The Verdiales of Malaga are a very old cultural expression that is a real delight to see, especially because it combines celebration, history, music, dance and culture. It is deeply rooted in the province, especially in the regions of Los Montes de Málaga, Valle de Guadalhorce and Axarquía.
What are Verdiales?
The verdiales are a particular fandango that is sung and danced accompanied by an orchestra made up of a violin, two or four guitars, two or more pairs of cymbals, a tambourine, several castanets and, sometimes, a bandurria or a lute.
In the performances, this ensemble is complemented by the figure of the abanderao and the mayor, who march together at the front of the group with a Spanish or Andalusian flag or with the figure of the patron saint of the region. In addition, it was a tradition to sound a sea shell adorned with colored ribbons to warn of the arrival of the group to the farmhouses in the area.
What is the origin of the Verdiales?
The verdiales of Malaga are the oldest folklore in Europe. A genre that is the result of the mixture of cultures. Until not long ago it was thought that the verdiales were older than flamenco, but today it is known that the fandango has its origin on the island of Crete, almost 3,000 years ago. originates from the island of Crete, almost 3,000 years ago.
This type of pagan songs and dances were adopted and adapted by the church, but preserving the musical orchestration through the centuries, being essential elements the conch shells, the snapping of the fingers, the tambourines, the cymbals and the castanets, for example. Having come from the Phoenicians to the present day, after passing through the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Visigoths and the Arabs.
When are the verdiales celebrated?
The verdiales are very common in traditional festivals such as Easter or the Fiesta Mayor de los Verdiales de Málaga, where it is possible to see it live.
- Easter: One of the places where verdiales are sung and danced at Easter is in the Ermita de Verdiales, located in the Montes de Málaga. A church very dear to all fans of this musical genre, because inside is the patron saint, the Virgen de los Dolores.
- Festival of the Verdiales: On December 28th takes place in Puerto de la Torre the Fiesta Mayor de los Verdiales, where it is possible to see all kinds of verdiales. No less than 25 pandas are participating. And, at the end, prizes are awarded to the best.
- Verdiales Day: every year, on the crosses of May, in the hermitage of the Three Crosses, located between Alora, Pizarra, Almogía and Cártama, four processions of these four municipalities are held.
Different styles of Verdiales
One of the peculiarities of the verdiales is that there are three different dance styles: Comares, Almogía and Los Montes.
- Verdiales Comares type: this style is the richest from the musical point of view.
- Verdiales Almogía type: Is the fastest of the three.
- Verdiales Montes type: is the favorite of the people of Malaga, the one they enjoy dancing the most. It is sung with a tambourine of a larger diameter than other styles.
Where are the verdiales sung?
Since its origin, the verdiales have evolved very little, retaining their primitive character and authenticity. Unlike other artistic manifestations that have been denaturalized, these have continued to be transmitted from parents to children uninterruptedly until today.
One of the areas that has been best able to maintain the tradition has been the Axarquia region. Axarquia region, where there are several villages that have verdiales pandas, such as Comares, El Borge and Benagalbón. A cultural manifestation that is still very present in this area, especially in the festivals and fairs that are organized throughout the year. But they can also be seen in other towns already mentioned, such as Cártama, Pizarra, Álora or Almogíaand in the area of the Montes de Málaga.
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