Of the four major Flamenco palos (Soleá, Seguiriya, Fandango and Tango) we have covered some of the most important features in order to get a hold on the basic concepts. But Andalusia, the land where Flamenco has settled for good, is enormous and each area has developed these palos in its own way, creating their own different versions.
Today we start our stroll around the principal areas to which they have spread and are going to take a look at some of these local varieties. This week we are in Málaga.
This is a typical version of the Fandango that comes from the spectacular village of Ronda high in the mountain region of Málaga Province. It is considered by many to be the most ancient of all the Fandangos. The basic sung form consists of verses of four eight syllable lines. This Fandango became well known towards the middle of the nineteenth century and Miguel Borull padre (the father) was the guitarist who really defined its purest and strongest Flamenco style. Later the great Ramón Montoya carried on this tradition. Neither left any recorded works (that we are aware of) but here is a Rondeña from one of the greatest guitarists of recent times, Manolo Sanlúcar.
La Rondeña can also be danced and sung. Here is an example.
Is another Málaga variation of the Fandango closely related to the Verdiales and Malagueñas. It is slower and is not danced. It is sung by a solo singer accompanied only by a guitarist. This palo is not well known outside Andalusia and in our opinion deserves a wider audience.
Are a sung and danced form of the Fandango that have their origin in the celebrations in the villages of the Málaga countryside. They are performed by groups of musicians, singers and dancers known as Pandas de Verdiales whose individual members are often referred to as Tontos or fools because the Feast Day on which they are predominantly performed is December 28th – The Feast of the Holy Innocents – which in Spain is the equivalent of our April Fool’s Day. These being popular festivals, it’s hard to find good quality recordings but here’s an example.
This form was most popular at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Another variation of the Fandango, its origin is attributed to two sisters who sold beans (habas) in the streets of Málaga. In Andalusia the H (which is silent in Spanish) is often pronounced due to the influence of the Arab language, hence the use of the J (phoneme: x) at the beginning of this word. It is melodic but requires a strong voice and is regarded as a true test of a singer’s ability. Here is a fine example from Antonia Contreras.
Next week: Regional Variations (Granada)