Monographic jota workshop. Saturday, September 22nd 2018

At El Carpio de Tajo (Toledo) – 40€ with lunch and evening musical party.

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What is jota? Watch our selection of jotas at Youtube:

We will learn the codes to sing and play jota, both on guitar and the clapping, or other use of various percussions. We’ll learn pattern melodies, we’ll learn to identify where to start the singing melody, variations on the attack, how the melody of the voice dialogue with the instruments, etc.

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Rondeña from Candeleda with guitar

Listen it here.

Here you are the lyrics and, below, the explanaition.

Y mi padre un caballero
And my father a gentleman
mi madre es una serrana
my mother is a mountain-dweller
y mi padre un caballero
and my father a gentleman
y yo nací una mañana
and I was born a morning
entre la nieve y el hielo
between the snow and the ice
entre la nieve y el hielo.
between the snow and the ice.

Le contesté con aire
I answered him gracefully
Rosita me llamó un cura.
A priest called me little rose
Yo le contesté con aire.
I answered him gracefully
Rosita sí, señor cura,
Little rose, yes, Mr. priest
no deshojada de nadie.
defoliated by no body.
Rosita me llamó un cura.
A priest called me little rose

De tu muñeca a mi mano
From your wrist to my hand
échame una cadenita
throw me a little chain
de tu muñeca a mi mano
from your wrist to my hand
y cualquiera que nos vea
and anyone that see us
dirá que somos hermanos
will say we are siblings.
dirá que somos hermanos.

Una concha fue mi cuna,
My cradle was a conch,*
a orillas del mar nací
I was born by the sea
una concha fue mi cuna.
my cradle was a conch,
Si no me caso con Concha
If I don´t marry Concha
no me caso con ninguna,
I won´t marry any one else.
a orillas del mar nací.
I was born by the sea.

A vivir entre la leña
To live on the wood
a la sierra me he de ir.
I must go to the mountain range.
A vivir entre la leña
To live on the wood
por ver si los pajarillos
to check if the little birds
alivian algo mis penas
relieve a little bit my sorrows. 
alivian algo mis penas.
relieve a little bit my sorrows. 

Una piedra redonda
A round stone
a lo alto de la sierra
at the top of the mountain range
hay una piedra redonda
there is a round stone
donde puso dios los pies
where God set his feet
para subir a la gloria.
to raise into the glory.
A lo alto de la sierra.
At the top of the mountain range.

Primero que se ve
The first thing you see
al entrar en Candeleda
when you enter Candeleda
lo primero que se ve
the first thing you see
es una piedra muy alta,
is a very high stone,
encima, el macho montés,
on top, the male mountain goat.
encima, el macho montés.
on top, the male mountain goat.

No la quisiera echar,
I wouldn´t want to say it
y allá va la despedida.
there it goes the farewell.
Yo no la quisiera echar
I wouldn´t want to say it
Que se me ha roto una cuerda
One of my strings has broke down
y la tengo que arreglar.
and I have to fix it.
Y allá va, allá va, allá fue.
And there it goes, there it goes, it went.

* Conch / shell in Spanish is concha. And Concha is a female name, apocopated of Concepción.

Next 24th of May the folkorist from Candeleda Pedro Vaquero Sánchez (24-05-1953/22-09-1997) would have his 63th birthday. As a tribute to him and to his village, that have given us so much about their music, we want you to listen this month this rondeña with guitar, that he recorded and edited in his series of albums “Cantes del Pueblo” (songs from the people) on his record label Sonifolk.

Candeleda still keeps its musical and dance patrimony, developed along the lifes of its local people (defined by Pedro as “the ones from the village and the goatherd). It is important to emphasise, not the songs, the instruments that are played, etc… but on how the people from Candeleda say when they sing, how they make the guitars sound and how they use alzapúas (trills) on their lutes and bandurrias when they play their jotas, rondeñas… This is what makes them special.

The usual repertoires are used on the villages of the region, also in further places. But this way of performance is unique in Candeleda. As Pedro Vaquero already said, about the variability of the repertoires, its usage and the identity in one of his essays about the rondeña on the Tietar valley: “The rondeña from the Tietar valley, with different styles and names, is a kind of fandango, widely spreaded itself in very different shapes all along Spanish land and, specially, in Andalucía and la Mancha. The fact that the fandangos from Huelva are more known doesn´t mean, by no means, that they are the source of all the other fandangos, as if would be also unreasonable to assert the contrary, while there are not factual evidences. It is more likely that there is a common root along the regions of Spain that gives arise a similar way of expression, apart from primacies and origins. The same applies to jotas, seguidillas, etc.”

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Ludiviana Barrio Llamas, from Sanabria

In 1986 Alberto Jambrina and Pablo Madrid recorded dozens of pieces performed by artists from the villages at the region of Sanabria, at the province of Zamora (Castilla y León), a rugged region, of middle-high mountains, that at that time still had outstanding performers, like Ludiviana Barrio Llamas, from the village of Cervantes, that sings and plays tambourine in this recording, in such an unpredictable and inimitable way. Surely she won´t either be able to “imitate” herself if she was requested to play that again the same way, as that apparent unpredictability was not apparent at all in her performance, subject to her whims in aspects like the order and election of the couplets, the ornaments of the voice, the lenght of some notes, the percussion drawings she makes to embellish the singing… It is for that reason that we have choosen this recording, as well as because of its overwhelming beauty. 

Those above-mentioned recordings are in a double CD edited by Tecnosaga (at that tiem they were released in vinyl discs).

Listen HERE 

Lyrics (Spanish and English):

Sal a la calle, estrellas, sol y luna

Go out to the street, stars, Sun and Moon

sal a la calle.

go out to the street.

Lucero, no me deja salir mi madre.

Bright star, my mother doesn´t allow me to get out.

Estrellas, sol y luna

Stars, Sun and Moon

sal a la calle.

go out to the street.

Me puse a contar, las estrellas del cielo

I started to count the stars in the sky

me puse a contar.

I started to count.

Como vi que eran muchas

As I saw they were too many

lo volví a dejar.

I stopped.

Las estrellas del cielo

The stars in the sky

me puse a contar.

I started to count.

No hallan mis males remedios

My sorrows don´t find remedy

ni contigo ni sin ti.

not with you, neither without you.

Mis males no hallan remedio.

My sorrows don´t find remedy

Contigo, porque me matan,

With you, because I’ll be killed.

y sin ti porque me muero.

neither without you because I`d die.

Voy a misa con tu madre

I go to the mass with your mother

todos los días de año.

every day of the year.

Vas a misa con tu madre.

You go to the mass with your mother.

Llevas el velo tendido

You wear the veil hanging

a la libertad del aire.

free on the wind.

Las estrellitas del cielo

The little stars in the sky

están alumbrando a Dios.

are iluminating God.

Y tú, como eres mi estrella.

And you, as you are my star,

alumbras mi corazón.

Iluminate my heart.

Si quieres que te cuente lo que me pasa:

If you want me to tell you what happens to me:

cuando estoy en la calle no estoy en casa.

when I am at the street I am not at home.

Todito lo que yo hago

Everything I do

se lo cuentan a mi madre,

is told to my mother,

como si mi madre fuera

as if my mother was

cuchillo para matarme.

a knive to kill me.

De mí que no puedo, ay,

Woe is me, that I can´t

que no puedo

that I can´t

olvidarte, que es mucho lo que te quiero.

forget you, as I love you very much.

Después de cien años muerta

After one hundred years deceased,

y de gusanos comida

and eaten by the worms

letrero dejé en mis huesos:

my bones will have a sign

lo mucho que te quería.

about how much I loved you.

Anda, niña y duerme sola.

Come on, girl and sleep alone.

Lo mucho que te quería.

about how much I loved you.

A San Antonio le rezo

I pray to Saint Anthony

seis días en la semana.

six days a week.

Si algún santo tiene envidia,

If any saint envy

rezo a quien me da la gana.

I pray to the one I feel like.

Anda niña y duerme sola.

Come on, girl and sleep alone.

Rezo a quien me da la gana.

I pray to the one I feel like.

Mi madre me puso Rosa

My mother named me Rose

para ser más desgraciada…

to be more unfortunate…

Que no hay rosa en el rosal

As there is not a rose in the rose bush

que no sea deshojada.

that remained undefoliated.

Niña bonita, ponte a servir

Pretty girl, work as a maid

y lo que ganes dámelo a mí,

and give me the money you earn,

dámelo a mí, dámelo a mí,

give it to me, give it to me,

niña bonita, ponte a servir.

pretty girl, work as a maid.

Ay, que lo dejo y lo dejo,

Ay, I stop and I stop,

ay, que lo voy a dejar.

Ay, I am going to stop.

Que andan diciendo en el baile

Because at the dance they are saying

que están cansados de bailar.

they are tired of dance.

Ayer te quise y hoy no te quiero,

I loved your yesterday and today I don´t,

ayer tuve gusto y hoy no tengo.

yesterday I had joy and today I haven´t.

Hoy no lo tengo, voy a Zamora

Today I haven’t, I go to Zamora

por ver si traigo el gusto ahora.

to check if I bring the joy now.

El sol se llama Lorenzo

The Sun is named Lorenzo

y la luna, María Antonia.

and the Moon, María Antonia.

Cuando Lorenzo se pone

When Lorenzo goes down

se levanta su señora.

his lady stands up.

Niña bonita, ponte a servir

Pretty girl, work as a maid

y lo que ganes dámelo a mí,

and give me the money you earn,

dámelo a mí, dámelo a mí,

give it to me, give it to me,

niña bonita, ponte a servir.

pretty girl, work as a maid.

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Rondeña from Lagartera, recorded by Alan Lomax in 1952

Listen this recording at

The rondeña is a form of fandango used frequently at the center of Iberian Peninsule. This particular one was recorded by Alan Lomax at Lagartera (Toledo province) in 1952, the year when he made field recordings throughout Iberian Peninsule and Balearic islands. José Reviriego, one of the main informants of Lomax at that moment, might have been one of the musicians from Lagartera that have spread the most the music from his land. Exquisite player of rebec, fine guitar player, singer and able to accompany the singing with mortars, scraped bottles and many other utensils. In this rondeña we listen guitars, good voices and a beated mortar. One guitar is enough to accompany the singer and to phrase refrains with a refined technique, still preserved nowadays by some performers of the region on the nearby districts of la Campana de Oropesa and the Campo Arañuelo, in Toledo province, the Gredos mountain range, in Ávila province, and la Vera, in Cáceres province.


Viva Sevilla y Oviedo,
            Long live to Seville and to Oviedo
y Castellón de la Plana,
            and to Castellón de la Plana
viva la real y el salero,
            long live to the real and the panache
y las chicas Valencianas,
            and to the Valencian girls
que yo por una me muero.
            as I die for one of them.

 Ay lere, lere lerele,
            Ay lere, lere lerele,
la gracia para cantar,
            the grace to sing,
ni se compra ni se hereda,
            you can´t buy it, neither inherit it,
que se la dan al que quiere,
            it is given to the one he wants (God)
a mí me quedo sin ella,
            and I don´t have any
a mí me quedo sin ella
            and I don´t have any.

Ay lere, lere lerele.
            Ay lere, lere lerele,
en las alas de un mosquito,
            on the wings of a mosquito
lleva la Virgen su manto,
            the Virgin carries her shawl,
mira si seria bonito,
            look if it is beautiful,
que le estrenó el Viernes Santo
            that she showed it off
en el entierro de Cristo.
            for Christ funeral. 

Ay lere, lere, lerele.
           Ay lere, lere lerele,
La primer vez que te vi,
            The first time I saw you,
fue en la madre de un venero,
            it was in the mother of a poison,
yo me enamoré de ti,
            I felt in love with you,
hermosa luna de enero,
            pretty January Moon,
hermosa luna de enero.
            pretty January Moon.

Ay lere, lere, lerele.
            Ay lere, lere, lerele.
Si te ha dejado la novia,
            If your girlfriend left you,
no tengas pena maldita,
            don´t you have a damned sorrow,
que las penas de la novia,
            because the sorrow for a girlfriend,
con otra mejor se quita,
            disappears with a better one,
con otra mejor se quita.
            disappears with a better one.

Me gusta la borrachera,
           I like the drunkenness,
soy mas borracho que el vino,
            I am more drunkard tan wine,
me gusta la borrachera,
            I like the drunkenness,
“contri” mas borracho estoy,
            the most drunken I am
más me quieren las mozuelas,
            the more the maidens love me.
más que quieren las mozuelas.
            the more the maidens love me.

 Ay lere, lere lera.
            Ay lere, lere lera.
Esta es la jotita nueva,
            This is the new little jota,
que ha venido de Madrid,
            that has come from Madrid,
la ha traído un boticario,
            it has been brough by a apothecary,
metida en un botiquín,
            inside a first-aid kit,
metida en un botiquín,
            inside a first-aid kit,
Esta es la jotita nueva.
            This is the new little jota.


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Snail ronda, as it was in 1952

It inspired us, it thrills us. A wonderful recording made by Alan Lomax at Vegas de Matute, Segovia, on 28th of October of 1952. More data and the audio are availale at the web of the Association of Cultural Equity, that is also big inspiration of us. And here you have the lyrics (Spanish and English):

Buenas noches te dé Dios, yo que he llegado el primero,
May God give you good night, I have been the first one to get here,

matita de perejil cortada en el mes de enero,
parsley shrub cut at the month of January

ay, cortada en el mes de enero.
cut at the month of January

¡Adiós guapa!
Goodbye, pretty!

Buenas noches te dé Dios, yo que he llegado el segundo,
Shall God give you good night, I have been the second one to get here,

matita de perejil cortada en el mes de junio,
parsley shrub cut at the month of June,

ay, cortada en el mes de junio.
ay, cut at the month of June.

Desde la iglesia venimos y a carrerilla tirada
We come from the church and making a little race

por ver si podía ser la primera mi llegada,
to check if my arrival could be the first one,

la primera mi llegada.
my arrival could be the first one.

Y allá va la despedida la que echó Cristo en Belén.
So away goes the farewell, the one that Christ made at Bethlehem.

Caracol que me pica el sol, los pájaros pían,
Snail, the sun stings me, birds sing,

levántate si tienes luz encendida.
wake up if you have light on.

Para ti que no para mí que soy valdoviano,
For you, not for me that I am valdeoviano (from Valdeova).

¿Ese ramo de flores quién te le ha dado?
Who gave you that bouquet?

Me le ha dado el padre prior que está en Aldeavieja,
It was given to me by the Father Master that is at Aldeavieja,

también me ha dado un peine pa’ la cabeza
he has also give me a comb for the head

y un abanico con muchos picos, con muchas flores
and a fan with a lot of picks and a lot of flowers

para que te diviertas con mis amores,
for you to have fun with my love,

y una campana para que te despiertes por la mañana.
and a bell for you to wake up in the morning.

Y gloria al Padre, gloria al Hijo y gloria al Espíritu. Amén.
And Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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What are the styles

Thanks to the technological progress, the learning channels of the popular music have increased. That is, at the same time as we learn repertories at the family or friends circle, we download music from the Internet, we check Facebook, Youtube, etc.

Thus, we go on forging what I call our “sound library”. We invoke it whenever we need information or to find which materials we have stored to use when the occasion demands it…

From the moment when a piece of music thrills us and leaves a footprint on us, this becomes part of our life. Over time, there is much the musical information stored.

As each person belongs to any place, or feels him/herself as part of any place, the person shares that “sound library” with the fellow countrypeople. That’s the reason why all the members of that community know how to use in a similar way the similar music they have stored in the same way, as it has always been done.

In my village, El Carpio de Tajo (in the center of the province of Toledo), exactly the same as in much other villages (surrounding, near or far away), the most popular styles of traditional music where used: the son, the jota, the seguidillas and the fandango.

Nowadays, the styles are not really: they have become repertoires, allocating a name and a surname with geographical identity, and this last part, that identity, receives more attention that the style itself (the ways, the manners and the codes, that are what really defines the style).

To sing, play and dance this music (forged, purified and modulated with the time) the most important has always been to know its performance codes. It doesn´t matter the provenance of the performer or the place where the style is being performed, because each one that know the codes and manner to do it can participate in the performance (the styles have their performance peculiarities in each region, but in their general features, any performer that know the style will be able to participate in the playing, singing or dancing, no matter if that person is not from there).

For all these reasons, the son, the jota, the seguidilla and the fandango are styes, and they are not part of any repertoire with name and surname (in example, jota from “that village”, seguidillas meloneras, fandango del Tio Tio, etc…).

Juan Antonio Torres, El Carpio de Tajo. January 2016

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Jota for three, from Argamasilla de Alba (Ciudad Real, Castilla-La Mancha)

We will often share recordings that we find specially interesting and some of them will be included in the monthly newsletter. If you want to receive the newsletter, send us an email to We start with this jota for three choreographed by the Sección Femenina (institution created by the Phalangist party in 1934, dissolved in 1977 after the dictatorship), keeping the codes and the caracteristic style from La Mancha of the castanets playing.

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