lola floresIf you have good taste for music, you’ll probably answer without a doubt to these questions: who was the king of rock? And the queen? Who used to be sitting in the throne of pop music? Some good answers shouldn’t be very different from Elvis Presley, Tina Turner or Michael Jackson. However, what if I ask you about the queen of flamenco? A Spaniard will automatically reply: Lola Flores.

Lola Flores (Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, 1923 – Madrid, 1995) was an all-round Spanish artist, nicknamed “La Faraona” (the female pharaon): music, dance, cinema or TV shows had no secrets for her. Regarding music, she sang flamenco and copla, all popular Spanish styles. One of her most famous songs was Pena, penita, pena .(You can watch a musial video of this song at the end of our article).

This song is very famous; nevertheless, what’s the meaning of pena? What’s the difference between pena and tristeza? How many idioms can you find with this word? Keep reading blog and you’ll know it.

Pena can be the punishment or penalty you can get for a bad behaviour. Ej: El condenado conmutó la pena (the convict commuted the penalty); pena is also the feeling of sorrow or sadness you feel due to a misfortune. Ej: Me da pena pensar en mi abuela fallecida (I feel sorrow when I think about my dead grandmother). In America, pena is also “embarrassment”.

These are the normal meanings, but problems come to our students of Spanish via Skype when they read or hear some idioms or expressions which use the word pena. Let’s learn some of them:

  • Es una pena que… (Unfortunately, sadly): Es una pena que los griegos estén sufriendo tanto (Sadly, Greek are suffering too much).
  • Estar hecho una pena (to be in a very bad shape or to have bad appearance, to be a mess): Tu amigo está hecho una pena; lleva la misma ropa desde hace una semana. (Your friend is a mess; he’s been wearing the same clothes for a week).
  • Merecer la pena (to be worth the effort): No merece la pena pelearse con él (it is not worth fighting him).
  • Pasar sin pena ni gloria: (to pass unnoticed, without a fuss): Mi equipo ha pasado sin pena ni gloria por el campeonato. (My team passed unnoticed during the championship).
  • Pasar la pena negra: (to suffer a horrible affliction): Después de su divorcio y su despido, Manuel está pasando la pena negra (After his divorce and dismissal, Manuel is suffering a horrible affliction).
  • Ir como alma en pena (a person you can see lonely, sad and gloomy): Por favor, ayuda a tu hermano; va como alma en pena por la calle. (Please, help your brother, he seems to be lonely and gloomy walking by the Street).

After reading this, ¿no crees que merece la pena aprender español con (don’t you think it’s worth studying Spanish). No tengas pena (don’t be embarrased) and reserve a free trial lesson here. No pasarás sin pena ni gloria si vienes a España (you will not pass unnoticed if you come to Spain).