Soleá: “I have to share what I have lived.”

I am, heart and soul, a tango dancer. For all the other forms of dance I love, I found my home in tango. But if there were another dance that I think I could adopt and explore and make my own, it’s flamenco. I am fascinated by flamenco. I enjoy listening to flamenco music, and I love the relationship between the music and the dancer:

Look, listen to the guitar because he’s playing the guitar beautifully for you. He’s asking for bulería, listen to him.

It sounds just like my experience with tango, where the music can entice you do dance in certain ways, where the dance is nothing without the music. And there is never an end to what you can learn, what more you can do with it, where it can take you:

There are so many beautiful things in flamenco. That’s why you will never finish learning: you always have to be learning no matter how many years you have been doing it. You may know it, but you will never finish learning. Really, I still don’t know because the more I listen to flamenco I realize that I’m further behind, because flamenco is a music that has no end.

And if the connections between flamenco and tango intrigue you, you might enjoy Diego el Cigala’s flamenco interpretations of tango in Cigala&Tango. One of my favorites is his version of “En esta tarde gris,” composed by Mariano Mores and José María Contursi.

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Anaïs Mitchell: Why We Build the Wall

My introduction to Anaïs Mitchell was her song “Why We Build the Wall,” part of the folk opera Hadestown (inspired by the myth of Orpheus and set in depression-era America). This song in particular jumped out and grabbed me when I first heard it — here’s the last section:

What do we have that they should want?
We have a wall to work upon!
We have work and they have none
And our work is never done
My children, my children
And the war is never won
The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That’s why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free
We build the wall to keep us free

I later got to hear Anaïs on NPR singing from her album Young Man in America. I couldn’t stop thinking about the first song she sang, “Shepherd”:

I was thinking about her music today and decided to get her latest album, xoa. It’s a lovely solo album with some new and some older songs (including “Why We Build the Wall”) — my biggest challenge will be turning it off when I’m trying to work so I don’t get distracted by the beautiful lyrics.

The language and poetry of Stuart Davis

Stuart Davis has been one of my favorite singer-songwriters for many years. His lyrics are clever and thoughtful (and sometimes weird and crazy) and his music is both unique and catchy. Not to mention that he’s an incredible performer — his shows are a blast.

On top of that, he created his own language, IS. The language is part of Stu’s art but also an illustration of his philosophy. It’s beautiful and I’ve enjoyed seeing how it has developed. Check out the video above to learn more about it.

And if that piqued your curiosity, enjoy Stu performing songs from a handful of his albums: