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Silverio Franconetti

(Photo: Javier Hurtado)


A flamenco form with a mixed compás - combining 3/4 and 6/8 time (a feature that drives music experts to despair). The seguiriya (also written sigueriya, siguiriya or seguirilla) takes its name from the Castilian 'seguidilla', a musical style to which it is related, literarily at least. It is considered the quintessential style of 'cante jondo', for its solemnity, the minimalism of the lyric, and the wailing 'quejío' associated with vocal performances. Seville and Cadiz are the homelands of this palo; Triana, Jerez and Los Puertos are also seguiriya landmarks. And Manuel Molina, Paco la Luz, El Loco Mateo, El Fillo, Curro Durce, El Marrurro, Enrique el Mellizo, Silverio Franconetti and Antonio Chacón are some of the most famous performers associated with this form. Closely related to the seguiriya we find the cabal, a more light-hearted tune which rounds off a series of seguiriyas and is sung with a different harmony (shifted to a major key). From the same family and with an identical compás structure, we find the martinete (a style which originated in the forges sung by the smiths), the debla (based on the framework laid down by Tomás Pavón), tonás (with their roots in romances, and each christened with a theme drawn from the lyrics: ‘del cerrojo’ - the bolt on the door, ‘del cristo’ - of Christ...). Lastly there are the carceleras (jail songs), the difference here being that they are sung ‘a capella’, with no musical accompaniment. Also related to the seguiriya we have the liviana and the serrana, originally with a pastoral theme. These cantes were folk songs which gradually acquired a flamenco flavor, and which have a fixed melody, the lyrics sung in long drawn-out lines. Dancing to seguiriyas, as with singing, is an intimate, low-key, solemn, austere matter, and this constitutes one of the essential styles in the repertoire of professional bailaores. In its origins, the gypsy seguidilla was danceable, according to Machado Álvarez, although Vicente Escudero is often credited with taking the seguiriya into the realms of dance. Whilst some artists, such as Manuela Carrasco and María del Mar Moreno, treat this ‘palo’ in a strictly traditional manner, others like Antonio Canales use its structure as a springboard for innovation, speeding up the compás to extremes to introduce striking, vigorous percussion sections.

Compás pattern: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Audio clip

Chocolate: 'A clavo y canela'

Sample verse:

No soy de esta tierra
Ni en ella nací
La fortunilla rodando, rodando
Me ha traído hasta aquí

I'm not from this land
I wasn't born here either
Fate, with its wanderings
Has brought me to this place

Guide to palos

Back to index: fandangos, soleá, seguiriya, tangos, de ida y vuelta, cantes de Levante...

Recommended playlist
'Por Siguiriyas'
Sólo Compás
'Maestros del cante'


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