25 diciembre 2011

La canción de la semana #298

...is Que no se acabe la fe by a young Cuban singer Danay Suárez Fernandez. Although mostly known for her hip-hop and R&B work, here mademoiselle chante le blues: pure and simple.

13 diciembre 2011

cardinales y ordinales

First published 13 December 2011 @ sólo algunas palabras

Last Friday, on the way back from school, Timur and I talked about difference between números cardinales (cardinal numbers) and números ordinales (ordinal numbers). I used to confuse which are which until I mentally connected ordinal with Spanish masculine noun orden (order). So, that’s it: ordinal numbers are those that refer to positions within some ordered list, and cardinal numbers are... the other ones (those which represent quantities). Unlike English, where the ordinal numerals beyond 1st, 2nd and 3rd are typically formed by simply adding -th suffix to the corresponding cardinal numerals, Spanish has rather different terminology for ordinals.

OK, to an English speaker primero, segundo, tercero etc. should not sound exactly alien. Apart from first, second, third, fourth and so on, English has another set of ordinal numbers derived from Latin: primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary... well, that’s about as far as it gets. I’ve never encountered quinary, senary and higher in either literature or conversation. Also, if you ever learned basics of music theory in a language other than English, the names of intervals are all very similar to Spanish ordinal numbers. But this is probably a topic for next post.

It is said that ordinal numbers above ten are seldom used in Spanish. Indeed, go googling for “mil novecientos sesenta y siete” and you’ll get thousands of hits. Now try to do the same with “milésimo noningentésimo sexagésimo séptimo”. The obvious explanation is that ordinals are significantly longer than cardinals. Still, it’s good to know one when you see one, so I think the table below may come handy *.

Cardinales Ordinales
0 cero
1 uno primero
un 1er primer
una primera
2 dos segundo
3 tres tercero
3er tercer
4 cuatro cuarto
5 cinco quinto
6 seis sexto
7 siete séptimo
8 ocho octavo
9 nueve noveno
10 diez 10º décimo
11 once 11º undécimo
12 doce 12º duodécimo
13 trece 13º decimotercero
14 catorce 14º decimocuarto
15 quince 15º decimoquinto
16 dieciséis 16º decimosexto
17 diecisiete 17º decimoséptimo
18 dieciocho 18º decimoctavo
19 diecinueve 19º decimonoveno
20 veinte 20º vigésimo
21 veintiuno 21º vigésimo primero
22 veintidós 22º vigésimo segundo
23 veintitrés 23º vigésimo tercero
24 veinticuatro 24º vigésimo cuarto
25 veinticinco 25º vigésimo quinto
26 veintiséis 26º vigésimo sexto
27 veintisiete 27º vigésimo séptimo
28 veintiocho 28º vigésimo octavo
29 veintinueve 29º vigésimo nono
30 treinta 30º trigésimo
31 treinta y uno 31º trigésimo primero
32 treinta y dos 32º trigésimo segundo
33 treinta y tres 33º trigésimo tercero
40 cuarenta 40º cuadragésimo
50 cincuenta 50º quincuagésimo
60 sesenta 60º sexagésimo
70 setenta 70º septuagésimo
80 ochenta 80º octogésimo
90 noventa 90º nonagésimo
100 cien 100º centésimo
101 ciento uno 101º centésimo primero
200 doscientos 200º ducentésimo
300 trescientos 300º tricentésimo
400 cuatrocientos 400º cuadringentésimo
500 quinientos 500º quingentésimo
600 seiscientos 600º sexcentésimo
700 setecientos 700º septingentésimo
800 ochocientos 800º octingentésimo
900 novecientos 900º noningentésimo
1000 mil 1000º milésimo
1001 mil uno 1001º milésimo primero
1002 mil dos 1002º milésimo segundo
2000 dos mil 2000º dosmilésimo
2011 dos mil once 2011º dosmilésimo undécimo
3000 tres mil 3000º tresmilésimo
4000 cuatro mil 4000º cuatromilésimo
5000 cinco mil 5000º cincomilésimo
10.000 diez mil 10.000º diezmilésimo
100.000 cien mil 100.000º cienmilésimo
500.000 quinientos mil 500.000º quinientosmilésimo
1.000.000 un millón 1.000.000º millonésimo

* In Diccionario panhispánico de dudas and Spanish Wikipedia, the symbols for ordinal numerals contain a full stop (1.º, 3.er, 5.ª), while Collins dictionaries do not (1º, 3er, 5ª). I used this latter style in the table. Also, starting with 4, I listed only masculine ordinals. I hope you don’t think this sexist. To get feminine forms, simply replace the terminal -o’s with -a’s and º’s with ª’s). Maybe one day Real Academia Española will admit uses like 1@ and segund@, why not.

11 diciembre 2011

La canción de la semana #296

...is Río Negro by Christoph Müller and Eduardo Makaroff (of Gotan Project fame), from El Gaucho, a film by Andrés Jarach.

10 diciembre 2011

Falsos amigos

First published 8 November 2011 @ sólo algunas palabras

The other day, I was chatting with a friend of mine about Spanish/English false friends: the words that look or sound similar but often mean very different things. Classic examples of these are constipado vs constipated and embarazada vs embarrassed. A good list of such falsos amigos is compiled by Laura K. Lawless.

Some words are written (although not pronounced) exactly the same in English and Spanish, for instance these:

Word English Spanish
actual existing in reality current, present
agenda a list of matters to be taken up diary
arena an enclosed area for the presentation of spectacular events sand
cargo freight charge; position
hay cut and dried grass there is, there are
local n a person who lives nearby location, premises, site
mama mother breast
manga a Japanese comic style sleeve
mayor the leader of a city bigger; older
media plural of medium; environment sock, stocking, pantyhose; mean, average; half
once one and only one time; as soon as eleven
pan flat vessel used in cooking bread
quince a tree, Cydonia oblonga, or its fruit fifteen
real existing in reality existing in reality; royal
red a colour network, web
sensible reasonable sensitive
sin a violation of a moral or religious law without
taller more tall workshop
tan a darkening of the skin after exposure to UV light so, as

23 noviembre 2011

Dear Diary 33

by Rod

'I only have to look at food and I put on weight' [Thinks: She must look at an awful lot of food is all I can say.]
'Isn't he sweet. Did I say that out loud?' Amazingly, this was said about me – admittedly by a very drunk dyke. Funny, I've never seen myself in those terms...
As Geordie wouldn't pay Scouser, the patio didn't get finished; Geordie had to do it himself. Mrs Geordie had insisted on a difficult diagonal pattern for the tiles (If you’re not paying, go for the best, that's what I always say.) I had a look at the new bit he had laid. Geordie had them lined up fine in one direction but totally wrong in the other. 'It's not really Scouser's fault but I can't line them up both ways because of the way he did it originally.' Rubbish! For the technically minded you just draw a line down both diagonals and where they meet is where you put the first tile on the new bit. 'Simples.' It does not look good...but Geordie can - and does - blame Scouser. (Better than admitting it's his fault to Mrs Geordie – she's scary.)
Talking of Scouser, his grandson had a tattooist kit for his 18th birthday. Yep! He asked Scouser if he could practise on him. He now sports quite possibly the worst tattoo I have ever seen. And the grandson is going to 'improve' it the next time they meet up. I look forward to seeing the result...
We finally got fed up with having no water pressure so we had a reserve tank and a pump fitted. Unfortunately I fell for the sales talk about having the biggest tank possible. We are now the proud possessors of a 1000litre water tank. Talk about trying to ignore the elephant in the corner...still we are unlikely to run out of water – unless we have a water cut an power cut at the same time.
Herminia told us how lovely the front of our house looked. We hadn't actually started to repaint it at the time said it. Maybe she is colour blind or just being polite?
Everybody in the village knows about Geordie's drinking habits now. He is only allowed 3 litres of beer and 60 cigarettes a day. All rationed by Mrs Geordie. But he's a canny lad. When he goes for his daily 3 bottles he buys an extra, large, can and hides in the plaza and drinks it down with an extra fag before toddling home. Unfortunately all the bread, milk and veg delivery men have noticed and point him out to all and sundry. He still thinks no-one has noticed. Bless him.
The Toxteth Terminators are back. Drunk all day puking in the bar peeing in the street (an that's just the women!) They must have just got out of prison again. A Spanish girl wants to rent their house when they are away... I suggested to her this was probably not a good idea. They've gone again now, but not forgotten.
One of the Spanish families we know is going to Edinburgh. The husband is going to drive. He says it is easy, based on the 200 yards he drove on a totally deserted private lane in England with us a couple of years ago. I think he's in for a shock. They were having difficulty finding accommodation, then we realised they had decided to go the week before the Edinburgh Festival. Still all seems to be OK now. STOP PRESS No, they have just been to the house to get yet another email sorted out. So far they have booked rooms (twice) in a 4* hotel, cancelled them and then booked an apartment.
Antonio across the road, rested his bike against the boot of his shiny new car car then slammed the garage door. Result big dent in the boot lid...
Guardian Reader has scrapped another tyre! Only this time, as they no longer make that model of tyre, he needs to buy 2! I think the garage is having a laugh... Apparently when driving he is better at turning right than left. This could be a bit limiting. He also decided to go for broke whilst overtaking and went head-to-head in a game of chicken with a white transit van coming the other way on a windy mountain road whilst he was overtaking a slow car. He lost. Apparently all three passengers in the car were reduced to tears and thought they were going to die. (Brown trousers and bicycle clips all round?)
Bertha and Desperate Dan called. (The ones who never pay for a round in the pub...) They never call me so they must have a problem... Yep! Their PC has broken! They have never backed up their data - 6 years' worth! They have already 'borrowed' my recovery software and I talked them through 'safe mode' and modifying the BIOS and I have even offered them an installation disc they can use – but I'm not going to actually do the new install for them. They still had the cheek to ask if they could they also 'borrow' a memory stick for their data backup? 'No...'
DD&BB were driven by friends to a pub so they could see their daughter. Sat down, bought 2 drinks for themselves but not their friendly driver and his wife! Paid of their own meal separately and didn't pay towards the petrol either! Lovely people.
All the paint fell off our garage door so we had to repaint it. We finally settled on a 2-pack epoxy. The trouble is it starts to harden as soon as you mix the two components together. So I had just two hours to get both doors painted – before the paint set rock hard and the sun came round to that part of the house and burned what I had just done. The speed I would have liked to paint at was that of the 'William Tell Overture' the speed I could actually get the paint on to was more 'Handel's Largo'. It was a close-run thing! The last bit of paint solidified in the tin as the sun came round onto the garage doors and the temperature shot up to unbearable.
Mr & Mrs GR rushed up breathlessly and asked where the metalwork shop was that they had just visited in the next village. Huh? They described it perfectly right down to the receptionist! No, I couldn't work it out either. I didn't ask...
There we were, minding our own business in the queue in the bank, when a very irate builder with three big, burly, muddy, employees in tow marched up to the front - funnily enough we didn't protest. He then treated us to a tirade about the liars and cheats on the local council who hadn't paid him for work he had done. He then proceeded to name them one by one! After this he made a great show of asking each of his workers how much he was owed and paid it out of his own bank account. They looked very embarrassed but no doubt were very glad to get their money. I suspect there has been a similar problem with the new road bridge that has just been built. When I left in mid-October it was all but finished. A full month later it is still not open. Maybe that builder is waiting for his money too?
We are used to the local children practising their English on us but the Gypsy boy's 'Good morning' turned out to be 'Give money' when we listened more closely.
After arriving at a restaurant on a Sunday/Festival day without a reservation and being kindly found a table, my table-mate panicked when told there may not be a set meal that day muttering: 'I'm not paying for a la carte' then standing up to leave without checking – even after being found a table on a very busy day!
Has Dear Diary reached its 'sell by' date? Please let me know what you think. I get very few replies from most of the people I send Dear Diary to. I'm sure that interesting, odd and quirky things happen to you as well. I'd love to hear about them.
That's all folks!

20 noviembre 2011

13 noviembre 2011

La canción de la semana #292

Silly, silly, silly. And not very, um, politically correct: Pamela Chu, performed by "los creadores de la technobanda", the Mexican band Vaqueros Musical.

10 noviembre 2011

Molinas y molinos

From the latest (November 2011) issue of Fuerteventura Grapevine:

Fuerteventura's windmills are identifiable by gender. Female windmills (moilinas) are one storey high rectangular buildings, while male windmills (moilinos) are 2 or 3 stories and circular.

Molinos date from mid to late 1700s, they were round and built out of stone and wood and whitewashed with lime. The miller's tools were stored on the ground floor, the grain on the second and the milling machinery on the top floor.

Most moilinos and moilinas have four sails although there are some with six or even twelve.

29 octubre 2011

La canción de la semana #290

...is El Alma En Los Labios performed by the famous Ecuadorian pasillo singer Julio Jaramillo aka "El Ruiseñor de América" (1935—1978). Since 1993, his birthday is celebrated as Día Nacional del Pasillo ecuatoriano (1 October). Listen to more of JJ's songs here.

09 octubre 2011

La canción de la semana #287

The Trio Chemirani are three Iranian percussionists, Bijan, Djamchid and Keyvan Chemirani. This week's song, Azadeh, is taken from their latest album, Invite and features guest Malian kora player Ballaké Sissoko and Cuban pianist Omar Sosa.

02 octubre 2011

La canción de la semana #286

What a bummer! Recent "improvement" of blip.fm has rendered all songs I've blipped unavailable, while we7 moved to subscription-only mode. So much for "free music". I'd like to apologise to my readers since many links to songs published here may not be of any use.

Oh well, we have to move on. This week's song is No te iras by Dominican salsero Sexappeal (no, I don't think it is that good a stage name, even for a non-English-speaking country, but there you go), from his 2006 album Mal o Bien.

25 septiembre 2011

La canción de la semana #285

...is Menino do bairro negro, beautifully performed by Galician singer Uxía. This song appears on her new album Meu Canto, recorded in Brazil.

16 septiembre 2011

Coffee Break Spanish

Just finished listening to Coffee Break Spanish — free course of 80 Spanish lessons. Each lesson is between 15 and 25 minutes, so it makes it ideal to listen to while walking, or on (waiting for the) bus (train), or, indeed, during the coffee break of any description. It is a good fun and I learned quite a lot from Mark and Kara. (And I just adore the Scottish accent!) The second part of the course was more challenging, at least for me, since I find it difficult to visualise the verb conjugation tables without writing things down.

Lesson 77 was actually the first lesson that I heard back in May and, surprise surprise, it deals with some peculiarities of Canarian Spanish.

09 septiembre 2011

La canción de la semana #283

Browsing the free music collection of Other Minds Archive, I came across this fascinating live recording of legendary Chilean group Inti-Illimani.
At Stanford University on October 30, 1973, Inti-Illimani, a Chilean folk music group, performed in concert, just months after the military coup in Chile had led to the their exile as well as the death of their fellow folk singer and frequent collaborator, Victor Jara. Saved from a similar fate by the fact that they were on tour in Europe at the time of Pinochet's violent take over, the group took this opportunity to offer a poignant tribute to Jara and other victims of the fascist regime.
Almost twenty years later, Inti-Illimani were once again able to record in Chile. This week's song, Mulata, is taken from the band's 1993 album Andadas.

03 septiembre 2011

La canción de la semana #282

...is Impermeable azul, the Spanish version of Leonard Cohen's classic Famous Blue Raincoat, performed by Christina Rosenvinge. This song appears on 2CD + DVD set Acordes Con Leonard Cohen, recorded live in Barcelona in 2007 and featuring such artists as Perla Batalla, Jackson Browne and Duquende.

21 agosto 2011

La canción de la semana #280

...is Mestizo, from Galician pianist and composer Alberto Conde. This beautiful flamenco-flavoured jazz waltz appears on Andaina by the Alberto Conde Trío featuring Baldo Martínez and Nirankar Khalsa.

16 agosto 2011


I must admit that, since I moved to Fuerte, I was a bit neglecting this (and my other) blogs. So why on earth did I start another one? To promote myself, that's why. Also, to give Posterous a try. (Sorry Blogger.)

With Posterous, one can easily create blog posts by email. I tried this and it works like magic. Of course, it's always possible to come back and edit this post with web editor.

So people, if you have nothing better to do, please visit http://zumbafuerteventura.posterous.com/ and maybe even share the link with your Zumba friends!

07 agosto 2011

La canción de la semana #278

...is Mezcalito by this blog's (and my) favourite artist, Lila Downs. This song appears on her forthcoming album, Pecados y Milagros.
"Pecados y Milagros tiene que ver musicalmente con una serie de canciones que he estado componiendo sobre el mezcal, sobre las mujeres que hacen tortillas, y sobre todo del maíz, inspirada por mi hijo, que es un maicito tierno".
I can't wait.

31 julio 2011

La canción de la semana #277

This week, time for some modern classical music: Preludio y Merengue written by Cuban-born jazz saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera. This composition appears on Riberas, his collaboration with Cuarteto de Cuerdas Buenos Aires.

17 julio 2011

La canción de la semana #275

Continuing with bass players: this week (at long last, some may say), it is the turn of the Venezuelan bassist, singer and bandleader Oscar D'León, also known as El Sonero del Mundo! His biggest hit, recorded back in 1975, was — probably still is — Llorarás.

09 julio 2011

La canción de la semana #274

In case you didn't know it already, I have a soft spot for bass players. And guess what, I have an even softer spot for female bass players. A couple of years ago, I discovered for myself the young American bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding. Earlier this year, she became the first jazz artist to win the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. This week's song is Chacarera from her last album, Chamber Music Society.

01 julio 2011

La canción de la semana #273

Yet another song stuck in my head, yet again thanks to Luisa's zumba class: Suavemente by Elvis Crespo, from his 1998 debut album.

 Elvis Crespo - Suavemente .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

26 junio 2011

La canción de la semana #272

...is Taki Ti Taki performed by Susana Baca. According to Baca,
This is a song from Venezuela, one of the many complex rhythms played by the drummers of Guatuire. Venezuela has a variety of rhythms and musical forms that are very sophisticated... These are songs from the drummers that play to San Juan in June and sing songs in tribute for hours. We share similar roots in Spain and Africa but there are very different nuances that come out. It is a song that spoke to me, "Taki Ti Taki" refers to the rhythm and the adoration of San Juan and we feel it is close to our own culture and a part of the culture of the Americas.
This song appears on her wonderful new album, Afrodiaspora.

25 junio 2011

¡Nadie espera a la inquisición española!

Today, Yuri asked how to say in Spanish "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition". I was unable to find the Spanish version straight away; here's the sketch in English with Spanish subtitles.

"¡Nadie espera encontrarse a la Inquisición española! Nuestra principal arma es la sorpresa, y el miedo... Nuestras dos armas principales son la sorpresa y el miedo, y una eficacia despiadada... Nuestras tres armas son el miedo, la sorpresa y una eficacia despiadada, y una devoción fanática por el Papa... Nuestras cuatro... Entre nuestras armas hay elementos como el miedo, la sorpresa... Volvamos a entrar."

"¡No esperaba encontrarme a la Inquisición española!"

"¡Nadie espera encontrarse a la Inquisición española! Entre nuestras armas, hay elementos como el miedo, la sorpresa, una eficacia despiadada y una devoción fanática por el Papa, y unos uniformes rojos preciosos..."

18 junio 2011

¿Dónde puedo copiar la llave?

Now that I officially (!) live in Spain, I reckon it's time to move beyond tourist Spanish. In places like Corralejo, ¿Dónde está el bar? or ¿Dónde está el restaurante? are really silly questions. They are, well, everywhere. ¿Dónde está la ferretería? — entirely different matter. I actually had to ask this last week. Although even that did not help: not every ferretería provides the service I was after.

"¿Dónde puedo copiar la llave?"

(For the record, I did not find any open establishment doing that in Corralejo.)

Here are a few more words which can be of real use when you just move in and start looking for stuff:
el cubobucket
el cuchilloknife
la escobabroom
el fontanero, la fontaneraplumber
la fregona / la mopamop
el hervidor(electric) kettle
la lavadora / el lavarropaswashing machine
el lavavajillasdishwasher
el (punto de) reciclajerecycling (point)
el recogedordustpan
el sacacorchoscorkscrew

22 mayo 2011

La canción de la semana #267

Of all Cuban songs, the most famous one must be Guantanamera. I hope you enjoy this live version by Lucrecia (love her hair), with support from Andy García and Arturo Sandoval!

08 mayo 2011

La canción de la semana #265

One more catchy merengue that I first heard at Luisa's Zumba class, and when I say "catchy", I mean that it will stay in your head for weeks: Culiquitaca. Or is it Kulikitaka? There are probably as many spelling variants as cover versions, but the definitive Culikitaca is this one by Toño Rosario.

Free tono rosario MP3 Download

23 abril 2011

La canción de la semana #263

Any fan of Ojos de Brujo would notice that their latest offering, Corriente vital, "consists largely of a reworking of old favourites". But maybe that was the point, to celebrate the band's tenth anniversary with "the best of" album? The title track, however, is brand new. The video below is an intimate acoustic version of Corriente vital performed by just three members of the band. Imagine Ojos de Brujo in your kitchen!

16 abril 2011

La canción de la semana #262

It is a pleasure to introduce here my recent discovery: Desandann aka The Creole Choir of Cuba. Reviewing their 2010 album, Tande-La, Chris Nickson wrote: "It's not obviously Cuban — but it is very obviously superb." See for yourself. In the video, the choir performs two songs, Tande and Baila Cha Cha Cha live at Celtic Connections in Glasgow.

19 marzo 2011

07 marzo 2011

Restaurante Le Provençal

Calle Isaac Peral, 61, Corralejo, Fuerteventura

Who goes to Spain to eat in a Provençal restaurant? As it happens, I do.

One sunny day July last year, I was walking along Calle Isaac Peral in Corralejo. I saw an unpretentious tapas bar which I thought could be worth exploring at some point. At that precise moment, however, I was looking for a peluquería so I walked by.

Some four months later, I found myself at the very same corner. The tapas bar was apparently shut down.

Last week, to my surprise, I found the place re-open and re-named. (By now you should have guessed that I hang in Corralejo a lot.) I saw a group of French-speaking people already sitting there, so I decided to give it a try.

I was greeted by its charming and attentive owner. (She speaks fluent English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. How is that?) Here's what I had:
  • Starter: gazpacho Andaluz. I have to admit this was the best gazpacho I've had so far.
  • Main: fish of the day was moray eel, pan-fried with herb sauce. I never tasted this fish before. It was delicious. However, it has many fine bones, so be extra careful, especially if you like to chat during your meal!
  • Dessert: Tarte Tatin with cream. Yummy, but next time I will have it with ice cream. Must be even yummier, n'est-ce pas?
That means, there definitely will be next time!

05 marzo 2011

La canción de la semana #256

After attending couple of sevillana classes in Corralejo (which were good fun; shame I have to go tomorrow!) I just can't get this one out of my head: Pasa la vida by Albahaca.

Pasa la vida, pasa la vida

Pasa la vida
Y no has notado que has vivido cuando
Pasa la vida
Y no has notado que has vivido cuando
Pasa la vida

Pasa la vida
Tus ilusiones y tus bellos sueños
Todo se olvida
Tus ilusiones y tus bellos sueños
Todo se olvida

Pasa la vida
Igual que pasa la corriente
Del río cuando busca el mar
Y yo camino indiferente
Allí donde me quieran llevar
(Full lyrics here)

08 febrero 2011

Flamenco Festival London 2011

...starts tonight at Sadler's Wells. The line-up includes Estrella Morente, Miguel Poveda, Aída Gómez, Rocío Molina, Tomatito, José Maya and Eva Yerbabuena.

06 febrero 2011

La canción de la semana #252

...is Mi último llanto, from El Duque de La Bachata album by Joan Soriano. To quote the Songlines' Top of the World review:

Dukes rarely make good dance music. Think of the Duque de Edimburgo, or the Duque de Westminster: both rubbish with a bongo. The Duque de la Bachata, on the other hand, saves the honour of the ducal species with this terrific collection of the Dominican Republic's second-line rhythm, bachata, remaining the authentic staple of the poor suburbs of Santo Domingo despite its recent exaltation to international pop prominence.

21 enero 2011

La canción de la semana #250

Fifteen years ago, two Malian musicians, Bassekou Kouyate and Djelimady Tounkara, failed to get visas to Cuba. An unexpected result of that was... the phenomenally successful album Buena Vista Social Club, recorded with all-Cuban line-up. But last year, Nick Gold of World Circuit Records finally succeeded in bringing Cubans and Malians together as AfroCubism. No it is not Buena Vista Social Club #2 — it is much more interesting. Apart from Kouyate and Tounkara, AfroCubism features the BVSC veteran Eliades Ochoa and great Toumani Diabaté.

"Musically, the recording sessions worked very well, but we had some strange times when they asked each other what the songs are about," Gold says. "Eliades was asking me what one of Toumani's songs is about. Toumani said it was about a baby hippopotamus. Eliades raised his eyebrows, then Toumani said: 'Well, what's your song about?' 'It's about how when I get tired of the earth I'm going to live on the moon.' So Toumani's going: 'And you think my song is ridiculous?'"

Ridiculous or not, this week's song is Ochoa's A la luna yo me voy performed by AfroCubism!

10 enero 2011

xkcd en español

For once, reading the "frequently asked questions" (actually, answers to them) pays off. After a few years enjoying the comics by Randall Munroe, I finally had a look at the FAQs.
Q: Is xkcd translated?

A: Translating humor is often difficult between groups that speak the same language, let alone totally different cultures. So it's inherently a hard problem. However, a reader does translate xkcd strips into Spanish, which can be found at es.xkcd.com.
So, here it is.

(Here's the original comic.)

06 enero 2011

La canción de la semana #248

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

This week's song is Malika by Maurice El Médioni, from his 2006 album Descarga Oriental.

On first thought, one might be hard-pressed to find a common ground between Algerian raï music and Latin jazz. But for the pianist Maurice el Medioni, an Algerian-born Jew who left his home for France decades ago as an exile, and the Cuban-born, New York-based percussionist Roberto Rodriguez, the link connecting North Africa and Cuba is a direct one — by way of Spanish Andalusia.