Lágrimas negras

Have you ever heard about the album Lágrimas negras (Black tears)?

Don’t worry if you haven’t, it’s better late than never.

The album celebrated its 15 year anniversary in 2018, and the tour commemorating the occasion is still going around the world. Although it’s not pure flamenco, it’s one of the best fusions ever involving flamenco.

Bebo Valdés and Diego El Cigala.

Do you know them?

Bebo is a Cuban jazz pianist/composer and Diego is a Spanish flamenco singer.

They have already been famous in their own respective genres, when Bebo collaborated in Diego’s 2001 album Corren tiempos de alegría (Those were years of joy) with 2 boleros Amar y vivir (To love and live) and La fuente de Bebo (Bebo’s source). Afterwards they both felt the need to go deeper in their collaboration, and almost secretly started working together on some songs. What felt like a spontaneous and intimate project at the beginning, ended up being the most beautiful fusion of Latin jazz, flamenco and bolero of all times. You don’t have to like flamenco to enjoy it; you don’t have to like jazz to enjoy it. It’s just good music.

Fusion of Cuban rhythms and flamenco vocals, produced by Spanish producer and guitarist Javier Limón and film director and producer Fernando Trueba. It counts with a number of top flamenco musicians like Javier Colina on the bass/contrabass, El Piraña on drums/cajón, Niño Josele on the guitar, and also the Cuban-born American saxophonist, and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera. It was recorded between September and December 2002, and consists of 9 songs:

1. Inolvidable

2. Veinte años

3. Lágrimas negras

4. Nieblas de riachuelo

5. Corazón loco

6. Se me olvidó que te olvidé

7. Vete de mi

8. La bien pagá

9. Eu sei que vou te amar / Coraçao vagabundo

The title of the album comes from the song Lágrimas negras. The story tells that the Cuban author Miguel Matamoros travelled to Santo Domingo in 1930, and stayed at a B&B, where he heard a woman desperately crying in another room. As the weeping hasn’t stopped nor seemed she finding comfort, Miguel asked the B&B owner what was wrong, and he was told the story of a woman abandoned by her lover for the love of another woman. The suffering and despair of this woman inspired Miguel to compose the song in 1930, and has been interpreted on countless occasions since.

The album was huge success, and earned a Latin Grammy Award for Best Traditional Tropical Album.

Enough of words now, let’s listen to the album a bit and enjoy the magic of Diego and Bebo.

London Flamenco Summers

7.04am The alarm goes off. Snooze. Snooze. Snooze. I slowly get out of bed, get them out of bed, brush my teeth, brush their teeth, dress up, dress them up, kisses to all and go!

8.02am I’m out the door. Helmet, keys, phone, ready to hit the road. July, London, nice breeze on the bike.

8.30am Coffee and nuts at the office, a nice chat by the coffee machine.

9.00am Numbers, charts, meetings till lunchtime.

12.40pm Lunch from the canteen, healthy and free, what else can you ask for?! A little walk with my colleague Tom outside the office (happens to be Little Venice, lucky me!).

1.20pm More meetings, numbers and charts till 4.29pm.

4.30pm Home time: helmet, keys, phone, ready to hit the road. July, London, nice breeze on the bike.

5.02pm Arrive at home, start the laundry, peel the potatoes, boil the water, put the sausages in the oven. While I get ready in the shower, the sausages and potatoes are ready too.

5.43pm Dash to nursery, but instead of starting the second shift in the playground, home again, baby sitter is coming.

6.15pm Helmet, keys, phone, ready to hit the road. July, London, nice breeze on the bike.

6.32pm Arrive at Shakespeare’s Head for a quick beer with friends before the concert.

7.15pm Head over to Sadler’s Wells, and watch the theatre fill up.

7.30pm Flamenco!

9.18pm The show is over, the night is young. After a chat with friends about the concert: helmet, keys, phone, ready to hit the road. July, London, nice breeze on the bike.

10.25pm Home, dinner, blog, bed. Dreams only arrive after midnight.

7.04am The alarm goes off again, and a new day of the London Flamenco Festival starts…

After more than a decade of Flamenco Festival in London, in 2019 Sadler’s Wells moved the festival from its February-March program to July. Scary? Brave? Miguel Marín, the director of the festival expressed his initial concerns about the new date: summer, holidays, will people come to see flamenco, when it’s nice and warm outside and they could be sitting on a terrace sipping Pimm’s?!

Well, I don’t know the sales figures, but I saw the theatre packed every night. Plus it felt more like shows in Spain:, because it was hot. And after all, it’s easier to relate flamenco to the hot summers I lived in Spain, than the cold Februaries I live in London… so I say, it was a good decision.

It was two weeks of madness due to the number of concerts I went to, but now that it’s over, I miss every moment of it…