The abandolaos del flamenco are a type of cante derived from the fandangos group, from which numerous styles have emerged, such as the rondeñas, the malagueñas, the cantes del Piyayo, the jabegotes or the jaberas. Songs that had in common the presence of the “bandola”, a type of old guitar. This type of singing is characterized by a very marked, lively and easily recognizable rhythm.
What are the Cantes Abandolaos?
The cantes abandolaos are a type of flamenco singing derived from the verdiales. Emerging when the verdiales lose their danceable character and the accompaniment of a band of music. The interpretation is usually performed by a single singer, with a slower rhythm and accompanied only by a guitar. The flamenco version has a much less lively rhythm than the folkloric version and usually limits the accompaniment to the guitar, and in some cases even to castanets.
What does Abandolao mean?
The term “abandolao” (abandoned) is quite recent, as it has been used in flamenco for about 50 years. It is named after the instrument used to accompany the songs, the bandola. An ancient guitar that belongs to the lute family, similar to the bandurria, but smaller and with four double strings that are played with the fingers or plectrum.
Origins of the Cantes Abandolaos (Abandoned Songs)
The fandangos abandolaos seem to have originated from other songs from the Middle Ages, related to the zarabandas, the jácaras, the caleseras and the cachuchas, especially from the dances of moriscas and boleros. It is said that the fandango verdial arose from the Moorish fandangoa very old Andalusian Moorish song from which the “abandolao” strumming rhythm arises, a constant strumming accelerated throughout the interpretation that appeared between the XVII and XVIII centuries.
This type of cante would gradually evolve into what is currently known as verdiales-abandolaos or fandangos-verdiales. and would become established in some areas of Granada, Malaga, Almeria and Murcia. And from them would derive the types of fandangos we know today.
With the passage of time, many performers would pause and slow down the cantes to adapt them to their form and style and from them would emerge the tarantas, the granaína and a good number of cantes that we currently know as cantes de Levante (songs from Levante).. It is even possible to find the “abandolao” rhythm in the accompaniment of the fandangos of Cabra and Lucena, in some of Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha and Huelva, and in the drones of Puente Genil.
Characteristics of the cantes abandolaos
At the beginning of the 19th century, Juan Breva slows down the verdial de Vélez, serenades it and takes a step towards the aflamencamiento of the style. At this moment, this type of singing is already free. However, there are some characteristics that all fandangos abandolaos have in common:
Like all fandangos, the interludes, the introduction and the falsetas are governed by the Andalusian scale and by the ayeo prior to the lyrics interpreted by the cantaor. At the beginning of the coplas, the cante switches to the major mode. At the end, the modulation is finished again with the Andalusian scale.
This is a basic example of ternary compás, which is the air on which the Spanish bolero is accompanied.
The verse of the cantes abandolaos is a fandango. Normally, the theme of the coplas is cheerful and even jocular, since they are styles typical of moments of celebration.
The easiest way to identify the cantes abandolaos that arise from the verdial is their unmistakable compás or Spanish bolero air. The guitars strum practically non-stop before, during and after the singing.
In short, the cantes abandolaos come from the fandangos verdiales, but with a freer and calmer rhythm, and accompanied only by a guitar. And, at present, we can find them mainly in the provinces of Cordoba, Malaga and Granada. If you plan to spend a few days in the area, don’t miss the opportunity to see them!
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