Viewing entries tagged
variations on letras

If You Ever Go To Cádiz | The Weekly Letra

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If You Ever Go To Cádiz | The Weekly Letra

We are studying tangos (with abanico) with Mercedes Ruíz during the Flamenco Tour to Jerez. Naturally, we are LOVING it. The first part of our dance is to this:

Tangos
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Si alguna vez vas a Cádiz
ve por el barrio Santa María
verás los gitanitos
como te cantan con alegría

Tú eres la tonta inocente
tú eres la loquita perdida
cuando tú riñes con tu gente
¿por qué no te vienes a la verita mía?

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A Piece of Advice From Jesús Carmona (Improvise)

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A Piece of Advice From Jesús Carmona (Improvise)

When Jesús Carmona was here he recommended that every student of flamenco improvise a little bit each day. In honor of that, here's a guided exercise in improvisation along with a video and examples of how a letra can vary.

First, the letra:

In the video example the singer interprets the same bulerías letra in two different ways, which makes it great to practice to.

Version One (5 minutes in)

Dime niña hermosa
quién te peina el pelo
RESPIRO (one compás break, 12 beats)
lo peina un estudiante
te lo riza un artillerooooo... de la artillería
que con gracia y salero

con gracia y salero

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The Ultimate Bulerías Goal | The Weekly Letra

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The Ultimate Bulerías Goal | The Weekly Letra

The moon is almost full, so I've included a lunar themed letra for you. (Though this one would make more sense on a new moon...) And since yesterday's video analysis was a hit, I decided to do another. Below you'll find a video of Beatríz Morales dancing to today's letra and giving many clear examples of what it looks like to dance to the cante along with my description of where each component of the structure occurs within her dance. Check it out, and find out what the ultimate bulerías goal is.

Bulerías

Esta noche la luna a mí no me acompaña
Me voy solo pa' casa
No espero al alba
La luna se ha enfadado por no llevarla
anoche a la verbena de Santa Ana
No me enfades luna, tú no me enfades.

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One Way to Train Your Ear So That You Dance Well With the Cante | The Weekly Letra

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One Way to Train Your Ear So That You Dance Well With the Cante | The Weekly Letra

Today you'll find two videos of the same letra, one version as tangos, the other as bulerías... 

Dancing flamenco is never just about the dancing. It is a conversation between the dancer and the musicians. As dancers we need to hear where the changes and resolutions are in the music (especially the cante) so that we can respond with our dancing. Below find an activity that you can do from home to train your ear to dance with the cante.

And speaking of cante, we worked with the following letra during the Flamenco Retreat at the Oregon Coast last weekend. (See some pictures below). We looked at where the cante resolved then put in remates with palmas and later baile to reflect that. Watch María Toledo sing it por tangos and Marina García sing it por bulerías below:

Tangos (& Bulerías)
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No me pegues bocaítos
Que tú me haces cardenales
Cuando yo voy a mi casa
A mí me los nota mi madre

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A Peek At The Feria (Video) | The Weekly Letra

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A Peek At The Feria (Video) | The Weekly Letra

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.

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Petenera | The Weekly Letra

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Petenera | The Weekly Letra

Today find a peteneras letra and a video of Mercedes Ruíz interpreting it.

Petenera

Yo no creo ni en mi madre
Aunque de mí hable la gente
Que todo en este mundo es mentira
Madre de mi corazón
No hay más verdad que la muerte
No hay quién me lo contradiga

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Las Penas Que Tú Me Das | The Weekly Letra

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Las Penas Que Tú Me Das | The Weekly Letra

Today, this first day of February, a letra from Manuel Machado along with a video of Paco de Lucía, La Tana, Duquende, Montse Cortés, Niño Josele, Antonio Serrano, Alain Perez, and El Piraña. 

Malagueñas
Manuel Machado

Las penas que tú me das
son penas y no son penas;
que tienen cositas malas,
y tienen cositas buenas.

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How to Have a Party | The Weekly Letra

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How to Have a Party | The Weekly Letra

One year comes to an end, another begins. Which means ... It's time to party! Read Manuel Machado's words on how we might do this flamenco style, and watch a video of Montse Cortés and Chonchi Heredia singing it live with Paco de Lucia below.

Then check out the end of this post where I share four flamenco events I'm looking forward to in the coming year.

(Bulerías)
Manuel Machado

Una fiesta se hace
con tres personas: 
Uno baila, otro canta
y el otro toca. 
Ya me olvidaba
de los que dicen ¡Olé! 
y tocan palmas.

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Villancicos de Gloria | The Weekly Letra

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Villancicos de Gloria | The Weekly Letra

Today a villancico along with two interpretations. One is a video of La Macanita singing in Carlos Saura's Flamenco and the other is Manuel Lombo performing live at the cathedral in Sevilla.

Villancicos de Gloria

Los caminos se hicieron, 
con agua, viento y frío. 
Caminaba un anciano,  
muy triste y afligido ¡A la Gloria!
A su bendita madre, victoria!
Gloria al recién nacido, ¡Gloria! 

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Tú Tienes Que Venir a Buscarme | The Weekly Letra

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Tú Tienes Que Venir a Buscarme | The Weekly Letra

Today a letra por tangos (or soleá, or bulerías, or soleá por bulerías...) followed by but another must-watch video,

Tangos
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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.)

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One Thing We Need to Understand About Letras | The Weekly Letra

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One Thing We Need to Understand About Letras | The Weekly Letra

Today I'm going to talk about how the same letra can (and definitely will be) interpreted in different ways by different singers. I'll also talk about why, as dancers, we need to pay attention to this. And finally, I'll share a tangos letra with you. (Oh, and at the end of the post I give you an activity to do from the comfort of your own home.)

How the same letra can vary

Depending upon who is singing, how they like to sing a given letra, and even how they are feeling at a given moment, one letra can be interpreted in many different ways.

Let's look at some examples:

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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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