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Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure!   You are logged in as Guest
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IraqiOud

Posts: 41
Joined: Apr. 3 2016
From: Iraq, Living in North Carolina

Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! 

Okay so I'm fairly new to Flamenco in general I took few online lessons with Ricardo before, and it was a great starter which I enjoyed much but unfortunately I just couldn't continue due to work circumstances so now that time allows I'm back to practicing for a few weeks just to grasp some basics before booking some more skype lessons since in person lessons are not an option here in North Carolina where I live.

So what I wanted to talk about is in regards to the cante part of Flamenco. For some reason I just don't seem to be able to accept the concept of learning something I don't understand, and since I don't speak Spanish I just can't get myself engaged into the singing part as much as the solo part. By that I mean not only learning how to accompany singers, but also to actually enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoy listening to solo guitar.

Is that something common among non Spanish speakers? I come from the middle east originally and I play the Oud and cante is extremely similar to what we call in Arabic music the "Mawwal" which is often accompanied by the Oud which I'm sure had its influence on cante as well as other aspects of Flamenco which has lots of similarities to middle eastern music and particularly Iraqi music. Now despite all these similarities, the idea of not understating the actual letras makes me unable to get myself engaged as much as I would like to. Maybe it's just because I'm still in the beginning of the journey and cante is a more mature concept just like Mawwal is in Arabic music which many non-Arab listeners find disturbing to their ears while it could easily bring tears to the eyes of an Arab listener... that's why I would like to hear your opinion.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 7:15:54
 
estebanana

Posts: 9308
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

For non native Spanish speakers, solo guitar is the usual gateway drug to cante.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 8:01:23
 
orsonw

Posts: 1927
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

quote:

So what I wanted to talk about is in regards to the cante part of Flamenco. For some reason I just don't seem to be able to accept the concept of learning something I don't understand, and since I don't speak Spanish I just can't get myself engaged into the singing part as much as the solo part. By that I mean not only learning how to accompany singers, but also to actually enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoy listening to solo guitar.


My first experience of flamenco was hearing a recording of a solea cante that really moved me. So I know the voice and guitar engaged me emotionally without understanding anything about flamenco or understanding the words. But I have found that cante is something I have grown to appreciate further the more I have explored it.

If you just enjoy the guitar that's fine, later you may or may not want to get deeper into flamenco and that has to involve cante. Flamenco is an art to be enjoyed, if it moves one. But we're not at school it's not compulsory to like cante.

Even native Andalusian aficionados can't always make out the words in a performance. And of course the 'Ays', which can have great impact are just noise. But if it's just language stopping you try these threads, there are translations:

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=290314&mpage=1&p=&tmode=1&smode=1&key=

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=98835&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=cante%2Cappreciation&tmode=&smode=&s=#98835

Or if there is some cante that you like, post it on the foro, others here may be able to find the letra and translate it for you. Like this thread:

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=267652&mpage=1&p=&tmode=1&smode=1&key=quarter
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 9:07:04
 
Piwin

Posts: 3536
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

I had something of a similar experience, though it was not so much that I didn't enjoy the cante, rather I found it frustrating not to understand any of it.
I've since learned Spanish, at least enough for this not to be too much of a problem anymore but I still deal with the same thing in other forms of music (I enjoy quite a bit of qawwali music but don't understand a word...). What I do with qawwali is research at the very least the "theme" of the type of song I'm listening to, it at least gives me the impression that I'm somehow understanding some of it (which should also work pretty well in flamenco since each palos has recurring themes). Short of having the time to learn Spanish, orsonw's suggestion is the best way to go IMO (looking or asking for translations).
This is assuming that language is the actual barrier here (are you sure it's not the type of singing you find hard to engage with? or even just specific singers? there are several "famous" cantaores out there that do absolutely nothing for me, just a matter of personal preference)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 10:26:00
 
DavRom

 

Posts: 310
Joined: Jul. 16 2015
From: De camino a Sevilla

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

i'm fluent in Spanish and i often don't understand the words, especially when the ending vowels get twisted into unrecognizable shapes. Same happens with English singers

as with any other genre, i don't like all singers just cuz it's cante. everyone has their faves in flamenco too. i also freely admit that there are one or two well known cantaores i can't stand listening to at all

so i suggest you find a couple of singers you like purely for the sound of their voice and go from there
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 10:45:50
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

I also speak Spanish fairly well and have a tough time understanding the letras but for me at least it's a lot less about what's being said and much more how they are saying it. I listen to tons of Fados music and don't understand that either. I just don't feel like the actual words are necessary for enjoying something, just getting the feeling of it is good enough. In fact I've had a few instances where I really like something, look up the words and think "hmm, kinda weird lyrics.". But it's fine, it's all about the feeling and the meaning not so much.

That being said, yes, I did not like cante when I started, not exactly sure how it happened, a trip to Spain helped but now I hardly listen to solo guitar. I just want more cante in my ears. Like Davrom said, keep exploring, find someone's voice you like and latch on. I actually liked Camaron the least when I started and now I'm kind of obsessed with him. Your tastes will change, just keep listening.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 11:33:45
 
Piwin

Posts: 3536
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to Leñador

quote:

In fact I've had a few instances where I really like something, look up the words and think "hmm, kinda weird lyrics."


Like this song by el Capullo


I don't like bread
I don't like cheese
But I do like your kisses

....
Still trying to figure that one out!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 12:01:13
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

Yeah! Who doesn't like bread and cheese?????

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 12:28:43
 
Piwin

Posts: 3536
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to Leñador

I know right. It's like he had a bad breakup because of it.
-If you really love me, you'll give up bread and cheese!
-Neveeerrrrrrrrr!!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 12:55:31
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to Piwin

yes , its difficult to translate songs cos the point is missing and it just sounds wierd later ..
i think this song probably came from an old phrase about Pan y Queso ..

if you keep listening it might even get weirder when he is looking for her hairdresser
Me lo ha dicho una gitana....donde vive el peluquero....,donde vive el peluquero..etc ...
where the hairdresser lives ....

and the la niña de los lunares, will be the flamenco dress , with the big spots on that she wears ... I guess ..

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 13:48:59
 
Piwin

Posts: 3536
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to El Kiko

To be fair though, everytime I've seen el Capullo, I have a hard time listening to what he's singing about. His face is just so mesmerizing...How his eyes haven't fallen out of their sockets yet...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 14:07:31
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

Many non andalusian Spanish dont understand the letras very well if they dont read them. My late wife´s family that was from Segovia had a hard time understanding some people here in Beas where she lived..... And they werent singing

A gateway to cante has often been Camaron and Paco de Lucía. The quality is extremely high from both of them and it kind of has a very strong feeling. IMHO, it also where paco played the best in all his carreer. (I wrote IMHO, so dont kill me).

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 15:14:17
 
Piwin

Posts: 3536
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

(I wrote IMHO, so dont kill me).

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 15:20:17
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

quote:

A gateway to cante has often been Camaron and Paco de Lucía. The quality is extremely high from both of them and it kind of has a very strong feeling. IMHO, it also where paco played the best in all his carreer. (I wrote IMHO, so dont kill me).

I say the same for Tomatito IMHO. It makes my buddy insane when I say it. It's just my opinion, he was best with Camaron.
Weirdly I had to go in a big circle to get to Camaron. I thought his voice was too high and screechy. El Turronero was the first cantaor I liked, through him I made steps to others. Now I can't even imagine how my ears were hearing Camaron before, a lot of times he's just on repeat at my house. Even my lady says "I like Camaron but maybe something else sometimes?".

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 15:21:45
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1805
Joined: Nov. 13 2007
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to Piwin

quote:


I don't like bread
I don't like cheese
But I do like your kisses


Berk! Modern cheese!

My intro to cante was through the the series of discs called Grands Cantaores du Flamenco. One of the first I got into was Carmen Amaya which gives a very light introduction. But then I discovered the Terremoto, Mairena, Agujetas and La Perla discs of the series and the world changed (once I got over the initial culture shock - which is a bit like your first drag on a cigarette).

Never understood a word of it without studying the letras in detail, but I like it that way If there's an emotional reaction in me to a piece of cante then in my book it's good, if not then today it didn't do it but perhaps on a different day it could.

I think it was Moraito Chico that compared the cante of the Agujetas family to whisky. That's a pretty apt description of cante in general. If you've ever travelled around Scotland you'll realise there are a stack of different malt whiskies, all with their own characters. First taste might not get you hooked - but after a while.... Then again, some people just prefer Jack and Coke.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 16:45:49
 
Jim Kirby

 

Posts: 149
Joined: Jul. 14 2011
From: Newark, DE, USA

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to estebanana

Solo was certainly the gateway for me. I speak little Spanish and almost never catch any of what is going on in the letras, but nevertheless, flamenco doesn't sound right to me now if there is no cante. I almost never listen to a CD a second time if there is no singing at all.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 17:05:19
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14607
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

As a kid I loved singing and jumping on my bed. Later when I got into serious guitar music, I really disliked rock and pop singing. I dove deep into the world of instrumental music, including jazz and classical. For a LOOOONG time that was my feeling. Then I rediscovered singing via the Beatles and others. I got into flamenco at that same time, so I was both into very deep cerebral long instrumental pieces, AND discovering cante, got the point of it right away (musically) and though I didn't understand lyrics, was already solidifying my tastes in singers styles. Not much has changed since then, just my deeper understanding, and in regards to cante I must admit I gravitate to the older singers since a long time now. Rito y Geografia is an excellent source for learning more about it all.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2016 17:23:14
 
dapperdan

Posts: 20
Joined: Mar. 27 2012
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

My friend learned spanish in manchester hee in the UK.

He now lives in cjile ans has a VERY beautiful girlfriend.

I sendt him a link of jesus mendez ans manuel valancia performing bulerias, and he has no idea what they are saying.

he says its like garbled spanish. he doesnt know the accent. if anybody could translate, they may be a beer in it for you....



even just a letra or two.

Cheers, Dan.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2016 0:17:08
 
IraqiOud

Posts: 41
Joined: Apr. 3 2016
From: Iraq, Living in North Carolina

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

I think the issue with me is that I'm actually trying to learn Flamenco rather than just listen that's why I'm acting more like a perfectionist here trying to grasp every detail which is quite unrealistic.. Because I noticed that I don't have the same problem listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or other Qawwali singers who take me to a different place when I listen to their songs without understanding a single word. I will for sure start exploring the names mentioned here and try to simply just enjoy it before attempting to analyze it since I'm definitely not at that level yet.

Also I noticed Estebanana's thread "All the Solea" and it seems like it came just in time as the information shared there gave me a better idea about Solea and Cante in general.

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Ali
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2016 3:15:27
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

If you keep listening your ears will change, guaranteed.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2016 4:56:48
 
rob2966

 

Posts: 19
Joined: Dec. 7 2015
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

I tend to be the opposite. Most of the time when I go online (or wherever) and find the actual words (and translations) it seems to "deflate" the power of the original performance. Often the lyrics (as read) don't carry the same "weight" as the performance might indicate. That is also very true of opera. It often sounds very majestic when beautifully sung in italian (which I do not speak at all) but when you see the english translation my first thought is "those lyrics are pretty cheezy" :).

Anyway, my 2c
Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2016 22:41:44
 
IraqiOud

Posts: 41
Joined: Apr. 3 2016
From: Iraq, Living in North Carolina

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

I totally agree with you Rob, I love indian music for instance but when I read translations of songs I like I feel it's like you said "cheezy" too... The thing is lyrics is in most of the time a product of not just literal meaning of the words but rather the actual culture and these pictures depicted in the lyrics have its roots and connections to the culture, the history, the tradition and many other factors that give deeper and a different meaning to the actual words so when it's translated word for word it looses all these ties and connections to culture and tradition and we are merely getting the literal word for word meaning which is in most cases empty.

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Ali
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 6 2016 0:54:06
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

This is true, and sometimes it really is just cheese.
Flamenco much less but Spanish and a lot of Latin American cultures loooove cheezy ****!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 6 2016 2:15:40
 
estebanana

Posts: 9308
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

You think the lyrics of Led Zep, Foreigner, Garth Brooks or most Blue Grass
is high literature?

Many letras are in older forms of colloquial Spanish, they might not be said that way today, but they a context and this is usually rooted in Andaluz culture. So when you pick up on cultural markers or go to Spain and get into the head space of the South, you begin to see why the poetry of the letras works.

Letras are are not usually narratives, usually they are poetry fragments sewn together by the singer for an effect of mood rather than saying something specific. Listening to letras or reading them is like looking through an album of snap shots the singer wants you to see. Some paint landscapes, and other tell of personal stories, others about the character of people in a certain town, etc. It's poetry and in the day it came from, some letras are very old, they may have double meanings, letras can stand as metaphors. They are generally "curated" or selected in real time by the singer according to how the mood of the letra suits them in the moment. That selection and delivery is part of how a performance effects listeners emotionally if they are catching words.

Some singers are also more clear than others, if you have trouble understanding the Spanish or the letra due to the tongue twisting and syllable stretching games often a good entry point into hearing more is Antonio Maireina. Macanita is not too crazy to understand either, many good singers who are on the more clear side.

Letras are older idiomatic poetry forms, non narrative, that present small pictures or ideas and singers weave them together. They are not as corny as a lot of opera, because opera travels a lineal path of narrative and letras are grouped more abstractly and don not have to be related by story line.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 6 2016 4:30:01
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to IraqiOud

quote:

You think the lyrics of Led Zep, Foreigner, Garth Brooks or most Blue Grass
is high literature?

Nope! lol I know it's a lot of wackiness.
That's why I tried to pull flamenco out of that category. Letras are a lot less cheese, really no cheese. Just specific, sometimes they're hard to relate to because they're specific but I much prefer specific to cheesy. But really, I listen to a lot of cheesy, fados, norteño im not no stranger to cheese. Lol

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 6 2016 6:19:12
 
Morante

 

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RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to Leñador

http://canteytoque.es/letrastodas.htm

Letras flamencas son preciosas.

Reloj de arena es tu cuerpo
Te abrazo por la cintura
Pa´que se detenga el tiempo

Cuando paso y no me miras
el corazón por la boca
se me sale de fatiga
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 6 2016 15:01:35
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1805
Joined: Nov. 13 2007
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to Morante

Same site, but slightly easier to navigate via this page...
http://canteytoque.es/letras.html

tomaflamenco has a pretty good collection too
http://tomaflamenco.com/en/search

and this site is cool because the letras often accompany sound files or youtube videos, for example...
http://www.letrasdeflamenco.com/2009/04/estrella-morente-ea.html
or
http://www.letrasdeflamenco.com/search/label/terremoto%20de%20jerez

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 7 2016 0:28:29
 
Nito

Posts: 77
Joined: Sep. 3 2015
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to Dudnote

If you were the lumpen of Spain, and therefore of Europe...what kind of lyric would you sing?
Pain, hungry, love...

Don't try to find 'high culture' on flamenco lyrics.

I was on the same situation when I translated some rock lyrics....in some case it was a decepcion.

@Dan; here is the lyrics

contigo merecia
contigo merecia
la gitana que al gitano
le niega los buenos dias
nada mas que al gitano
le niega los buenos dias


Y a los montes de Armenia
yo me quiero ir
moritas ni cristanos
que sepan ná (nada) de ti
viva tu pare (padre)
viva tu mare (madre)
que vivan las rositas de los rosales

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 8 2016 16:33:15
 
JasonM

Posts: 2036
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to Nito

http://youtu.be/g7LHpzdb35Q

Anyone know the words to the second 2nd/3rd letras Vicente sings? Before he modulates to A?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 8 2016 16:47:22
 
Nito

Posts: 77
Joined: Sep. 3 2015
 

RE: Solo, yes... Cante, not so sure! (in reply to JasonM

Jason....

la sombra de mi dolor
la sombra de mi dolor
se refleja en tu corazon
yo no queria
que tu sufrieras
pero el destino
asi lo (marcó)

(could be...)
pero tu amor
se sirvio tu consuelo
y dejame vivr
ya que no me tienes
por un momento
es todo lo que quiero




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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 8 2016 18:16:38
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