Flamenco Palos: “Las Colombianas”

As you no doubt know, flamenco is the best known and representative musical genre of Andalusia, characterized by its Gypsy influence is known and admired worldwide. Flamenco is a genre of great tradition and wealth, to that over the years many artists have contributed their art and personal style, helping to enrich and to the birth of new varieties and subgenres that are called “palos del flamenco. From among them I will speak of the Colombianas”, one of the latest styles of flamenco.

Palos del Flamenco las colombianas

This variant of flamenco music was created in 1931 by the great singer songwriter Pepe Marchena, having great success and acceptance by the public since the creation of the first version of the song “Mi Colombiana”. Soon there were many artists who performed this style, and even danced as Carmen Amaya. The rhythms that influenced this subgenre curiously have nothing to do with Colombia, and although there is no unanimity among all the scholars in the field, it seems clear the influence of Hispanic Americans rhythms as the Habanera, Guajira and Milonga. It also points to the influence of Mexican “corridos” and some Basque song.

The “Columbianas” are in the group of songs called “de ida y vuelta” (there and back), which according to popular belief were brought to America by Spanish immigrants, there were processed and then returned to Spain, although in this case is a style emerged in Spain receiving influences from the music of Latin America.

The structures of the “Colombianas” was defined by Pepe de Marchena with Ramón Montoya on guitar, but are interpreted with a certain freedom and some compositions include rhythms that come from the rumba, are interpreted with major tonality, with great importance of the strings 4, 5 and 6, the so-called “bordones”, and with a binary measure influenced by the rhythm of tango and habanera. As for the lyrics usually have six octosyllabic stanzas.

During the 60s and 70s, this flamenco Palo was recovered from the decline of the music suffered in previous years, being revalued with new shades and numerous artists who wanted to interpret it. Tourism was undoubtedly a major factor that drove the rise of flamenco shows and caused the appearance of new flamenco forms.

There are many artists of the highest caliber who have interpreted this flamenco form as Rocío Jurado, Antonio Molina, La niña de la Puebla, Paco de Lucía, Juanito Valderrama, Carmen Amaya, Ana Reverte, Enrique Morente, El perro de Paterna or Pericón de Cádiz among many others, creating a great musical legacy in flamenco culture.


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