Here’s a soleá letra along with a video of Karen Lugo interpreting it.
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When we were in Jerez we spent a lot of time at Tabanco El Pasaje watching flamenco. You can see shows there just about every afternoon and night. Below you can see a video of Juan Loreto dancing soleá por bulerías.
Soleá por Bulerías
Qué pena tengo en el alma
se murió la madre mía
cuando se anunciaba el alba
What sorrow I feel in my soul
my mother died
when dawn came
Last week we were blown away by Jesús Carmona here in Portland. He gave workshops and put on a last-minute show, Ensayo de Una Vida, which he created and debuted right here in town! I'll tell you more about that later. For now, here's a letra and a video of Jesús dancing at Corral de la Moreria. (Below the video you can see some pictures from our workshops last week.)
No quiero que hables con nadie
Sólo con tu confesor
con tu padre
con tu madre
This week's letra comes at the request of a reader. She is learning a soleá to this music and wanted to know the words.
Here is the first letra:
Por qué no te levantas tempranito
que al castillito quiero ir
me han dicho que con el alba
se oye el eco de Joaquín el de la Paula
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
Traditional festivals (ferias) take place in towns big and small across southern Spain during the springtime. Locals dress up, dance, sing, eat, and have A LOT of fun. There are the bigger ferias (those of Sevilla, Jerez...) and there are the smaller ferias (those of Sanlúcar, El Puerto...). These exclusive springtime ferias are unique to Andalucía, and each one has its very own encanto (charm). One of the great things about the feria is that there you get to see both professionals and everyday people dancing flamenco; some may not dance very well technically, but they dance from the heart.
Below you'll see a video of Samara and Rocío Carrrasco at this year's Feria del Caballo in Jerez along with pictures from a variety of ferias in Andalucía.
Mercedes Ruíz, our teacher on the Flamenco Tour to Jerez, was awarded the 'Flamenco Hoy' prize for the Best Flamenco Dancer of 2015 (Mejor Bailaora). You can watch a new video of her below as well as read a flamenco letra on love.
Today marks two weeks since my return from Jerez.
Of course it feels good to be home, but I do miss the daily dance classes, shared meals and community, the immersion into the Spanish language, hearing and seeing flamenco everywhere, the southern Spanish sun, the pace of the day, and the escape, the simply being away.
Thankfully I got to come home to my absolutely amazing friends and loved ones, our incredible flamenco community here, and the beautiful state of Oregon. And thankfully I had flamenco already built into my schedule with our summer workshops and teaching at the Oregon Ballet Theatre.
If only I could still have class with Mercedes every morning . . .
I'm in Jerez.
One by one the Flamenco Tour students are arriving. It's so exciting.
Tonight we get to know each other at the opening night tapas reception. Then we'll go to the Peña los Cernícalos to watch Ana María López's Fin de Curso. Tomorrow we begin our workshop with Mercedes Ruíz. The next day we start our bulerías class . . .
And so, a letra por bulerías.
Today a letra por tangos (or soleá, or bulerías, or soleá por bulerías...) followed by but another must-watch video,
Cuando me eches de menos
tú tienes que venir a buscarme
como un caballo sin freno
When you miss me
you'll have to come looking for me
like a horse with no brakes
Watch and listen to David Palomar sing it below along with Rafael Rodríguez on guitar. (I promise you'll be glad you did.)
No te acuerdas cuando entonces
bajabas descalza a abrirme
y ahora tú no me conoces
You don't remember when
you would come down barefoot to let me in
and now you don't even know me
Spanish painter, Ignacio Tovar says this verse talks about passionate relationships that become cold with the passing of time. I came across . . .
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?
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.
Today I share with you another favorite letra from Sol:
Por el habla de la gente
olvidé yo a quien bien quería
mientras yo viva en el mundo
se me acabó la alegría
Because of what people say
I forgot the one I most loved
as long as I'm alive in this world
there shall be no more happiness in my life
I asked Sol 'La Argentinita,' our visiting artist, what palo she most preferred dancing to. She likes all flamenco palos as each makes her feel something different, depending upon what is going on at a given time.
She is very interested in soleá right now,
As it is said to be the backbone of flamenco.
La columna vertebral del flamenco. Me llega al alma.
"It touches my soul," she says.
La soleá expresa todo. "Soleá expresses everything."
She shared a couple of her favorite letras with me.