourself in the mirror

Or doing the coplas out of order and forgetting which one we were on

Or the music feeling crazy-fast and us feeling like we were running a marathon just to stay in compás all the while trying to remember the pasos

Or nearly bumping into our partners several thousand times (or perhaps actually bumping into them)

Today, I explain sevillanas...

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Sevillanas are Back

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Sevillanas are Back

I am very excited to be teaching Sevillanas again.  And, I am newly energized after recently having danced them at the Fería de Caballo in Jerez,  In fact, my time there inspired me to teach Sevillanas al estilo de Jerez.  Perhaps you're wondering what that means.  Perhaps you're worried about what that means.  Perhaps you're thinking, "Oh no, she's changing them AGAIN; not another new way!!!"  Perhaps you've never done Sevillanas, have no idea what they are and no idea what I'm talking about.

Whatever the case may be, I'm still excited.

The bottom line is that Sevillanas are fun.

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Festival de Jerez 2011 - Week Two

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Festival de Jerez 2011 - Week Two

March 6 Sunday There is a different energy this week compared to last week.  Is it due to the rain?  - actually closer to the way I remember spring weather in Spain -  Or perhaps it is that some of the excitement has worn off?  Or is it that I am taking classes by myself this week, without any of my compañeras from home.  I was only signed up for one festival course, so I decided to take a tangos workshop from Tatiana Ruíz, the daughter of Chiqui de Jerez.  The girl ought to be a sergeant in the US Army, though I suppose she talks too much for that.  In any case, she worked us hard today and clearly took great pleasure in doing so.  My brain quickly went into overload as I tried to execute the steps at a seemingly impossible pace while at the same time struggling to understand how in the world Tatiana moved her body as she did.  Later that afternoon I headed to my bata de cola class with Alicia Márquez.  It moved slowly, so I was able to get things, but still, how ever do I get this awkward train to cooperate and do what Alicia's does?!  As I walked down the halls of the bodega after class, I poked my head in the various rooms and fantasized that it was my home.

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