Farruca, an elegant style of flamenco
Flamenco in Seville is one of the intangible assets that Andalusia possesses. This art, however, has many variations called “palos flamencos” (styles of flamenco). After a tour of other palos, such as sevillanas, bulería, tango and even soleá, in this article we will focus on one of the least known by the public: farruca.
The farruca is said to be one of the most recent styles of flamenco, as it became popular in the first half of the 20th century.
However, as with the origin of flamenco itself, there is no clear opinion on its history, and there are two schools of thought:
On the one hand, there is the current that considers it a derivation of zarzuela. On the other, those who believe that farruca comes from the north of Spain, more specifically from Galicia and Asturias.
Flamenco in Seville: the farruca
In this line, there is also controversy, as the origin of the term “farruco” is not clear. According to the RAE (Royal Spanish Language Academy Dictionary), “farruco” is that haughty and insolent person, adjectives that were previously used in South America to designate Galician and Asturian migrants.
However, it is also part of the slang of this northern area, to which the diminutive suffix “-uco/-uca” was added, so it is believed that farruco is the affectionate name normally used among Galician and Asturian relatives.
Be that as it may, one of the origins of farruca is located in the north of Spain and alludes to the popular songs that were brought by workers to Andalusia in the mid-19th century. Later, in the 20th century, Andalusian flamenco artists would listen to these songs and make them more flamenco, giving rise to the flamenco form we know today.
The jump to flamenco is said to have been made by Manuel Lobato “el Lobi”, as he was the first to perform the flamenco version of this popular song.
However, the flamenco singer Manuel Torre was in charge of creating a four-by-four composition (the usual rhythm of tangos), with lyrics included, which made the farruca officially known. It was so well received by flamenco enthusiasts that it was consolidated as a flamenco form.
Well-known singers such as El Mochuelo, Pepe Marchena and Manuel Pavón, were some of those who incorporated the farruca into their flamenco repertoire.
In fact, farruca began to be seen in flamenco in Seville with the arrival of Manuel Torre to the city in 1887.
The journey of the farruca up to this moment is centred on the cante, as the dance appears at the beginning of the 20th century, just when farruca is considered to have consolidated itself as a style of flamenco by right.
One of the leading figures of this style was Francisco Manzano, known as Faíco, whose family of artists was known as Los Pelaos and whose uncle, el Gato, was considered the creator of the farruca dance.
Farruca is a flamenco dance in which the male figure predominates, especially because of the style used to dance it: raised arms, controlled markings and a sober character, shown especially in the zapateado. So much so, that many female dancers decide to wear trousers instead of the usual flamenco dress to dance a farruca.
The farruca was very successful in the flamenco tablaos of Seville, Madrid and Barcelona, because it is a new and different flamenco palo. So much so that in 1958 Antonio Ruíz Soler “el Bailarín”, took the farruca to the theatre doing a reinterpretation of Falla’s work, “El sombrero de tres picos”, in which he introduced one of the most famous interpretations of this flamenco palo: La Farruca del Molinero.
See a live flamenco show in Seville
As we always say, the best way to enjoy any style of flamenco, including farruca, is to go and see a live flamenco show. At Cuna del Flamenco our artists take a journey through the origins of flamenco, dancing sevillanas, bulerías, tangos, alegrías, farrucas, etc.
After the flamenco show, our artists get off the stage so that you can take pictures and chat with them about flamenco curiosities and exchange impressions. You can also visit our Poster Museum, with our collection of posters from the Seville April Fair.
Book your ticket online at any of our three daily passes. Olé!