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Language, country, culture, traditions, music, history… Spanish territory has hosted Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Visigothics

, Arabs, Jews, etc. All of them lived in Spain and shared their cultures and influenced any artistic expression in the country. And now we are happy to introduce you a little part of our musical culture.

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In the 8th century, Muslims invaded Spain. They brought their culture, their science, and their arts. They established in AlAndalus, in Cordoba. This city was the administrative center, the core of the kingdom. And Umayyad Caliphate left monuments like the Mezquita.

Also their music heritage is very important. With their arrival, they introduced new styles of music. In the 9th century, Ziryab arrived to AlAndalus. Ziryab was a very talented musician that came from Baghdad, the most important center of music in the Muslim world. The legend says that Ziryab provoked his teacher’s jealousy, so he had to left Baghdad. The real name of Ziryab was Abu al-Hasan but because of his black color and beautiful singing voice was nicknamed Ziryab “blackbird”.

Ziryab arrived to Cordoba where Abd alRahman the 2nd was the Caliph. This Caliph was a lover of culture and arts and gave protection to Ziryab who founded a school of music, singing and developed an innovative vocal technique that produced great artists.He created a new musical style, Nuba. Lyrics can be sung by a soloist or by a chorus in classical or in colloquial arab. Unfortunately, this important corpus of Andalusian music didn’t survive in a written form although the survival of oral tradition in the 18th century allowed the writing of the first manuscript that collected this repertory. It was the Al-Haik’s Songbook. Here you have an example. As you can see, the musical notation was based on the alphabet letters. This beautiful music you are listening to are nubas from alHaik´s Songbook translated into occidental notation by Spanish musicologists.

But let’s go back to Cordoba in the 11th century. Wallada bint al-Mustakfi, daughter of the Umayyad Caliph Muhammad the III (3rd) of Cordoba and one of his slaves inherited all the properties, as he didn’t have a male heir. That was the reason why she could open a literary hall where she offered instruction for women of all classes. Blonde, fair-skinned and blue-eyed. A very exotic appeal. Beautiful, intelligent and independent. She used to walk out in public with see through robes and her verses embroidered in them. She refused to wear veil. Only 9 of her poems are preserved. Let’s see the ones embroidered in her robes: I deserve every greatness, And proudly follow my way. My cheeks I offer to my loved one, My kisses I give to whom I wish. Wallada refused to get married and had many lovers. When she was 20 years old she met Ibn Zaydun, the poet, in Wallada’s literary hall and both fell in love. A terrible, passionately, burning love. A very difficult love because Zaydun belonged to a rival clan of the Umayyad one. If the stars only knew About the intensity of my love, They would start wandering Lost and aimless in the skies. If the moon only suspected How much I adore you She would lie, shrouded in darkness, Keeping the secret for me. If one day the sun should know Of the verses that I write you He would simply die of love, His shine forever gone.

This love provoked the jealousy of Ibn Abdus, the Caliph’s Vizir who tried to destroy Zaydun as a political rival and lover of Wallada. The love of Zaydun and Wallada finished when the poet was caught with a Wallada’s slave. Wallada never forgave the offense even if Zaydun swore that he was trapped up. He went sent to jail and Wallada joined Abdus dedicating Zaydun very obscene verses. In nineteen seventyone (1971), was built a memorial monument in Cordoba devoted to the love of Wallada and Zaydun to commemorate the 900 anniversary of the great poet's death.

On the bottom there is an inscription with a poem of Wallada and another of Zaydun both in Spanish and Arab. These are the verses of Wallada: I am jealous of my eyes, of my whole being, Of yourself, of the time and place you own. Even if I carve you in my pupils, My jealousy will forever last...

This famous “villancico” can be found in the Palacio’s Songbook in two versions, one of them is an anonymous one and the other is a composition of Diego Fernández. And, what is a villancico? In a dictionary of 1739, we can find the earliest meaning of this word. Villancico is a song that was sung by rural people or people of a “villa” (small town). But from the 19 th century till nowadays, “villancico” only means Christmas Carol. Under the appearance of an innocent song, in The Three Moorish girls is hidden a very erotic song, plenty of Spanish symbols like “to go to pick olives” a traditional erotic metaphor that survived till the 20 th century. An example is Federico García Lorca’s “¡Árbole, árbole!” poem. The ritual act to pick olives has been linked in traditional poems, to sensual encounters. The girl with the lovely face is out picking olives. The wind, playboy of towers, grabs her around the waist.

This particular expression proves the sensual content of The Three Moorish girls: They returned weak and pale “Three Moorish girls” is based on a story that appears in “The Arabian nights”. The lead character is the Caliph Harun Al-Rashid and three girls, one from Medina, another from Mecca and the last one from Irak. The girls were disputing the male member of the Caliph.

The underlying content is a practical and original example of a “hadith”. Hadiths are similar to jurisprudence because they are Prophet’s statements or actions recopilated by people who were witnesses. Every hadith comes with a list of authorities that guarantees the oral transmission chain and determines the validity of the chain. In this story, the hadith is: "Whoever revives dead land, will be the owner of it." Between the story of “The Arabian nights” and the Spanish villancico, researches think there must be a missing song. And now, listen to the villancico “Three Moorish girls”.

Tres morillas me enamoran en Jaén, Axa, Fátima y Marién, tres morillas tan garridas, iban a coger olivas en Jaén, Axa, Fátima y Marién. Y hallábanlas cogidas y tornaban desmaídas, y las colores perdidas en Jaén, Axa, Fátima y Marién. Tres morillas me enamoran en Jaén, Axa, Fátima y Marién. Tres morillas tan lozanas tres morillas tan galanas iban a coger manzanas en Jaén, Axa, Fátima y Marién. Tres morillas me enamoran en Jaén, Axa, Fátima y Marién.

Three moorish girls I revere in Jaén, Axa , Fátima and Marién. These three girls are so fine looking, picked up olives in Jaén, Axa, Fátima and Marién. But they found them gone already and turned back with a grim face, their colors lost in Jaén, Axa, Fátima and Marién. Three moorish girls i revere in Jaén, Axa, Fátima and Marién. Three moorish girls so entrancing, Three moorish girls so enchanting, picked up apples in Jaén, Axa, Fátima and Marién. Three moorish girls i revere in Jaén, Axa, Fátima and Marién.

The Zorongo is a folk dancing song very typical from Andalusia. Gustavo Doré, in his travels through Spain in 1831, made an etching entitled Gitana de Granada bailando el zorongo (Granada Gypsy dancing Zorongo). Some Spanish writers like Benito Pérez Galdós talked about zorongo in “Cádiz” one of his 46 “National Episodes”. This is the zorongo that appears in this historical novel: Here, girl, this orange I've picked up in my garden. Don't cut it with a knife, for my heart is inside. Anyway, the best-known zorongo was made popular by Federico García Lorca. It was recorded in 1931, sung by La Argentinita and García Lorca at the piano. It was published in his selection of folk Spanish songs. Some composers like Obradors or Garcia Abril have written their own versions of zorongos based in Lorca's one.

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And now it’s time to talk about flamenco zorongo the real roots of Lorca's zorongo. Lorca’s zorongo is a bulería inspired in the very popular zorongos performed at Sacromonte’s caves in Granada. Here you are a typical performance in a cave:

There are many different lyrics, melodies and styles of zorongo and you can combine them. The lyrics are about love. The rythms can be very different: tango, milonga, bulería, tanguillo, alegría… For example, this is a zorongo with music and lyrics different from Lorca's one. Llévame sobre tus brazos, sobre tus brazos, ¡moreno!, por el camino adelante hasta que encuentres el cielo. Se han vestido los rosales, sus alas plegó el invierno sobre el lecho de los sauces las aves se están queriendo. Take me on your arms, on your arms, moreno!, up ahead until you find the sky. The rose bushes are dressed, the winter folded its wings down on the bed of the willows birds are in love.

Zorongos can be sung at Christmas time with religious lyrics. Flamenco Christmas carols are very typical in Andalusia. Flamenco Christmas carols are plenty of “caló” words (gypsy dialect) like “churumbé” tha t means child. Ha nacido el "churumbé" The child was born en una noche lunera, in a very shining moon night, tendrá planta de "calé" he will have a gipsy look y risa cascabelera. and tinkling laughter. San José es de mazapán San Joseph is made of marzipan y la Virgen de canela, and the Virgin Mary of cinnamon y este Niño es un bizcocho and this child is a cupcake "jecho" de azúcar morena. made of brown sugar. And at the end, here it is, the best-known, García Lorca’s zorongo. Las manos de mi cariño, Te están bordando una capa Con agremán de alhelíes Y con esclavina de agua. Cuando fuiste novio mío por la primavera blanca, los cascos de tu caballo cuatro sollozos de plata Tengo los ojos azules Y el corazoncito igual Que la cresta de la lumbre. De noche me salgo al patio y me harto de llorar de ver que te quiero tanto y tu no me quieres ná. La luna es un pozo chico las flores no valen nada que lo valen son tu brazos cuando de noche me abrazan. The hands of my love Are embroidering a cape for you With a ribbon made of wallflowers and with its top made of water. When you were my lover in the white Spring, Your horse’s hoofs, four silver tears. I have got blue eyes and my little heart is also blue as the top of the fire. At night I go outside And cry until I'm weary I can see that I love you so much And you don't love me at all. The moon is like a small well, flowers are worth nothing only your arms count when you embrace me at night.

Near the mountain range known as the Sierra de Béjar and the Peña de Francia we can find Monleón, a small town. This traditional melody was set by Federico García Lorca but different versions of the music and lyrics of this piece exist. The biggest challenge of Los Mozos de Monléon is the ethymological analysis; its vocabulary is very specific from Salamanca.

Siniestro has a number of meanings in Spanish. One of them, very specific in Salamanca is the vertical poster of a cart.

Albarca: rustic sandal made of leather and tied up with strings.

Los mozos de Monleón se fueron a arar temprano, alsa y olé Se fueron a arar temprano. Para ir a la corrida, y remudar con despacio, alsa y olé Y remudar con despacio. Al hijo de la veñuda, el remudo no le han dado, El remudo no le han dado. Al toro tengo que ir, aunque lo busque prestado, Aunque lo busque prestado. Permita dios si lo encuentras, que te traigan en un carro, Las albarcas y el sombrero, de los siniestros colgando. Se cogen los garrochones, marchan las navas abajo, Preguntando por el toro, y el toro ya está encerrado. En el medio del camino, al vaquero preguntaron, ¿Qué tiempo tiene el toro? El toro tiene ocho años. Muchachos no entréis a él, mirar que el toro es muy malo, Que la leche que mamó, se la di yo por mi mano. Se presentan en la plaza, cuatro mozos muy galllardos, Manuel Sánchez llamó al toro, nunca le hubiera llamado, Por el pico de la albarca toda la plaza arrastrado, Cuando el toro lo dejó, ya lo ha dejado muy malo.

Four young men from Monleón Went to plow early in the morning, alsa y olé, Went to plow early in the morning. They wished to run in the bullfight, and put calmly their best clothing, alsa y olé, And put calmly their best clothing. But the son of the old widow didn’t get any new clothing, alsa y olé Didn’t get any new clothing. I must go see that bullfight, even wearing other man’s clothes, alsa y olé even wearing other man’s clothes. May god allow if you find them, that they bring you in a carriage, With your sandals and your hat, both of them hanging from the sides. The spears for the bulls are ready, everyone walks down the prairie, Asking where they’ve got the bull, but the bull is locked already. In the middle of the way, they went to the cowboy asking, How old is the bull we’re fighting? It’s an old bull, he’s eight years old. Listen, lads, don’t try to tease him, for he’s very old and evil, I know what I’m speaking of, for I bred it since its birth. There they are in the bull ring, these four young men so nice and handsome. Manuel Sánchez called the bull, if only he hadn’t done so, for the bull’s horn caught his sandal, and dragged him along the ground. When the beast finally leaves him, he feels that he can’t live long.

Compañeros, yo me muero, amigos, yo estoy muy malo, Tres pañuelos tengo dentro, y éste que meto, son cuatro. Que llamen al confesor, para que vaya a auxiliarlo, No se pudo confesar, porque estaba ya expirando. Al rico de Monleón le piden los bües y el carro, Para llevar a Manuel Sánchez, que el torito lo ha matado. A la puerta de la veñuda, arrecularon el carro, Aquí teneis a vuestro hijo, como lo habéis demandado. Al ver a su hijo así, para tras se ha desmayado. A eso de los nueve meses, salió su madre bramando, los vaqueriles arriba, los vaqueriles abajo, preguntando por el toro, el toro ya está enterrado. Madres las que tengáis hijos, no le echéis la maldición, Que yo se la eché al mío y así me sucedió.

My dear lads, I’m dying here, my friends, there’s no hope for me. Four handkerchiefs are inside me, and this other one makes four. Someone go fetch the confessor, this man needs help for his soul. The poor lad couldn’t confess, ‘cause he was already expiring. The rich man of Monleón, lends them his oxes and carriage To take away Manuel Sánchez, for the bull has claimed his life. When they got to the old widow, they showed what was on the carriage, See, we’re bringing you your son, in the way that you requested.. When she sees her son like that, she faints and falls on her back. And then, nine months after that, she runs through the streets in rage. And she goes up the pastures, then she goes down the pastures. She’s asking about the killer bull, but the bull’s already buried. Listen, mothers who have sons, don’t curse them no matter what, For as you see, I cursed mine, and this is what happened to me.

I’m going to talk about the Andalusian copla a style very popular in Spain in the ninete en forties. The songs talk about love, passion and overflowing feelings. The style is very popular even today. Concha Piquer, Antonio Molina or Rocío Jurado were some of the most important copla singers.

When singing Andalusian copla, the rules of pronunciation are very important. You need to learn Andalusian pronunciation which is very different from Castilian. The songs are composed in such a way that standard pronunciation will not fit with the syllabification.

Ná te debo. Ná me pías. Si fui mala o buena olvíalo ya. To te lo ha pagao mi carne morena, no maldigas payo, estamos en paz. No te quiero. No me quieras. Si to me lo diste yo ná te peí, no me eches en cara que to lo perdiste también a tu vera...yo to lo perdi. Bien pagá. si yo soy la bien pagá, porque mis besos cobré y ti me supe entregá por un puñao de parné... Bien pagá.Bien pagá. Bien pagá fue esta mujé. No te engaño, quiero a otro. No pienses por eso que farsa te fuí, no caí en sus brazos: le di sólo un beso, el único beso que yo no vendí. Ná te pío. Ná me llevo, entre estas paredes to me lo dejé: joyas y vestíos que tú me compraste, mi nombre y mi vía que yo te entregué. Bien pagá. Me llaman la bien pagá, porque mis besos cobré y a ti me supe entregá por un puñao de parné. Bien pagá... Bien pagá... Bien pagá fue esta mujé.

I owe nothing, I ask nothing. If I’m good or bad, don’t think about this. Everything was paid by my brunette body you can’t complain, payo, for now we’re in peace. I don’t love you, you don’t love me. All the things you gave me, I didn’t request. Now you say I’m guilty of all your disgraces, But I lost it all, too. Now I can’t have rest. Well paid one, they call me the well paid one Because my kisses I sold, And I let you be my man For all the dough I could hold. Well paid one, well paid one, Well paid one, but still left cold. Now you’re saying I’m unfaithful, There’s another man, I don’t mind to tell. But I didn’t chase him, I gave him just one kiss, It was the only kiss that I didn’t sell. I ask nothing. I’ll take nothing. Among these four walls, everything I leave. The jewels and dresses that you used to buy me, My life and my good name, That I can’t retrieve. Well paid one, they call me the well paid one Because my kisses I sold, And I let you be my man For all the dough I could hold. Well paid one, well paid one, Well paid one, but still left cold.

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In the 17th century, monologues sung by women became very famous in Spain. These songs were performed in the middle of theatre plays or zarzuelas. The songs talked about social, political topics, or love. It was Goya’s time and the majas, majos and petimetres’ world.

In the 19th century, the first café-concert opened and cuplé, in a very early stage, began to be performed in this kind of places together with flamenco. The most popular café-concerts were in Andalusia. In Spain flamenco were sung at home, in private celebrations and performed spontaneously in taverns. It was the first time that people could enjoy shows every night in this kind of establishments.

In café-concerts, the style evolved, grew and improved. The songs were very erotic and daring. At the end of the 19th century, the style was called cuplé because of the French influences and it was the start of the Golden Age of cuplé in Spain. The difficulty of cuplé songs lies on the interpretation. It must be very suggestive, flirting and sensual. Cuplés contain erotic lyrics, some of them explicit and some not. What is important is not what it is said, but how, expressed by gesture and body language in general. And the voice must be sensual, velvety, and breathless.

But I want to share with you a story, a love story. The story of Anita Delgado and Maharajah of Kapurthala.

Anita was an Andalusian girl. The family immigrated to Madrid and she began to sing in a café-concert. Anita and Maharajah met in this café when he travelled to Madrid to attend the wedding of King Alfonso the thirteenth (13th) and Maharajah fell in love with her. But she rejected him and Maharajah le ft Spain. Anita’s friends convinced her to respond to his letters and Anita did so. Finally they got married and Anita moved to India.

Yo me voy todas las tardes A merendar al hotel ritz Y tras el té suelo hacer mil locuras con un galán que está loco por mí. Juntos a bailar salimos, nos enlazamos con pasión y al final tengo yo que decirle toda llena de miedo y rubor: ¡Ay, por favor, No me baile usté así, Ay, no por dios, Que me siento morir. Tenga usté en cuenta que mira mamá Y si se fija nos va a regañar. ¡Ay, suélteme No me oprima usted más, Pues le diré si me quiere asustar Que soy cardíaca y por esta razón No debo llevarme Ningún sofocón. Las mamás cotorreando Toman el té sin advertir Que en el salón Al bailar las parejas Hablan de amor con atroz frenesí A las tres o cuatro danzas Suele crecer nuestra ilusión Y al final tengo yo que decirle Rebosante de satisfacción: ¡Ay yo no sé Lo que pasa por mí! Pero ya ve Que me siento feliz Siga bailando aunque mire mamá Que si se irrita ya se calmará Ay qué placer Es bailar un fox trot Con un doncel Que nos hable de amor Aunque cien años llegase a vivir Yo no olvidaría Las tardes del ritz.

Every day there’s a tea party at the hall of hotel Ritz, and after tea I get bad and mischievious with a gentleman crazy for me. We go out to dance together, full of passion we’ll embrace, and at the end I have to tell him trembling with a flushing face: Oh, please, dear sir don’t be dancing like that. Oh, no, my gosh, for I fear I will die. Don’cha see my mom’s looking at us and if she spots us she’s gonna be mad. Please let me go, please don’t press me against you, or I will shout if you give me a spook. Because you know that my heart’s very weak, and for that reason I must have no grief. The moms in their endless chatter are having tea and they won’t see that while they dance in the hall, every couple will talk about love endlessly. After having three or four dances our excitement grows and grows, and in the end I have to tell him with a cheerful and bright glow: Oh, I don’t know what has happened to me, but as you see I’m as happy as can be. Please let’s keep dancing though mama gets mad, if now she’s angry she’ll later be calm. Oh, what a joy is to dance a Fox Trot with a young lad who speaks about love. If for a century I got to live I’d never forget the afternoons at the Ritz.

In café-concerts the combination of cuplé singers and flamenco singers gave birth to a new style, the Andalusian copla. One of the first singers was Raquel Meller. She was a cuplé singer at the beginning, but later she evolved into Andalusian copla.

Los militares y los paisanos Llevan mi nombre como bandera Y dicen todos los gaditanos Lola, lolita, la piconera. Desde puerta tierra, Al barrio la viña, Señores, qué guerra, ¡ay lola, lolita!, Que forma esta niña, que forma esta niña. Dónde va tan bonita, lola lolita la piconera, Que a la vez que va andando, va derramando la primavera A cantar en un tablao Las espinas de un queré Que en la boca l’ha dejao La amargura de la jié… Con que ¡viva andalusia! ¡Y la pena que se muera! Y esa copla tan sentía Que canta lola… ¡lola, lolita la piconera! A los que sufren el mal de amores Sin sé ni bruja ni curandera, Los pone güenos de sus dolores Lola, lolita la piconera. Pues tengo yo un cante Pa’ los amoríos Que cura al amante, ¡ay, lola, lolita!, De pena y olvío, de pena y olvío. Dónde va tan bonita, Lola lolita la piconera, Que a la ves que va andando, va derramando la primavera A cantar en un tablao Las espinas de un queré Que en la boca l’ha dejao La amargura de la jié… Con que ¡viva andalusia! ¡Y la pena que se muera! Y esa copla tan sentía Que canta lola… ¡lola, lolita la piconera!

All men in Cádiz adore a woman for all the joy that she’s always bringing. Soldier or not, everyone likes singing Lola, Lolita , la piconera. From Puerta Tierra, to Barrio la Viña, sirs , what a commotion, ay Lola, Lolita! When she fills the streets with love and emotion. Where are you going so pretty, Lola Lolita la piconera, when you see her strolling, you’ve got to love her, spring comes rolling. She will sing in a tablao about anguish caused by love, a bitterness in her mouth left by pains from long ago. And long live Andalusia! Forget the pain and the sorrow. Let’s sing today and tomorrow with all our feeling and passion, the same as Lola... Lola, Lolita la piconera! If your heart’s broken, she’s just the person who’ll cure your bleakness and make you happy. No need for doctors, no need for magic, just Lola, Lolita la piconera! For I’ve got a copla that mends every sadness and heals any sorrow, ay, Lola, Lolita!, no matter its badness, no matter its badness! Where are you going so pretty, Lola Lolita la piconera, when you see her strolling, you’ve got to love her, s pring comes rolling. She will sing in a tablao about anguish caused by love, a bitterness in her mouth left by pains from long ago. And long live Andalusia!, Forget the pain and the sorrow. Let’s sing today and tomorrow with all our feeling and passion, the same as Lola... Lola, Lolita la piconera!

Pilar Lirio Hispasong CEO hispasong@gmail.com