Flamenco 3 – Fandangos de Huelva

BACKGROUND
Fandango, ¿donde has nacío
que to el mundo te conoce?
Yo nací en un rinconcillo
que Alosno tiene por nombre,
donde le dan el “dejillo”

The Fandango, a gentler, more melodic palo and a close relation of the Portuguese Fado, has its origins in Huelva, the westernmost province of Andalusia and the town of Alosno lays claim to the title of The Cradle of the Fandango. The verse above is from a popular Alosno Fandango which reiterates this claim:

Fandango, you are known by everyone
where were you born?
I was born in a little corner
by the name of Alosno
where they give it the accent and tone

The Fandango is sung in many parts of Andalusia, but as is the case with Las Alegrías and Cadiz, you cannot say Fandango without thinking of Huelva.

Here is a traditional sung Fandango from Perlita de Huelva, who we were lucky enough to see in Seville in ’92:

THE FORM
Again, we are dealing with a palo that started life as the accompaniment to dancing. The sung form, over time, became important in its own right. It is one of the oldest palos and there are written references to its existence as long ago as 1705. The verses are made up of 4 or 5 octosyllabic lines that on occasions become six as the last line is repeated. The time signature is predominantly 3/4. The dances associated with this palo are primarily performed in groups. There are variants, especially from central and eastern Andalusia that are danced by individual Bailaores or Bailaoras. These regional variations, Granaínas, Malagueñas, Verdiales, etc will get a post of their own at a later date. For now, we are staying in Huelva. Here is an example of the most popular form of Fandangos danced by a group. (Notice the men’s classic peasant attire – a clear reflection of the rural origins of this palo). An important part of any Feria is the Fino (or Dry Sherry) – looks like the cameraman may have had a drop or two!

And here’s a more stylish, Spanish Ballet, performance:

THE SUNG FANDANGO
Although the palo started life as a sung accompaniment to dance, it has developed a more serious and aflamencado style. The Cantaores of gypsy origin, such as Manolo Caracol, Porrina de Badajoz or Rafael Farina, produced Fandangos that can be considered Cante Jondo (more about this in a later post). [Cante Jondo is the form of Flamenco that is considered most serious and expresses deep sentiment – jondo having its origin in the word hondo, which means deep.]
Here’s an example from Porrina de Badajoz (a neighbouring province in Extremadura with a strong Flamenco tradition). Look who’s playing the guitar in this one! And look how young he is!

And now, to show how the traditions are kept alive by the younger, more modern artists here are two examples. The first is from Arcangel one of our favourite Cantaores from the current scene.

The second from Sandra Carrasco, who doesn’t really look that Flamenco, does she? Sings like the angels, though.

And to end, here is a modern interpretation of the dance from a Flamenco School.

Next week: Las Sevillanas from the beginning to the present day.

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One Response to Flamenco 3 – Fandangos de Huelva

  1. Pingback: The Flamenco Series « Casa Maki

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