Spain through flamenco song - Me Llaman Curro Frijone

flameco song Jul 22, 2022
 

Have you wondered what flamenco songs are about? I find songs a great way to get to know the culture of Spain and flamenco.

 

Here's a letra that inspires me today from my project on MAESTROS Flamenco online courses. I've been editing some videos and hearing this Bulerías por Soleá letra over and over again:

Me llaman Curro Frijone

Yo no me caso en la vía

Por no tené obligacione

 

My name is Curro Frijone

I'll not marry in life

So I won't have obligations

 

Here's a transcript of video

This was a letra that was curious to me because it mentions a personality. 
 
I didn't know who Curro Frijone was so I went to check it out and apparently he was a gypsy born in Jerez. He had  a strong personality and there are anecdotes about his life that then went into his letras. 
 
What I found a bit amusing with this letra is that he sang: 'I'm not going to get married to a particular person, apparently that was the original letra. He does mention a particular person that he will not marry and it also probably tells you about his free-spirited nature too. 
 
So I think letras can be interesting. Even though we don't know the complete story, you can imagine certain personalities. 
 
And also what I read about that was interesting in Jerez -  sometimes they say how well a singer has 'said' the song ('Que bien a dicho el cante) instead of how well he has 'sung' the cante, because some letras or some songs have a narrative. A strong narrative to that and so it's like telling a story. 
 
That then makes me remember what Manuel Soto says in our online classes. 
 
He tells us: "Imagine a story,  imagine you're saying something, imagine you're sharing something with someone. 
 
So I think that's a useful way for us to get away from being fixated on how to sing it correctly and instead to think about the emotion and what you are storytelling.
 
 

Some Reflections

For most of us dancers, dance would have been the initial 'tip of the iceberg' we are attracted to.

And over time, in the later part of my learning, I started to appreciated how flamenco dance is so related to cante too, and even more so when I started the MAESTROS Flamenco with my artists, Manuel Betanzos, Manuel Soto and Javier Ibáñez.

Our dance is an interaction with the cante as well as guitarra. The trinity of baile, cante, guitarra then broadens or deepens our flamenco understanding.

 

Flamenco as a way of Life

Some of us might have come across the notion that 'Flamenco is a way of Life'. 

This may be an abstract for those of us who have only had an initial encounter of flamenco as dance choreography.

I ponder how I can share with my students as to how they can explore this notion, should they be curious about this. 

I think it's tied also to:

How do we embrace art (dance, song and music) as part of our lives, as a natural expression? Not something we switch on in class, and off as we step out. Not something that we do for a certificate or exam, or just because there is a show.

One aspect that greatly attracts some of us to Spain is the emotion and expression of its people and culture - unreserved and vibrant (generally speaking, and perhaps when thinking of Southern Spain).

Flamenco, and my work with Flamenco, is a creative and expressive way for me to explore my Life.

But I digress...

So back to Spain through flamenco songs.

Well, you can get to know the outlook of the singer through what he is singing (ie, expressing), what his 'Flamenco as a way of life is', outlook, emotions - sufferings and joys, commentary on society.

How does that relate to us, in a different time or different culture or society?

Perhaps it makes us reflect perhaps consciously or sub-consciously on our society, leading to a personal outlook or choices in life, in the way that flamenco is about finding personal expression.

 

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