UI / Check UI / Close Bear / Coral bear-404 Bear / Blue Bear / Chartreuse Bear / Green Bear / Hero Bear / Lime Bear / Magenta Bear / Maroon Bear / Orange Bear / Yellow plus Bear / Blue Bear / Chartreuse Bear / Green Bear / Hero Bear / Lime Bear / Magenta Bear / Maroon Bear / Orange Bear / Yellow Hero hero-home-10 hero-home-11 hero-home-12 hero-home-13 hero-home-14 hero-home-15 hero-home-16 hero-home-17 hero-home-18 hero-home-19 hero-home-2 hero-home-20 hero-home-3 hero-home-4 hero-home-5 hero-home-6 hero-home-7 hero-home-8 hero-home-9 Bear / Hero Bear / Hero nobg Shape UI / Time Rectangle plus icon-date UI / Full-Part-Volunteer Copy EPS Icon icon-external Bear / eye icon-facebook Grid View Shape icon-link-external Fill-2 List View icon-paw icon-paw-down icon-pin Combined Shape icon-pin-pink Combined Shape Combined Shape Combined Shape Combined Shape Print icon-search icon-search-tribe_event icon-search-job icon-search-organization icon-search-page icon-search-post icon-search-tribe_event icon-twitter icon-type Group Folder LigatureCreative-Logo-FINAL-WhiteReverse SCFD Horizontal Logo Group sidebear sidebear-body sidebear-paws testi-bear-blue testi-bear-coral testi-bear-gold testi-bear-green testi-bear-green-emerald testi-bear-orange-red testi-bear-orange-tang testi-bear-pink

The essential connection

Yolanda Ortega
Yolanda Ortega as Ultima in Bless Me Ultima written by Rudolfo Anaya Su Teatro

Yolanda Ortega hadn’t really thought of her work as essential until last Sunday.

As a multi-decade veteran of the Denver stage, she’s performed for thousands. She has inhabited iconic roles for which she has been lauded. For many, she is a human link to their culture and heritage, writ large in all its beauty.

Still on this day, in this unusual moment, it was a Facebook post that delivered the news.

A recent airing of her KUVO radio show, Cancion Mexicana, elicited response on social media. But one comment in particular struck a chord.

“What you are doing helps us live.”

Then the comments poured in. People heard their childhood in the music. People were sharing dances they had never shared with their children. People were feeling joy, even if they were dancing alone.

“I think of the grocery store, the postal office, the hospital. It hit me in a way that I wasn’t expecting, that I have something essential to bring to this as well,” Ortega said. “That I have a way to contribute in this moment.”

This felt like a revelation to Ortega, who was performing on her familiar stage at Su Teatro in a production of War of the Flowers, when the theater was forced to go dark to protect actors and audiences alike.  It was a hard closure for the theater, which had never abandoned a production in its decades of existence. And then, the actors in the company went home and stayed there. Many of them losing their entire income – acting and waiting tables – in an instant.

“I found myself turning to art to make sense of it myself. I wrote a silly song based on the old Spanish folk song, La Llorona – La Corona – to release my tension. I shared it with a few friends. We laughed. I watched the news. I got nervous again. It was only day two of being in the house. We didn’t really know what this was about. What does it mean to stay inside?”

“As artists, this is the work we do. We process and share, even in this strange time, that continues. My voice has always been the theater. On the stage we reflect what’s in our minds, what’s in our hearts. We reflect that we’re not so different as we think we are.”

Enjoy Yolanda’s Playlist



Be the first to hear La Corona Llorona 

Lyrics and vocals by Yolanda Ortega with thanks to Simone Alexander. Guitar accompaniment by Debra Gallegos. Sound recording by Dee Burleson.


La Corona Llorona 

Ay, de mi Corona, Corona,

I wish you’d just go away now

 Ay, de mi Corona, Corona

Mi casa no es tu casa

You’re scaring all of our gente, Corona

I can’t even hug Abuelita

Mis tias won’t even make me tortillas,

They think we will get masa poisoning


Ay de mi Corona, Corona

Our gente are taking precautions

Ay, de mi Corona, Corona

We’re constantly washing our manos.

Pues, pass me my lotion, please, Corona

Mis manos feel like sandpaper

And we don’t dare touch our caras, Corona

Because we’re too guapa, Dios Mio!


Ay, de mi Corona, Corona,

My beauty’s not really nachural

Ay de mi Corona, Corona,

Pa que pongo mucho makeup

No tengo mi Loving Care, Corona

And I miss my manis y pedis

Good thing we have to wear masks, Corona

I made mine con chones del viejo!


Ay de mi Corona, Corona

What’s up with the toilet paper?

Ay de mi Corona Corona

The stores don’t have them on shelves

Mis hijos are using corn husks, Corona!

Pues, no puedo hacer mis tamales!

I try to give them home schooling, Corona

Pero, son smarter than I am!


Gracias Corona, mil gracias Corona

I realize how precious life is.

Ay de mi Corona. Corona

A hard way way to teach us a lesson.

We promise to live life con gusto, Corona

If you would just go away

We promise to live life con Gusto, Corona

If you would just go away!



~ Yolanda Ortega

May 2, 2020

Week 7 – Quarentine