Cadiz Carnival Guide - Singing Group Types

Cadiz Carnival Dates

CADIZ CARNAVAL: SINGING GROUPS AND SONG TYPES

There are several types of singing groups and songs at the Carnaval. They perform both at the theatre in the official competition, and also on the street. All wear fancy dress.

TYPES OF GROUPS

Chirigotas - humorous groups of around 10 which perform topical satirical pieces. They are largely male, and accompanied by guitars, kazoos (buzzing instruments), cajas (box-drum) and bombos (floor drums). Play on carruseles in the street after the competition has finished. This group is one of my all-time personal favourites - check out these costumes.

Estepona's Chirigota © Sophie Careull

Coros - larger groups (around 30) which perform serious and humorous pieces, accompanied by stringed instruments such as guitars and lutes. Tend to be more balanced men to women. After the final, the coros are taken around on carruseles (see Order of Events, below). See a short film about coros.

Comparsas - most serious singers at Carnaval, with critical songs, in groups of around 15. More elaborate musical arrangements. Accompanied by guitar, kazoo, caja (box used as drum) and bombo (floor drum). Click here to see a comparsa

Cuartetos - perform improvised comic scenes. Can be three, four or five. Accompanied by kazoos, guiros (hollow, ridged gourds played with stick), pitos (reed whistles) and claves (clicking sticks). The last of the four types of groups who enter the contest.

Romanceros - Solo acts who perform in street. They carry signs with comic illustrations to explain what they're singing about.

Illegales - amateur singing groups (don't compete in the competition) which play in the street, accompanied by guitar, drum and whistles. Usually groups of friends or family.

TYPES OF SONGS

Presentation - introductory piece to explain the group's characterisation, or tipo (although their costumes will already have given you an idea). Style of music is free and unstructured.

Parodia - most important part of cuarteto's performance: conversation between its members.

Cuple - sung by the chirigotas, comparsas, coros and cuartetos (see Types of Groups, above) - short, satirical songs whose chorus is related to the costume and tipo of the group.

Pasodoble - longer song without a chorus, and usually serious and topical. Sung by comparsas and chirigotas.

Tango, with gaditano rhythm, is sung only by coros, accompanied by their instruments; mostly poetic compositions.

Potpourri, sung by all groups, changing lyrics of well-known recent songs or other music, according to the group's tipo.

The lyrics of the songs are the key, with their witty references to current events and newsworthy personalities, and several writers are well-known for consistently producing clever compositions. They include Sevillano Antonio Burgos, Juan Luis Aragon, Juan Manuel Braza Benitez (El Sheriff), and Francisco Jose Fernandez Diaz (Tote).

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