Friday Canción: Bolero

Hola mis amigos,

Today we are taking another glimpse into Latin culture through music.  This time we’re talking about Bolero music.  Bolero refers to a type of music and to its associated dances.  Interestingly, the origins of this musical genre is two fold.  The older version of Bolero dates back to 18th century Spain and is credited with influencing the boleras Flamenco style.  Independently of that, in late 19th century Cuba, a genre of sung music emerged in eastern Cuba.  This Caribbean version of Bolero is said to be part of the trova tradition.

Both the Spanish and the Cuban Boleros utilise a a moderate to slow tempo, and both employ lyrics that centre around the topic of love.   However, the Spanish version is more dramatic and was often played by large orchestras consisting of flutes, clarinets, saxophones and drums, among many other instruments.  The Cuban version is more sentimental, relying on romantic lyrics and the guitar.

I’ve included two versions of the Bolero for your listening pleasure today.  Enjoy!

 

This first one is the orchestral piece composed by  Maurice Ravel and titled Boléro.

Posted on the BBC YouTube Channel.
It’s long but I found myself quite captivated by the melody and the shots of all the various instruments used. For more info on the Spanish Bolero and its relation to Spanish artist, Francisco Goya, check out this link from Spanish Arts.

 

 

Just as captivating is this Cuban style Bolero about a lost love (sung by a Mexican musical group).  Here is Trio Los Panchos with Historia de un Amor.

Such a sweet, slow melody with clear lyrics too.  Another one you could consider using for lower level Spanish listening activities.

 

I wish you beautiful music and a happy weekend! ¡Buen fin de semana!

 

 

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I’m a Latin American Studies teacher, teaching Latin American History and Politics and Basic Spanish. I love reading, writing, teaching and travelling. 

5 thoughts on “Friday Canción: Bolero

  1. Amor, Amor. You continue to introduce me to those riches that are out there and would be lost if not for the internet. As I post this I listen to Trio Los Panchos. You expand me to other Worlds. I should have been born Latin.

  2. I’ve always loved Ravel’s Bolero. It’s just so awesome in how it slowly builds, passing the melody from instrument to instrument until at last they’re all playing it at full volume. However, I suspect it’s one of those pieces that drummers have nightmares about —- trying to keep that steady rhythm without pausing and without messing it up. 😀

    1. Oh my goodness Yes! The poor drummers. Lol. But absolutely, this piece is stunning as it builds up. I wouldn’t normally stop to listen to such a long piece but I couldn’t tear myself away!

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