Ravenna Flamenco

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More Fiesta Navideña 2007: Garrotín

posted in performance on january 5th, 2008

Here’s another "new tune" we added for the winter 2007 Peña show (in addition to the Bamberas, posted below): the Garrotín. The Garrotín, like the Farruca, has its origins in the folk music of Northern Spain. Garrotín, however (from what I’ve seen, anyway), is even less commonly performed than Farruca, so this has been a fun number to work up – and, I hope, a fun number to see performed.

Garrotín is danced with a hat. Oddly enough, this did not lead to much hilarity in the studio during rehearsals. I’ve always sort of figured that props automatically lead to hi-jinks, but not the case here. I guess that’s what I get for thinking like a third-grader. Actually, the hilarity came from a more adolescent direction: You’ll notice that this dance has a rather "saucy" edge to it, what with all the sashaying and shoulder circles. On one of a very few occasions where I’ve seen Rubina actually lose it laughing while singing, a certain dancer (no, I won’t say who) took advantage of one of these shoulder rolls to peel off her sweater – a move which quickly degenerated into a stripper-esque circle over the head and sweater-fling into the palmistas.

Not exactly a shy group, this one.

Tomfoolery aside, the hat actually manages to find its way into the letras of the cante. Robin Totton, in Song of the Outcasts, gives the translation of Rubina’s first verse as:

Ask my hat my hat will tell you of the sleepless nights I spend driven out in the cold by you. Ay garrotín, ay garrotán, on the eve of St. John.

Not quite as cheery as the song might suggest – and, evidently, not quite as frivolous as Garrotín lyrics usually are. That’s flamenco for you.

But enough chatter – here’s the clip. As with the Bamberas, you can see part 2 by following the link that comes up when the first half finishes. As always, if the window gives you any hassles, check out the videos directly on the Peña’s YouTube channel.

Mind your hats!


tags: garrotin, peña, festival
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