The Farruca is a dramatic, dance-centric form charactized by sombre virtuosity, aggressive footwork, and dramatic shifts in tempo. 

"Farruco/a" is a slang term used in Andalucía and Latin America to refer to someone from the Spanish provinces of Galicia or Asturias who is far from home. The flamenco form Farruca has little to do with the music of northern Spain, though some of the melodic themes associated with the farruca are reminiscent of tunes from Galicia.

The Farruca was created by guitarist Ramón Montoya and flamenco dancer Faíco. Based on the Tangos Gitano, it is a four-count form with a strong emphasis on the first beat. It is in a minor key, as opposed to the major phrygian mode usually associated with Tangos Gitanos.

Please reload

For many years, La Farruca was performed exclusively by men and without singing. Leading male artists, including Vicente Escudero, Antonio Gades and José Greco have created famous versions of this dance. Great women dancers such as Carmen Amaya and the contemporary dancer Sara Baras have also created well-known versions of the dance. More recently, within the past fifteen years or so, cantaors have been brought back into the Farruca, performing traditional letras.

Featured Farruca Video

Baile: Fernando Jiménez Torres

Farruca Form

Because the Farruca serves primarily as a vehicle for the display of virtuosic dance movement, the form of any given Farruca is shaped by the choices of the solo dancer performing the piece. The dance has an improvisatory air, and sections of the dance are fluid and interchangeable.

 

For example, the dance can begin with a falseta on the guitar or with solo footwork. It can start slowly, with the dancer walking dramatically across the stage, or it can begin with a flurry of virtuosic footwork, rapid turns, or a series of elegant stances.

The opening section of the dance generally ends with a characteristic llamada that leads to a new section of the dance or to the letra, which the dancer interprets impressionistically.

With or without a letra, the piece builds to a long footwork section or sections, escobilla/s, which may be marked by an acceleration - subída - from a slow, dramatic pace to rapid fire footwork.

 

  • Salída

  • Estribillo/s

  • Letra/s

  • Llamadas and Remates - traditional and contemporary

  • Traditional rhtyhmic patterns for footwork and estribillo/s

These parts all have a functional role in support of the dancer's rich display.

 

Farruca Compás y Palmas

The basic pulse of a Farruca is a simple four-count pattern with the accent on the first beat.

V            V

1  2 + 3  4  1  2 + 3  4 

The palmista works with the guitarist to support the dancer and the singer.

 

In this example, Katerina starts with the basic pattern  and then varies it throughout, ending the phrase with Stephen on the third beat of the final bar.

 

Farruca Baile

Featured Alegrías Video

Baile: Sara Baras and company

What makes this video special - Featured dancer Sarah Baras reveals the beauty, power and choreographic possibilities of a modern baile farruca

Even the most meticulously choreographed Farruca can seem improvised, as the dancer struts at a majestic pace from one virtuosic display of footwork to the next. Within the series of struts and displays, there are certain identifiable moments in a Farruca that hold the performance together.

 

The most important of these moments is the llamada. Whether played slowly and lyrically at the end of a letra or quickly at the end of a subida.  This clear, strong harmonic pattern marks the major sections within her performance.

Although every performance is different, the dance usually moves through the folowing sections:

 

The dance opens either with a falseta or simple, rhythmic chords on the guitar. The dancer enters, setting a slow, steady rhythm for the guitar. If there is a singer, they will sing the salida (Tran, Tran, Treido . . .) The dancer's entrance may include traveling sequences, marking steps, turns, footwork and long sections of choreography. This will usually end with a subida in which the dancer increases the tempo, ending with a llamada.

 

The sound and stance of the llamada is both standardized and original - it always sounds the same rhythmicallly, and with a standardized melodic phrase on the guitar.   The dancer can vary the look of the llamada according to personal taste and style

The dancer's llamada will often include stamping sequences and a typical cue as follows: perform a stamp on count 1, hold count 2, step back or forward on counts 3, 4, and 1, and then perform a redoble on counts 2 & a 3.

 

The following two sets of 4 count phrases are interpreted by the dancer percussively and with body movements.

If there is a singer, they will sing a letra that the dancer canl interpret choreographically, possibly punctuating it with short bursts of footwork - remates. This is followed by a longer escobilla, a long footwork passage. The alternating pattern of letras and escobillas will eventually accelerate and lead to a llamada.

The final section of the farruca is generally a series of long escobillas in which the dancer shows off their footwork, technique, power, endurance and charisma. The performance may end on stage with a series of llamadas or with the dancer exiting the stage. Dancers can also cue a finale song to end the dance (a remate), usually por Tangos in the Farruca key: Tangos Piyayo.


 

 

Farruca Toque

Sample Farruca Toque

Toque: Marija Temo

The basic compás for Farruca is a bar of E7 with a distinctive melody (b-c#-d- b) on the second string followed by a bar of A minor.

E7      Am       E7     Am

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 

The four-bar llamada that ends long phrases in Farruca sounds like a standard cadence in A minor.

Dm      Am       E7     Am

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 

Dm      Am       E7     Am

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 

Farruca also includes a four bar phrase comparable to a turnaround in jazz that the guitarist uses to return a piece to its original tempo after the dancer has accelerated the tempo for a footwork passage.

F       Am       E7     Am (silent)

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 

The accompaniment for the letra in Farruca closely follows the melody, without room for variation and substitution found in more traditional flamenco forms. However, the letra is distinguished by surprising changes in tonality and modality, and with a sometimes irregular length.

Am. E7  Am      C      B-7b5

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

A      F.   E7  Am     Bb

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 

Am      F   E7  Am

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

 

Farruca Cante

Sample Farruca Cante

Here is a sample of a traditional Farruca letra.

The song begins with the traditional salida (tran, tran, treido), a series of nonsense syllables imitating the sound of the strumming of the guitar.

Una farruca
Una farruca de galicia
Amargamente lloraba

Que se le habia muerto el farruco
Que la gaita le tocaba 

A woman from Galicia
Cried bitterly

 

The man from Galicia has died.
How the sound of the Galician bagpipes touched him

 
Studio Flamenco
(626) 403-7489
stephen@mojacarflamenco.com