Spanish Guitar Music

This essay is at best only a fragment of the enormous topic of “Spanish Guitar Music.” I wrote it for the benefit of two music college students: “Mister Iceland,” a guitarist, and Ella García, a classically trained soprano who is also a student of song-writing and arranging. This is not a scholarly article, just my own thoughts about music I have heard and enjoyed. First, I will describe a few of what I consider to be the essential pieces and forms of the Spanish guitar repertoire, then I will describe a modern American composition that I see as having many features of classical Spanish guitar music. I refer to examples posted on YouTube as music videos. Enjoy.

Romance de Amor – Vicente Gómez
https://youtu.be/rf3MLp98J_c

“Romance de Amor” is anonymous, and the best known Spanish guitar piece. Vincente Gómez added a slower intermediate section (or, an introduction), making for a better piece. The sheet music for this piece is in his book of 14 guitar pieces, “Vincente Gómez Guitar Album,” published by Belwin Mills Publishing Company (Melville, NY), 1980. A number of the pieces in Gómez’s book have a flamenco sound, all are pure Spanish and very good. I highly recommend this book to any serious student of the guitar, especially any student of classical guitar music and playing technique.

Leyenda (“Asturias”) by Isaac Albéniz – Andrés Segovia
https://youtu.be/lCeebWgjrrU

Segovia is the founder of modern classical guitar. He made many transcriptions of Baroque and Classical pieces for the guitar. He used to say that J. S. Bach really “intended” his pieces for guitar; Segovia’s way of saying the guitar was a natural instrument for contrapuntal music. “Asturias,” by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) was originally written for the piano. Asturias is a province on the north coast of Spain (where my paternal grandfather came from), and this piece, “Leyenda” (Legend), was one of a number of pieces in Albéniz’s piano suite evoking the different regions/provinces of Spain.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra, played by Andrés Segovia
https://youtu.be/sdaPoUNk5R8

“Recuerdos de la Alhambra” (Memories of the Alhambra), by Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909), is my favorite Spanish guitar piece. Tárrega was 44 years old when he wrote Recuerdos de la Alhambra in 1896, 3 years after Andrés Segovia (1893-1987) was born. Tárrega was a master guitarist and composer who (like Segovia later) elevated guitar music and guitar playing to a sophisticated and refined “classical music” form of art. To many in the 19th century, guitar music was considered only peasant and street music. Francisco Tárrega, Fernando Sor (1778-1839), and perhaps a few others championed the guitar as an instrument of refined art, and Segovia carried on that effort after Tárrega.

Flamenco – Manitas de Plata (1955?)
https://youtu.be/TtRPIdfLlTA

Manitas de Plata (1921-2014) (Little Hands of Silver) was a Roma (“Gypsy”) flamenco guitarist born in Southern France. This video of his first TV appearance shows him before his subsequent international fame and pop-star status. This short video (which has too long a gap of silence at the start) shows several flamenco guitar techniques: four-sequential-finger strums, arpeggios, and drumming by tapping the guitar top. It is evident that Manitas de Plata had great facility and a fluid style of playing. This guitar music is improvisational within a variety of general forms, some “fast” and some “slow.” On one occasion in 1964, Pablo Picasso heard him play and afterwards took Manitas de Plata’s guitar and drew pictures of a picador on it (raising the value of that guitar considerably!). I noticed that there are no pictures on Manitas de Plata’s guitar in the video linked above, but there are on the video linked below.

Manitas de Plata (on TV), 1967
https://youtu.be/JgXAffJs_fU

Manitas de Plata (born Ricardo Baliardo) was a phenomenon on the Riviera, and he gained worldwide fame with the release of his 1963 recordings in Arles, France, produced by the Phillips label and distributed in America in 1967 by the Connoisseur Society (of New York). These recordings preserve the sound of authentic flamenco musical performances (“unplugged”) as had been heard for centuries, before the advent of elaborate studio electronics and recording professionalism. The Connoisseur Society double album of Manitas de Plata’s live open-air recordings included selections with vocals, the canto hondo (deep song) of flamenco music. Here is one example of these Manitas de Plata sessions.

Manitas de Plata, 1963: Malagueñas Flamencas – Recorded at Arles, France, October 1963
https://youtu.be/QKrmbrnvgXM

La Verbena de la Paloma – En Chiclana me crié
https://youtu.be/U7JaUH8uxDg

This video (just above) has no guitar, but the piano music heard at the beginning could easily have been performed by a guitarist in real life. This scene is from a 1960s Spanish movie of one of the most famous and popular Zarzuelas (Spanish operettas), La Verbena de la Paloma (a feast day for the Virgin Mary, which is also an occasion for festivals). This scene evokes the type of gathering, with music (usually guitar), dancing, singing, and food and wine, that was “of the people,” that is to say popular, not theatrical (in real life). This scene is set in the 19th century, and shows how most people of the time – who were workers and peasants, not wealthy, nor city sophisticates – actually made and enjoyed music.

The woman lead performer singer and dancer (Concha Velasco) is playing an unmarried and very popular young woman who is pursued by a handsome, young and poor man, and also by an old druggist (apothecary) with “plata” (silver = money); and she sort of plays one against the other (a conflict of: love in poverty versus amicable loveless security).

Her song “En Chiclana me críe” (I Was Raised in Chiclana) is about her pride of being from her native village and region (near the ancient city of Cádiz). This song has the intensity of flamenco song but without the roughness of pure street flamenco; it is more polished here as a musical theater/operetta song. Much of flamenco and Spanish-style guitar music originates from this type of popular entertainment. The rough equivalent today would be acoustic guitar music with a beat that could simultaneously be sung to and danced with. The young ladies (and the hapless man-hero) in the video have operatic voices, while the old folks are invariably vocal music comics, who are always included in Zarzuelas, which were from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Fernando Sor (1778-1839) – Seguidillas
https://youtu.be/QGrtstwp8Qk

This video shows the performance of three seguidillas by Fernando Sor (1778-1839), who was 22 years younger than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). The performance duo are one guitarist and one soprano who, in this case, were students at the San Francisco Conservatory in 2017. This is genteel music of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, yet it still “moves” as you can easily hear in the guitar accompaniment. Segovia played and championed the music of Sor as part of his promotion of “classical” guitar. The major progression of such well-known classical guitar players/champions being (from the 18th to 20th centuries) Sor, Tárrega, and Segovia.

Infinitesimal – Perfect Aquarium
https://youtu.be/pruWXs6ckak

To my mind, the 2015 American song composition, “Infinitesimal,” is a modern version of seguidillas. Liam Hardison (the Spanish-style guitar player) uses numerous features of Spanish guitar music, and techniques of Spanish guitar playing: flamenco strums, classical style arpeggios, and the counterpoint of a thumb-played bass-line accompanying the four-finger plucking of a treble line with arpeggios and tremolo.

The vocals on Infinitesimal are in a classical (Bel Canto/operatic) style, but with also a small hint of canto hondo, the flamenco “deep song” vocalization style that originally came from the Moorish-Arabic influence on Spain during the 8th to 15th centuries, of long unbroken lines of melismatic chants, which in flamenco are sung extremely emotionally, roughly and horsely, something like melodic primal scream.

What is not included in this particular recording of Infinitesimal is the guitar-drumming that is typical of flamenco, and is also used in Cuban country-style guitar playing (used to great effect by Rafael Cueto of the Trio Matamoros – described elsewhere on my blog). Another excellent feature on this recording of Infinitesimal is the percussion, which adds an exotic flavor that I think of as a mix of Arabic-Moorish and African spicing to a Spanish musical broth.

I don’t know if the young people who composed and performed Infinitesimal knew of the Spanish forms and influences I have mentioned here, but there is no question in my mind that Liam was throwing in all the idioms of Spanish classical guitar music that he had learned in his musical education up to that point. This song is the only one of its kind on the album, “Perfect Aquarium,” which is otherwise a contemporary Art-Rock album. So, I think Infinitesimal is a modern accidental seguidillas, a composition formulated by osmosis from what the band members had heard and played during their prior schooling, and not as a product of their intentional musicological research.

Also, I think Infinitesimal is very good in every way.

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About Perfect Aquarium:

“Perfect Aquarium” album (9 songs) released on September 3, 2015
https://perfectaquarium.bandcamp.com/album/perfect-aquarium

Perfect Aquarium (the band):

Liam Bernard: Lead & Classical Guitar
Ben Saldich: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Isaac Roth: Bass, Vocals
Frank Klopotowski: Drums, Vocals

Vocals on “Infinitesimal” by Ella Garcia

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Maybe “Mister Iceland” and Ella will come up with their own seguidillas, as music for our time.

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ALSO:

27 January 2018 is the 262nd birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the most sublime personifications of the voice of the Universe, and a gift from it to the Ages.

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Noche Cubana — Español-English

Noche Cubana is a bolero (ballad) composed by César Portillo de la Luz (La Habana, 31 octubre 1922 / 4 mayo 2013).

The recording cited below is of Omara Portuondo singing Noche Cubana in 1958, on her debut recording as a soloist. There is an extensive essay (in Spanish) on the music of César Portillo de la Luz and on this particular song and recording, at the YouTube site for Noche Cubana.

The lyrics of Noche Cubana are presented here, first in Spanish, then my poetic translation of them into English, and finally a word-for-word literal translation of the Spanish lyrics.

In my poetic translation, I have tried to suggest the lush elegance of the Spanish lyrics but I have made no effort to match the line-by-line syllable count, nor the rhyming pattern of the original. A “singable” English version of Noche Cubana is left to future work (if ever).

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Noche Cubana
César Portillo de la Luz (La Habana, 31 octubre 1922 / 4 mayo 2013)

Noche cubana
Morena bonita de alma sensual
Con tu sonrisa de luna y ojos de estrellas.

Voz de susurro de frondas y arrullo de mar
Besas con brisas y tu abrazo es calor tropical
Noche criolla quien junto a ti no, no quisiera soñar
Quien no la luz de tu dulce sonrisa no quiere besar?
Negra bonita de ojos de estrellas
En tus brazos morenos quiere vivir un romance mi alma bohemia.

Voz de susurro de frondas y arrullo de mar
Besas con brisas y tu abrazo es calor tropical
Noche criolla quien junto a ti no quisiera soñar?
Quien a la luz de tu dulce sonrisa no quiere besar?
Negra bonita de ojos de estrellas
En tus brazos morenos quiere vivir un romance mi alma bohemia.

Noche cubana
Noche cubana
Noche cubana

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Cuban Night (César Portillo de la Luz)

Oh, Cuban night
You lovely dark girl of sensual soul,
With the moon as your smile, and your eyes made of stars.

Your voice is the whisper of palms and the sea’s lullaby,
Your kisses are breezes, and the tropical heat your embrace.
Oh, Creole night, who could be next to you and not wish to dream?
Who would not want to be able to kiss your sweet shining smile?
Beautiful black girl with eyes made of stars
In your dark arms my bohemian soul wants to live a romance.

Your voice is the whisper of palms and the sea’s lullaby,
Your kisses are breezes, and the tropical heat your embrace.
Oh, Creole night, who could be next to you and not wish to dream?
Who would not want to be able to kiss your sweet shining smile?
Beautiful black girl with eyes made of stars
In your dark arms my bohemian soul wants to live a romance.

Oh, Cuban night,
Cuban night,
Cuban night.

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Omara Portuondo – Noche cubana (canción) César Portillo de la Luz
https://youtu.be/frgbtk8mOhM

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LITERAL

Noche Cubana (César Portillo de la Luz)
[night cuban]

Noche cubana
[night cuban]
Morena bonita de alma sensual
[brunette/brown pretty of soul sensual]
Con tu sonrisa de luna y ojos de estrellas.
[with your smile of moon and eyes of stars]

Voz de susurro de frondas y arrullo de mar
[voice of whisper of fronds(palm fronds) and lullaby of sea]
Besas con brisas y tu abrazo es calor tropical
[you-kiss with/as breezes and your embrace is heat tropical]
Noche criolla quien junto a ti no, no quisiera soñar
[night creole who next/together to you no, no would-want dream]
Quien no la luz de tu dulce sonrisa no quiere besar?
[who no the light of your sweet smile no want kiss]
Negra bonita de ojos de estrellas
[black(female) pretty of eyes of stars]
En tus brazos morenos quiere vivir un romance mi alma bohemia.
[in your arms brown/dark wants to-live a romance my soul bohemian]

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Night Sky In Cuba
(another poetic translation of Noche Cubana)

Night sky in Cuba,
A black woman beauty of sensual soul
With a smile made of moon rays and eyes made of twinkling stars.

Your voice is the whisper of fronds in sway, and murmurs by the sea,
Your kisses are breezes, and tropical heat your embrace.
Creole night please stay, who could be with you and not want dreams to see?
Who could receive your sparkling sweet smile and not want kisses to be?
Black woman beauty with star shining eyes,
In the arms of your darkness my bohemian soul seeks to live out a romance.

Your voice is the whisper of fronds in sway, and murmurs by the sea,
Your kisses are breezes, and tropical heat your embrace.
Creole night please stay, who could be with you and not want dreams to see?
Who could receive your sparkling sweet smile and not want kisses to be?
Black woman beauty with star shining eyes,
In the arms of your darkness my bohemian soul seeks to live out a romance.

Night sky in Cuba,
dark warmth after day
light from far away.

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I Am Puerto Rico, So Are You

I Am Puerto Rico, So Are You
26 September 2017

The island of Puerto Rico has been destroyed by Hurricane Maria, and remains in ruins and with little outside assistance for about a weak now. What should be done?

The U.S. could (if it wanted to) send an aircraft carrier (or two or three) to Puerto Rico, and use its nuclear reactor as a power source for basic needs in San Juan (where it would most likely dock). It could offload mobile hospital units (MASH) and truck and/or helicopter such units to more remote locations; such units would include gasoline/diesel generators. Additionally, there are Marine units designed to set up helicopter landing zones and other forward bases (as in Vietnam), which today include the ability to set up some solar power systems (for very local electric power), as well as drone systems (for reconnaissance) to search for and locate places/people most in need of help. The US military also has hospital ships (as in Vietnam, during the US war), that could treat the most seriously injured, transported (by helicopter) from “the field.” The U.S. military, as well as the oil companies, have tankers that can bring in needed fuel (oil, gasoline). The US Corps of Engineers (basically the Army construction industry) can have units dispersed throughout the Island, to clear debris, repair and open up roads, and repair power lines. The combat engineers of the U.S. military (with the Navy, the famous Seabees) can also make amphibious landings and create temporary airfields and clear debris (they are intended to go into landing zones before the troops and clear mines and obstructions against amphibious assault).

One use of remote solar collector-to-electric power systems would be to power cell phone towers, and provide local cell-phone charging power outlets, so people isolated in the wrecked hinterlands can at least communicate, for both family/personal matters as well as financial matters. Establishing housing locations in sanitary conditions, with clean water and safe food available – “refugee camps” – can and should be established ASAP by combinations of the resources/forces I have mentioned. Basically, what is needed is the network of extended support services needed by US troops in a war zone – again, as in Vietnam during the US war there – only this time those being supported are Puerto Rico’s people, the victims of Hurricane Maria.

Had I been US President this would have been called into action as soon as Hurricane Maria’s winds had died down to below 60 mph at each locality on the Island. What we have now is that 6-7 days after the passing of the Mega-Weedwacker of Hurricane Maria, Trump has been prodded to make a speech – mainly to moan about the fact that bankrupt Puerto Rico “owes” billions to the vulture capitalists on Wall Street.

In my view, the abject failure to safeguard, or at least speed the rescue, of Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans during the administration of George W. Bush, and now particularly the case of Hurricane Maria devastation in Puerto Rico during the Trump Administration, is above the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for impeaching the Trump executive branch (too late for impeaching GWB, but not indicting him), and the congressional leadership, minimally of the Republican Party and probably also the Democratic Party. For Trump, I think such intentional negligence (how could it not be intentional?) rises to the point of being indictable for murder.

Would my emergency “invasion” of Puerto Rico by the US military cost money? Hell yes, a lot! But then there never seems to be a lack of billions and trillions to bomb dark-skinned people to smithereens all over the world for decades at a time. The Washington D.C. government is treating Puerto Rico like the Israelis treat the Palestinian Occupied Territories. Spanish is the primary language in Puerto Rico, and that island was conquered by the U.S. in 1898 (The Spanish American War). The residents of Puerto Rico were given US citizenship on March 2, 1917, and the U.S. (Wilson Administration) entered World War I on April 6, 1917; and men from Puerto Rico were drafted into the US military for that war and for every US war thereafter till the draft was replaced by voluntary induction in 1973. Tellingly, Puerto Rico was not given US statehood, nor allowed to have voting congressional representatives in the US government.

Realize what is happening here, the high rollers who have bought out the US government really only care about lining their pockets, and getting megalomaniacal orgasms from exercising power, and they really don’t care much about the well-being and security of the US population outside their class – the 1%, and also outside their clan-race affiliation (so Blacks, Muslims and Latinos are largely out of luck). Unless you are in one of the cared-for wealth classes, or favored “race” classes, you are only one hurricane, or tornado, or flood, or epidemic, or earthquake, or landslide, or fire away from ruin and very possibly survival.

So, instead of giving up and letting yourself end-it-all by instant gun-cop-shootout suicide, or not-so-fast suicide by opioids, or slow motion suicide by junk food, cigarettes and TV, wake up enough to find out who is actually worth voting for (let Bernie Sanders’s example be a template) and stop giving the usual pricks and prickesses your attention and ignorant support. If enough do this maybe in time we will see an improved people-oriented administration of the American Republic.

Look at the photos and news videos from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and sear this thought in your mind: I am only a 24-hour catastrophe away from those people, I am on hold to be the next destroyed Puerto Rico, we are all Americans, therefore I AM Puerto Rico.

Now, focus your outrage where it will do some good for us all.

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25 September 2017

The devastation caused in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria is shown in a series of photographs published by The Atlantic. As a matter of Constitutional duty, and simple human decency, it is essential that the Trump Administration move its ass and get assistance to the Island, much more and much faster. There are still people living in wreckage who have not been contacted since the Category 5 hurricane hit the Island about 5 days ago. The suffering and privation are universal (or almost nearly so), unsanitary conditions will spawn diseases for many if too little is done too late, and there could easily still be isolated injured and trapped people whose lives hang in the balance. Here is a clear emergency that requires a US President to act presidential, and an American government to actually demonstrate it is “exceptional.” The US news media has focused its sympathy and coverage of hurricane victims to Texas, Florida and the US Virgin Islands, and much less on Puerto Rico – where English is the second language. I see many parallels with the Palestinian Territories under Israeli Occupation. I would like it if the US Government acted so as to dispel that image from my mind.

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2017/09/disconnected-by-disasterphotos-from-a-battered-puerto-rico/540975/

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I Am Puerto Rico, So Are You
27 September 2017
https://dissidentvoice.org/2017/09/i-am-puerto-rico-so-are-you/

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Bajo El Sol — Español-English

Bajo El Sol is a song published in 2016 by Diana Gameros, a Mexican woman presently living in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, USA. Diana Gameros is an independent musical artist (she produces her own recordings), who accompanies her singing with her classical guitar. This song is a nice example of Diana Gameros’s style of music and performance, which I would classify as trova mexicana (Mexican troubadour). Diana Gameros’s published comments about this song are as follows:

“A love letter to the homeland. A song dedicated to all those who have left their country of origin and who, despite of how dark things can be back home, are counting the days until they can see it again.”

“I miss you. I know your body is gray but I can see the little light that still shines on, my dear and wounded lightning bug. I am coming to you soon and when I do, we will help each other heal our wounds, we will bathe in the sun of your truth”

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Bajo El Sol
Diana Gameros
https://youtu.be/b_VE8N46LC8

entre nosotros hay un río
y novecientos días más
de mi memoria el olvido
quiere arrancarte
pero no podrá
quiere arrancarte
pero no podrá

traigo debajo del brazo
un libro llenito de historias
te las ofrezco toditas, todas!
hoy que la vida no sobra (*)

traigo debajo del brazo
un libro llenito de historias
buenas, malas, largas, cortas
te las ofrezco toditas
gritan mi pena y mi gloria
hoy te las canto toditas, todas!
hoy que la vida nos sobra
bajo el sol de tu verdad

quiero en mis ojos recuerdos
que me hablen de tu querer
mares y valles de sobra
y yo sin poderlos ver

quiero en mi oído un susurro
vientos que vengan de Uxmal
cantos de aves al aire, libres
que no he podido escuchar
bajo el sol de tu verdad

ni todas las flores marchitas
que abundan en tu jardín
ni el rojo de tu piel quemándose viva
harán que me olvide de ti

y aunque tu cuerpo sea gris
mis ojos distinguen tu luz
tierna luciérnaga herida
quiero brillar donde brillas tu

y aunque tu cuerpo sea gris
mis ojos distinguen la luz que te queda
tierna luciérnaga mía
juntas nos curaremos la vida
bajo el sol de tu verdad

bajo el sol de tu verdad
bajo el sol de tu verdad

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(Lyrics above as posted by Diana Gameros on her YouTube page for “Bajo El Sol.”)

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Under Your Sun
(“Bajo el Sol” by Diana Gameros, English translation by MG,Jr.)

A river flows between us two
streaming past nine hundred days
of memories holding you
that forgetfulness wants to yank
but won’t be able,
that forgetfulness wants to yank
but won’t be able.

Beneath my arm I’m bringing you
a book full to brimming with stories.
I offer every one to you, all yours!,
today with no living to spare. (*)

Beneath my arm I’m bringing you
a book full to brimming with stories,
good ones, bad ones, long ones, short ones,
I offer every one to you, all yours!
They cry out my pains and my glories.
Today I will sing them all to you,
today we have living to spare
under the sun of your truth.

In my eyes I want remembrances
that speak to me of your caring
with oceans and valleys to spare
that now I’ll not be seeing.

In my ear I want to have whispers
of breezes that come from Uxmal,
of songs by birds on the wing, and free,
as I’ve not been able to listen
under the sun of your truth.

Neither all of the faded flowers
that mound up in your garden,
nor your reddening skin burning itself alive,
are able to make me forget you.

And even if your body were gray
my eyes could distinguish your light
you tender and wounded firefly.
I want to shine wherever you’re bright.

And even if your body were gray
my eyes could distinguish your light remaining,
my tender firefly, shining.
Together, we’ll cure ourselves living
under the sun of your truth.

Under the sun of your truth,
under the sun of your truth.

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(*) If the “no” in “hoy que la vida no sobra” was actually supposed to be “nos”, then the English translation should read: “today we have living to spare.”

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Juramento — Español-English

Juramento
[Miguel Matamoros, 1894-1971 (Cuba)]

(Introducción)

Si el amor hace sentir hondos dolores
y condena vivir entre miserias,
yo te diera mi bien por tus amores
hasta la sangre que hierve en mis arterias,
hasta la sangre que hierve en mis arterias.

(Interludio como la introducción)

Si el amor hace sentir hondos dolores
y condena vivir entre miserias,
yo te diera mi bien por tus amores
hasta la sangre que hierve en mis arterias,
hasta la sangre que hierve en mis arterias.

Si es surtidor de místicos pesares
y hace al hombre arrastrar largas cadenas,
yo te juro arrastrarlas por los mares
infinitos y negros de mis penas,
infinitos y negros de mis penas.

(Interludio como la introducción)

Si es surtidor de místicos pesares
y hace al hombre arrastrar largas cadenas,
yo te juro arrastrarlas por los mares
infinitos y negros de mis penas,
infinitos y negros de mis penas.

(Acordes final).

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Oath of Love

(Introduction)

To be in love can make you feel such deep sorrows
and condemn you to live with many miseries;
and I swear I would give my all for your loving
even the blood from my arteries that is boiling,
even the blood from my arteries that is boiling.

(Interlude, like introduction)

To be in love can make you feel such deep sorrows
and condemn you to live with many miseries;
and I swear I would give my all for your loving
even the blood from my arteries that is boiling,
even the blood from my arteries that is boiling.

I’m pumping out streams of mystical grieving,
and made to drag those weights behind with long chains binding;
and I swear I would drag them through the oceans,
infinite and black with disappointments,
infinite and black with disappointments.

(Interlude, like introduction)

I’m pumping out streams of mystical grieving,
and made to drag those weights behind with long chains binding
and I swear I would drag them through the oceans,
infinite and black with disappointments,
infinite and black with disappointments.

(Final chords)

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LITERAL:

Juramento
Oath

(Introduction)

Si el amor hace () sentir hondos dolores
If the love makes (one) feel deep pains

y condena vivir entre miserias,
and condemns to-live within miseries

yo te diera mi bien por tus amores
I to-you would-give my good for your loves

hasta la sangre que hierve en mis arterias,
up-to the blood that boils in my arteries

hasta la sangre que hierve en mis arterias.
up-to the blood that boils in my arteries

(Interlude)

[repeat first stanza]

Si es surtidor de místicos pesares
If it-is pump of mystical griefs

y hace al hombre arrastrar largas cadenas,
and makes the man drag long chains

yo te juro arrastrarlas por los mares
I to-you swear drag-them through the seas

infinitos y negros de mis penas,
infinite and black from my hardships/sorrows/“shames”-(as plural noun)

infinitos y negros de mis penas.
infinite and black from my hardships/sorrows/“shames”-(as plural noun).

(Interlude, like introduction)

[repeat second stanza]

(Final chords)

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Trío Matamoros: Juramento – (letra y acordes)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0kecq3u4Rg

Juramento — Eva Griñán & Gabino Jardines
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e3reT8epms

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En el juego de la vida — Español-English

EN EL JUEGO DE LA VIDA
Daniel Santos (1916-1992) with Sonora Matancera (1948)

En el juego de la vida
juega el grande y juega el chico,
juega el blanco y juega el negro,
juega el pobre y juega el rico.

En el juego de la vida
nada te vale la suerte
porque al fin de la partida
gana el albur de la muerte.

Juega con tus cartas limpias
en el juego de la vida,
al morír nada te llevas,
viva y deja que otros vivan.

Cuatro puertas hay abiertas
al que no tiene dinero:
el hospitál y la carcel,
la iglesia y el cementerio.

IN THE GAME OF LIFE

In the game of life you’ll find that
play the big guys and the little fish,
play the white and play the black,
play the poor and play the rich.

In the game of life you’ll find that
all your luck will have been worthless
because at every game’s end
the only pot to win are death’s chips.

With unmarked cards keep playing
in the gamble of your lifetime
for at death you will take nothing,
so just live and then let live.

Fours doors are always open
to those who have no money:
the hospital and jailhouse,
the church and cemetery.

DANIEL SANTOS – EN EL JUEGO DE LA VIDA
https://youtu.be/QCeQ07TXTsI

Dos Gardenias — Español-English

Red Rose White Rose

Dos Gardenias is a bolero written by the Cuban composer Isolina Carrillo Estrada (1907-1996) in 1947. Dos Gardenias is a timeless song, inspiring performers, recording artists and audiences to this day.

Isolina Carrillo (1907-1996)
http://www.ecured.cu/Isolina_Carrillo

Dos Gardenias
(Isolina Carrillo)

Dos gardenias para ti
con ellas quiero decir
te quiero,
te adoro,
mi vida
ponles toda tu atención
porque son tu corazón
y el mío

Dos gardenias para ti
que tendrán todo el calor
de un beso
de esos besos que te di
y que jamás encontrarás
en el calor de otro querer

A tu lado vivirán
y te hablarán
como cuando estás conmigo
y hasta creerás
que te dirán
te quiero

Pero si un atardecer
las gardenias de mi amor
se mueren
es porque han adivinado
que tu amor me ha traicionado
porque existe otro querer.

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Two Gardenias
(Isolina Carrillo)

Two gardenias here for you
with them I’m trying to say
I love you,
adore you,
my darling
guard them very carefully
because they are your heart
and my heart.

Two gardenias here for you
that hold all of the warmth
of love’s kiss,
of those kisses that I gave you
and of which you’ll never find in
passion’s heat from other loves.

By your side these blooms will live
and speak to you
just as when you’re with me,
and you’ll even believe
they are saying:
I love you.

But if some darkening day
the gardenias of my love
should fall dead
it will be because they sensed
that I have been betrayed
and you have another love.

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Daniel Santos – Dos Gardenias
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlW-v_8Int4
[1940s-1990s, defining, the timelessly sexy Daniel Santos at his best]

Ibrahim Ferrer – Dos Gardenias
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4ZqO5Zq9QY
[1997, soulful, nostalgic, sparked the revival]

Antonio Machín – Dos Gardenias
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGTvQusUIyU
[1950s-1970s, such a fluid velvety sound, with such clear diction]

Lucrecia – Dos Gardenias
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgoEHFgwGes
[1996, sultry Cuban jazz version, then a montuno!, soul with youthful energy]

Leo Marini – Dos Gardenias
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0uHtj5ayw8
[1940s-1980s, a tango-flavored version with an Argentine singer]

Sole Giménez – Dos Gardenias
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyhYhMsUyzE
[2012, pure smooth jazz night club version, agile singing and swinging cats playing]

Isabel Pantoja – Dos Gardenias
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr-mfrQ2G7M
[2013, a smokey torch-song version, with jazz combo and strings, as if back in Rick’s Café Americain in Casablanca in 1942]

Victoria Sur – Dos Gardenias
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD6X5-Uuq1M
[2013, lovely voice, excellent band, but I dislike the combination of the traditional ballad-style singing with the modern-spacey-electronic-jazz-rock band music. For me, there is too much music-school technique for show and not enough in service to the spirit of the song. But, all the ingredients here are of high quality, and of youthful vigor, so many should enjoy this, and these musicians certainly have the stuff of making long and artful careers. Finally, I appreciate that they published the lyrics in the notes accompanying the music video.]

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The photos are actually of roses. Gardenias look similar.