On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
La Nina de los Peines – Al gurugu (1946)
Having come to the end of Route 66 yesterday, we’re back on a plane across the Atlantic to beautiful Spain for the next leg on our musical tour. This time we immerse ourselves in a spot of flamenco and enjoy the company of best of them all – La Nina de Los Peines – who is considered the greatest flamenco singer of the 20th century. Starting life in poverty she would go on to become a renowned musical star and Al gurugu is considered one of her best songs.
The title is considered to be nonsense words cobbled together and the song itself was improvised. La Nina was backed by flamenco guitar and hand clapping, and sang random lyrics that came to mind. There’s washerwomen, a soldier going off to France and even mention of pigeons in there at some point. It is a peculiar mixture but I spent little time trying to decipher it and chose to take in the song in the original Spanish.
La Nina was clearly a good singer based on this effort and the musical accompaniment is of the foot tapping variety, plenty of rhythm and a decent number for those that are partial to a spot of dancing – this is not me before you ask, dear reader. Though the lyrics may be nonsensical you really don’t care.
Favourite song so far:
Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit (1939)