"Hay que buscar la vida." ("One must look for life.") — the unofficial motto of the Tuna Universitaria de Salamanca
The tuna is a consummately Spanish concept, which of course makes it virtually impossible to explain. Essentially, a tuna is a roving band of semi-professional musicians and singers, hardcore partiers, would-be womanizers (though a lot actually have steady girlfriends) and small-time con artists who dress up in costumes that date from the seventeenth century — black shirts with puffed sleeves, breeches and huge capes decorated with patches from various conferences and concerts and ribbons. Each patch supposedly represents the love of a chica.
Most of their songs are about women, drinking or being from a certain region of Spain (or Portugal or Latin America, as the case may be). About half are minor-key laments; the other half are up-tempo dance numbers, and there’s a handful of songs that are both or a mixture of the two.
The only song I can think of that might be familiar to an American audience is "Guantanamera" (you know, "Yo soy un hombre sincero ... de donde crece la palma ... y antes de morir yo quiero ... cantar mis versos del alma ...").
Essentially, a tuna is a roving band of semi-professional musicians and singers.
They play traditional Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American music in bars, restaurants and theaters, or on street corners, or anywhere else where it seems like a good idea.
Their basic instruments are the guitar, the bandurria (a small, high-pitched guitar-like instrument that usually plays melody), the accordion and, of course, the pandereta (a small tambourine).
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