Dos Lunares investigates and promotes the intersections between Flamenco and Romani/Gypsy culture through printed matter, film nights, and special events.

January 25, 2009

Flamenco Letras

Filed under: flamenco — Dos Lunares @ 10:53 am

Pajaro Negro-La Caita
full version here

Every year I send out a new year’s greeting to my friends and family and this year I included a Solea letra (lyrics) with the greeting. Solea is a type of Flamenco song usually dealing with the anguish of heartbreak and loss.

Though I tear off
the hands of my watch
time will not stop

Agujas de me reloj
que yo las iba arrancando
y el tiempo no se paró.


Flamenco letras can be anything from heartbreaking to humorous to coquettish as in this favorite letra of mine:

Tu tienes dos lunares
uno juntito la boca
el otro donde tu sabes

You have two beauty marks*
one near your lips
and the other – you know where

Lunares (polka dots) are considered good luck in Gitano and other Roma cultures. Earlier this year there was an issue with a name I was using for my Flamenco projects and I was happy to re-christen this project as Dos Lunares, in honor of the song and the symbolic luck I hope it will bring me.

If you enjoy Flamenco letras and are interested in reading more, check out the excellent blog Flamenco Quote of the Day presented by Sakai Flamenco. Highly recommended!

Recently on the blog, one of my favorite letras was included in a post:

There, still in my bed,
in the small hollow she left,
is the pin from her hair,
and the little comb she used
to hold it there.

Todavia esta en mi cama
el hoyito que dejo,
la orquillita de su pelo,
y el peine que la peino.


I first heard this letra from the cantaor Agustin Rios Amaya from Morón de la Frontera. Most of the songs he sings were taught to him by family and friends. You could say they become a form of oral history. As he taught me different letras, he would explain the origins of the song, who he learned from and why it was meaningful. In Flamenco, cante (the song) is king and the interpretation of letras is extremely important to the art form. The above letra included a very touching story that went along with it.

While many letras are traditional they are often improvised as a way of inspiring the musicians and dancers around them or sometimes to remark on the situation at hand. One cantaor who I very much enjoy, El Capullo de Jerez claims this letra was improvised on the spot and was so popular he incorporated it into a whole song.

Porque la vida es una rutina
apágame la luz
y enciéndeme la luz…

Because life is a routine
turn off the light
turn on the light


The Pajaro Negro video is from the movie Latcho Drom and dedicated to my friend El Chavo! as it is one of his favorites. My new year’s wish is for someone to release two of my favorite Gypsy related films on DVD: Latcho Drom and Angelo My Love.

Best wishes for a super New Year!

*Lunares can be translated as moons, polka dots or beauty marks.

(Also posted at

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January 24, 2009


Filed under: Romani — Dos Lunares @ 11:34 am

European Roma and Travellers Forum
Press Release

Roma ignored at the UN Commemoration of International Day in the memory of the holocaust
Strasbourg, 16 January 2009: Today, in a letter addressed to United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon the European Roma and Travellers Forum expressed its indignation at the decision to exclude the Roma Holocaust from the commemoration ceremony.
Mr. Kawczynski,  president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum said this decision did not honor the United Nations, which should be at the forefront in respecting the memory of persecuted populations.
“The Holocaust was the implementation of the Final Solution, Hitler’s genocide programme intended to eradicate the genetic contaminants in his plan to create a master race. Only Jews and Roma were subject to the Final Solution, and both peoples lost the same percentage of their total number. However, since the end of the war in 1945, nothing has been done to acknowledge the Romani survivors” said the ERTF president.
Mr Kawczynski reminded United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon of his statement  at a Press Conference on 14 December, 2006 where he strongly maintained that “Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community ” 
He added that the United Nations’ decision to exclude Roma from Holocaust remembrance therefore clearly contradicted his views and only perpetuated the marginalisation of the Roma people in the historical record. The Roma continue to face exclusion and discrimination at all levels.
Mr. Kawczynski asked the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon for a meeting to discuss the increasing discrimination and marginalisation of Roma in member states.
*  *  *
The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), which has a partnership agreement with the Council of Europe and a special status with this institution, is Europe’s largest and most inclusive Roma organisation. It brings together Europe’s main international Roma-NGOs and more than 1,500 national Roma organisations from most of the Council of Europe’s member states.
For further information please contact:
European Roma and Travellers Forum
c/o Council of Europe
F – 67 075 w:st=”on”Strasbourg
Tel.: 00 33 3 90 21 53 50
Email: or

For a first hand account of Roma persecution during the holocaust, I recommend Winter Time: Memoirs of a German Sinto who survived Auschwitz by Walter Winter.
-:dos lunares

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