Flamenco En Beirut
Classification of the Cante/ Part 3: Cantes of diverse origins.  

This heading groups together all the songs of unclear origin and evolution, that have gradually and to various degrees entered the flamenco culture. Three groups deserve special mention: the first is the Farruca, that originated outside of Andalusia, in the Garrotin; the second is the Sevillana, of Andalusian origin; the third is called "de ida y vuelta" and groups together the songs that originated outside of Spain (milongas, colombianas, guajiras, rumbas).

Of these songs of varied origins, only the Farruca is considered an integral and necessary part of the flamenco repertoire. Even the most purist and rigorous musicologists do not hesitate to fully include it in this art form. The cantes and bailes of farruca are indeed very flamenco, despite the fact that this cante has an unusual Northern root, as it comes from Galicia and Asturias. Its name is derived from "farruco", a word by which the Andalusians designated the newly immigrated Galician or Asturian. The farruca appeared at the beginning of the 20th century as a sober and virile dance traditionally reserved for men. (listen to a Farruca)

The Garrotín, like the Farruca, comes from the North and was also first a dance until the beginning of the 20th century. It is a very festive style, built on a tango rhythm. It reached its apogee in the 1920s on the theatre stage where male and female dancers (most famously Carmen Amaya) would perform it with a black hat nonchalantly resting askew on the head. Nowadays, the Garrotin has fallen out of favor, and we can say with no reservation that this somewhat syrupy style, in contrast to the farruca, was never an integral part of flamenco. (listen to a Gorrotin)

“On the patios of Sevilla, the capricious Sevillanas come alive and wane like a sonnet of the golden century. Man and woman within a couple confront one another and slip away, provoke each other and part. Vertigo and audacity defeat each other in jest. This dance playfully opens the door of temptation, and immediately closes it. It unravels and folds back again, like the ribs of a fan, the adorned figures of coquetry and love.” Even though their name relates them to Seville, Sevillanas have been performed at all the feasts of Andalusia from where they originate, and are unavoidable at parties and family gatherings. Nowadays, they have also invaded fashionable night clubs in Andalusia and elsewhere. (listen to a Sevillana Rociera)+ (listen to a Sevillana).

The Milonga: It comes from the folklore of the region of Rio de la Plata, in Argentina. Its basis is tango, flamenquised by Josefa Diaz, the daughter of the matador Paco Oro, Little by little, it was remodeled and transformed by consecutive performances, losing the strong rhythm of tango to become a song with free rhythm. (listen to a Milonga)

The Colombiana: Some specialists of flamenco hold that this cante was not imported, and that there is no comparable style in Columbia. From where then would the Colombiana originate? It could be the creation of the cantaor Pepe de Marchena who recorded, in 1930, a song titled « Mi Colombiana ». This style quickly spread among the public, and was adopted by many prestigious cantaores. (listen to a Colombiana)

The Guajira comes from a folk song from Cuba, where the word guajiro refers to white peasants. Its lyrics allude to Havana and its inhabitants, as well as to love themes, almost always on a nostalgic mode. (listen to a Guajira) 

The Rumba is a flamenquised cante of Cuban origin, born of the strong Black influcence on the folklore of the Carribeans. Flamenco singers imparted to it a festive character that now places it between the tango and the buleria. (listen to a Rumba)

It is unfortunate that the Rumba and the Sevillana nowadays are the standard image of flamenco that is disseminated abroad.

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