25 diciembre 2015

La canción de la semana #506

¡Feliz Navidad! The final song of this year is Caminos del alba from Canteca de Macao's latest album, Lugares Comunes. See you all in 2016!

05 diciembre 2015

29 noviembre 2015

La canción de la semana #502

...is Río de la Pila, a dedication to a legendary santanderino street, by a flamenco pianist Jairo León, from his new album Sensillo y Diferente. (I can't tell exactly why this street is legendary, but I'm sure it is. It has this legendary feel about it.) León is playing on 5 December in Conservatorio Jesús de Monasterio, Paseo del General Dávila 85, Santander.

20 noviembre 2015

13 noviembre 2015

La canción de la semana #500

I can'believe I was doing it for, what, ten years? Our five-hundredth entry is an Armenian folk song Hov arek sarer jan arranged and performed by the Yerevan-born, Los Angeles-based guitarist and composer Vahagni featuring incomparable Concha Buika. Buika is performing in Teatro Circo Price, Madrid on November 15th and in Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on November 29th.

06 noviembre 2015

La canción de la semana #499

Not just fado, not just in Portuguese: Mariza can do other things as well. Alma appears on her first studio album in five years, Mundo, produced by Javier Limón.

31 octubre 2015

La canción de la semana #498

Cumbia de los Muertos appeared on the Ozomatli's 1998 self-titled debut album and has remained in the band's repertoire ever since. This version was recorded live in 2013.

23 octubre 2015

La canción de la semana #497

Por una cabeza is a famous tango composed by Carlos Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera in 1935. For this week, I chose this jazzy version by Sandra Carrasco. This song appears on the Andalusian singer's 2014 album Océano.

25 julio 2015

La canción de la semana #484

...is Acuérdate by Canteca de Macao, from the band's forthcoming album Lugares Comunes, to be released in September. I'm looking forward to it!

18 julio 2015

La canción de la semana #483

...is El Pescador by Totó La Momposina y sus Tambores. This song appears on Tambolero, a re-mastered and re-edited version of Colombian singer's 1993 album La Candela Viva, out now on Real World Records.

09 julio 2015

La canción de la semana #482

...is Al Azar by Jose Alberto Medina (piano) and Javier Infante (guitar). I saw this duo last Saturday doing their acoustic magic in the heart of Las Palmas as a part of Canarian International Jazz Festival 2015.

01 julio 2015

La canción de la semana #481

This deceptively lo-fi produced song gives me goosebumps: La Luna Llena performed by Argentines Perotá Chingó, currently on their European tour. Happy Full Moon!

19 junio 2015

La canción de la semana #479

...is Antipatriarca by a French-Chilean singer Ana Tijoux, from her 2014 album Vengo.


Yo puedo ser tu hermana tu hija, Tamara, Pamela o Valentina
Yo puedo ser tu gran amiga, incluso tu compañera de vida
Yo puedo ser tu aliada la que aconseja y la que apaña
Yo puedo ser cualquiera de todas depende de como tu me apodas
Pero no voy a ser la que obedece porque mi cuerpo me pertenece
Yo decido de mi tiempo como quiero y donde quiero
Independiente yo nací, independiente decidí
Yo no camino detrás de ti, yo camino de la par aquí

Tu no me vas a humillar, tu no me vas a gritar
Tu no me vas someter, tu no me vas a golpear
Tu no me vas denigrar, tu no me vas obligar
Tu no me vas a silenciar, tu no me vas a callar

No sumisa ni obediente
Mujer fuerte insurgente
Independiente y valiente
Romper las cadenas de lo indiferente
No pasiva ni oprimida
Mujer linda que das vida
Emancipada en autonomía
Antipatriarca y alegría
A liberar...

Yo puedo ser jefa de hogar, empleada o intelectual
Yo puedo ser protagonista de nuestra historia y la que agita
La gente la comunidad, la que despierta la vecindad
La que organiza la economía de su casa de su familia
Mujer linda se pone de pie
Y a romper las cadenas de la piel

10 junio 2015

Words They Say

First published 9 June 2015 @ sólo algunas palabras

Based on a True Story

    “Good morning, children.”
    — Gutmonin.
    “Today, we are gonna talk about Hallowe’en.”
    — Helluin!

Well it was clear from the very start that these children don’t want to talk. They want to shout. But I have a secret weapon: colouring pages. Hallowe’en-themed, as it were.

    — Quiero una araña.
    — Quiero un murciélago.
    — Quiero una calabaza.
    “No, no, no.”
    — ¡Araña!
    “Here’s the deal: you have to speak in English to me.”
    — Quiero...
    No quiero. This is a spider. This is a pumpkin. This is a bat. All right?”
    — ¡Bat! ¡Bat!
    — ¡Batman!
    “Not Batman. A bat.”
    — ¡Espayder!
    “No ‘Espayder’. Spider. Spy-Der. Spider.”
    — ¡Espayder!
    — Quiero spider.
    No quiero. ‘Can I have...’”
    Quen ay jav...
    “‘...a spider’.”
    — ¡Espayder!

What did I get myself into? Can anybody hear the difference between ‘a spider’ and, well, ‘espayder’?

    — Quiero bat.
    — Quiero espayder.
    — Quiero los todos.
    — Quiero pis.
    “Please go.”

The colouring pages are finally distributed.

    — ¿Puedo colorear?
    — ¿Puedo recortar?

Mind you, only the most polite ask this. The others have already taken hold of the crayons, felt-tip pens and scissors.

There is a pair of kids who never do what I ask. Instead of colouring, they cut things out, or glue the worksheets to the walls. One of the favourite activities is to cut out something (say, a bat) and stick it to the blank A4 paper sheet. Fifteen minutes later, the result is exactly the same as the original worksheet but a lot more crumpled and covered with glue and some unidentified dirt on both sides.

The others really like colouring and showing me their work.

    — Mira, que bonito. (About their own pictures.)
    — Mira, que feo. (About the neighbour’s work.)
    — Mira, que botas muy chulas. (Points on her welly boots.)
    — Tengo mocos.

My very first day in this class, one three-year old girl was looking at me intently for about twenty minutes. Then she said, very seriously:

    — Eres guapo.
Later that month, we did some sort of Hallowe’en presentation, where I was supposed to be a vampire. I was dressed in black, had a (mostly white) face paint and a grey hair wig. Most of three- and four-year-olds were scared of me, which I judged to be a success. Not this girl though. She came close and asked me:
    — ¿Quién eres?
    “I am, er, a vampire, don’t you see?”
    — Eres guapo.

Now and then, I show them the videos. Music videos and animations. And now they make requests.

I don’t know how much English they learned from that particular song, but everybody loves it. They crowd around my laptop.
    — ¡No veo!
    — ¡Que no veo!
    — ¡No veo!
    “Guys, can you please step one step back? Then everyone could see.”
    — ¡No veo!
    — Álvaro me ha empujau.
Until I started to work in school, I was convinced that the most popular given names in Spain are Juan and María. Nope. I don’t even have a single María. But there are lots of Álvaros, Brunos, Martinas and Saras.
    — ¡Se ha acabau!
    — ¡Otra!
    — ¡Otra vez!
When I introduced them to Simon’s Cat, they ignored it. At first. Then, about a month later, a request arrived.
    — ¡Un gato chino!
    — “You what?!”
    — ¡Un gato chino!
    — “Do you mean Simon’s Cat?”
    — ¡No, un gato chino!
By now, Simon’s Cat is one of their firm favourites.
    — ¡Se acabó!
    — Es muy corto.
    — ¡Otra!
    — ¡No veo!

There is one five-year old boy who is not interested in anything the others are doing.

    — Estoy aburriendo.
    — Estoy aburrido.
    — Quiero algo divertido.
    — Quiero algo volando.
I like it when they give me clues what to do next.

    “Good morning, children.”
    — Gutmonin!
I point at the blackboard where I did stick seven A4 paper sheets evolving towards a flying machine.
    “Today, we are going to make a paper airplane.”

How to make a paper airplane: steps 1 through 7

I find all twelve of them standing under number 7.

    — ¡Quiero eso!
    — ¡Quiero un avión de papel!
    “No, no, no. We all are going to learn how to make a paper airplane. Everybody take a sheet of paper...”
And so it starts.
    “...and fold it like this...”
    — ¿Me ayudas?
    — ¿Me lo doblas?
    — ¿Me lo haces?
And this is just a half of the class. There is no way I am making 25 paper airplanes in one hour.

That was a stroke of genius, I admit it freely. Seven months later, only a handful of them learned this craft. But it provided me with another weapon.

    — ¡Quiero un avión de papel!
    “In English, please.”
    — Es que no sé como decir.
    “Ask Hugo, he knows.”
A minute later:
    — ¡Plan! ¡Plan!
    “What plan?”
    — ¡Plane!
    “Plane what?”
    — ¡Quiero a plane!
    No quiero. ‘Can you make...’”
    — ¡A plane!
    — ¡A plane!
    — ¡A plane!
Now the teachers tell me: you know, your planes fly really far! Yes, I know.

They do ask lots of questions, these kids. Mostly in Spanish.

    — ¿Tienes novia?
    — ¿Tienes bebés?
    — ¿Por qué no hablas español?
    — ¿Por qué llevas coleta?
    — ¿Por qué andas en chanclas?
    — ¿Cuántos minutos faltan? (Till the end of the class, that is.)
    Can I go to the toilet please?

Apart from teaching in a classroom, I take turns to supervise them during the recess. Or before. Or after.

    “Can you please put on your coats.”
    — ¡Has dicho una palabrota!
    “Did I?”
    — ¡Has dicho ‘puta’!
Oh my. I have to be careful with these things.

To be fair, very few of them hesitate to use swearwords, especially in my class. In the beginning, they did not realise I know all this lexicon.

    — Álvaro me ha empujau.
    “Oh no, not him again.”
    — ¿Puedes guardarlo? (Gives me a toy.)
    “Claro que sí — oops, yes of course.”
    — ¿Puedes atar mis cordones?
    “Sure I can. And a magic word?”
    — ¡Fuerte!

By midday, they drain all my energy. But sometimes they ask or tell me something that makes it worth it.

    — ¿Cómo sabes todas estas cosas?
    “Because I was paying attention when in school.” (It’s a lie, I didn’t.)
    — Toma, esto es para ti.
    “It is beautiful, Daniela. Thank you.”
    — Quiero ser tu ayudante.
    “Do you really? Can you help me to tidy up then?”
    — Can you make a plane for me? Please?

10 mayo 2015

03 mayo 2015

La canción de la semana #472

As of April 2015, Grooveshark is dead. It will take a while (or eternity) to update now-dead music links in my blogs. I hate the music industry.

This week's song is Codeína by Bio Ritmo, a salsa band from Richmond, Virginia. This song appears on their 2014 album Puerta del Sur.

18 abril 2015

La canción de la semana #470

Somos Novios (aka It's Impossible), one of the most popular boleros of all time, was composed by Armando Manzanero in 1968. I find many interpretations of this song too sweet for my taste. But here's one great version by Manzanero himself in duo with Lolita Flores, from the 2001 album Lola, Lolita, Lola.

09 abril 2015

La canción de la semana #469

Mira el video del tema La Patria Madrina realizada por Lila Downs y Juanes. Este es el primer sencillo del nuevo álbum de Lila Downs Balas y Chocolate.

04 abril 2015

La canción de la semana #468

...is mysterious and hauntingly beautiful Midsummer Rain Song performed by Warsaw Village Band (Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa) and Mercedes Peón.

07 marzo 2015

07 febrero 2015

La canción de la semana #460

...is Yo Voy Ganao, a wonderfully colourful song and video by Systema Solar. This Colombian collective creates audio-visual shows in style they call "Berbenautika", inspired by traditions of pikós (sound systems) and verbena (country fair).

24 enero 2015

La canción de la semana #458

...is Todo de ti by Pez Mago, a new project of singer-songwriter Lucas Álvarez de Toledo. The band is on tour now, with forthcoming concerts in Tenerife, Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla.

11 enero 2015

La canción de la semana #456

...is Situaciones by Peliroja, a New York collective inspired by the sounds of Ethiopia, Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Congo. Their debut album Injusticia is out on Chulo Records.