World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Carnival of Cádiz

Article Id: WHEBN0007091213
Reproduction Date:

Title: Carnival of Cádiz  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Andalusia, Cádiz, Fiestas of International Tourist Interest of Spain, Cincomarzada, Toro embolado
Collection: Cádiz, Carnivals in Spain, Visitor Attractions in Andalusia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Carnival of Cádiz

Poster advertising the 1926 Carnival of Cádiz

Los Carnavales is one of the best-known carnivals in Spain. The whole city participates in the carnival for more than two weeks each year, and the presence of this fiesta is almost constant in the city because of the rehearsals, recitals, and contests held throughout the year.

The main characteristics of the carnival in Cádiz are the acerbic criticisms, the droll plays on words, stinging sarcasm, and the irreverence of parody. While some carnivals, elsewhere in the world, stress the spectacular, the glamorous, or the scandalous in costumes, Cádiz distinguishes itself with the cleverness and imagination of its carnival attire. It is traditional to paint the face as a humble substitute for a mask.

On Saturday, everyone wears a costume, which, many times, is related to the most polemical aspects of the news. However, the Carnival of Cádiz is most famous for the satirical groups of performers called chirigotas. Their music and their lyrics are in the center of the carnival.

Musical groups

The most famous groups are the chirigotas, the choirs, and the comparsas.

The comparsas are well-known witty and satiric groups that train for the whole year to sing about politics, topics in the news, and everyday circumstances, while all of the members wear identical costumes. There is an official competition in Teatro Falla, where many of them compete for a group award. Their songs are all original compositions and are full of satire and wit. Each comparsa – whether a professional group or one made up of family members, friends or colleagues – has a wide repertoire of songs. They sing in the streets and squares, at improvised venues like outdoor staircases or portals, and in established open-air tablaos (tableaux) organized by the carnival clubs.

The chirigotas are the groups of people (like the comparsas) that sharing a costume and singing together, performed a full repertoire of songs about current topics but with in a humoristic way, unlike the comparsas. The chirigotas´ tunes are happier as well as their lyrics even though they can address the same subjects as the comparsas. They also compete in the Teatro Falla for the awards.

The choirs (coros) are larger groups that travel through the streets on open flat-bed carts or wagons, singing, with a small ensemble of guitars and lutes. Their characteristic composition is the "Carnival Tango", and they alternate between comical and serious repertory, with special emphasis on lyrical homages to the city and its people. The costumes are, by far, the most sophisticated and elaborate of all.

[ Other groups can be found in the streets: the quartets (cuartetos), that, oddly, can be composed of five, four, or three members. They do not bring a guitar, only a kazoo and two sticks, that they use to mark the rhythm. They use set-piece theater scenes (pre-written skits), improvisations, and music, and they are purely comical.

The minimalist carnival groups in Cádiz are the romanceros, perhaps the oldest, and, certainly, the most invariant carnival representation in Cádiz throughout history. A romancero is a single costumed person who brings a big easel on which posters help him to tell a story with images. The romancero recites humorous verses while pointing at aspects of the pictures and drawings with a long stick.

A choir singing at the Carnival of Cádiz

Musical forms

Specific musical forms have evolved at the Carnival of Cádiz over the years. In the beginning, popular music was used, and tropical rhythms were mixed with popular European dances and songs; only the lyrics changed. Near the end of the nineteenth century, the musical identity of the Carnival was already mature, and, although most of the names (tango, pasodoble, couplet, etc.) are shared with other musical forms around the world, their melodies, rhythms, and character are unmistakably original.

  • The Presentation is the first piece sung to present the characterisation of the group, called its tipo. The style of the music is absolutely free and unstructured. It can take the form of a well-known form, an original composition, or even a spoken-word recitation.
  • The Couplet is sung by the chirigotas, comparsas, choirs, and quartets. They are short satirical songs with a refrain that is always related to the costume and the characterisation (tipo) of the group.
  • The Pasodoble is a longer song without a refrain, and it is usually (but not always) serious, criticising something that happened during the previous year or rendering an homage to someone. They are sung by the comparsas and the chirigotas.
Gran Teatro Falla, the venue for the main contest of chirigotas, choirs and comparsas during the twenty days before the Carnival.
  • The Tango, with its characteristic gaditano rhythm is sung only by the choirs, accompanied by their orchestras, and they are mostly poetical compositions.
  • The Potpourri, sung by all of the groups, changing the lyrics of well-known songs of the year or any other kind of music, sometimes depending on the group's tipo.

Beside these, other musical forms, including short improvisations and theatrical skits are featured, mostly by the so-called illegal chirigotas, murgas, or callejeras, that don't submit to any rule or contest. They just roam the streets singing and performing as they wish.

The contests

The best known contest among chirigotas, choirs, comparsas, and quartets in Cádiz is the 'Official Contest' at the Gran Teatro Falla, that finishes just before the first Saturday of Carnival. It is broadcast by the regional television and radio stations. Other contests take place before, during, and after the Carnival, usually organized by institutions and private clubs,

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.