Flamenco rumba, a style with cuban rhythms
Flamenco rumba is a festive style of flamenco, derived from the Cuban rumba known as guaguancó. During the 19th and early 20th century, thanks to the trade relations between Latin America and Spain, different musical styles were imported.
These styles gave rise to flamenco palos, such as the tango and, derived from it, the rumba, although with greater speed and abandoning the misfortune so typical of it.
As with other musical styles, it is not entirely clear what the origin of the rumba flamenca might have been. What is unanimous is that the joyful rhythm is reminiscent of the guaguancó, the guaracha and the rumbitas campesinas, all of which originated in Cuba.
The rumba is a derivation of the flamenco tango, so from the mixture of all these styles, it was born in what nowadays is one of the most popular dances in parties and celebrations. It is a palo that competes in joy and energy with bulerias.
Also known as chuflas, one of the most flamenco cities in Andalusia, along with Seville, Cadiz, had a special relevance in its settlement. In fact, the first flamenco rumberos are from Cadiz, like the flamenco singer Pepa de Oro, one of the pioneers of this genre. The rumba boom occurred in the 1960s, with artists like El Chaqueta, Beni de Cádiz and Chano Lobato, among others.
The rumba dance: happy, percussive and fast
The flamenco rumba is a style with different tonalities (major, minor, Dorian or Andalusian modal). In fact, not only is it one of the most danced to, but any song can be adapted to its rhythms, which is why we find that many artists use it to make flamenco variations to their songs.
Some like Ricardo Gaberre, known as “El Junco”; Paco de Lucía; Los Chunguitos; Los Chichos; El Fary; Las Grecas; Azúcar Moreno, Rosario Flores or Los del Río.
As for the compás, the flamenco rumba consists of a binary compass. However, what most characterizes it is a guitar strumming that accompanies it during the singing and whose origin is found in the Cuban rumba mentioned above.
The dance also has some characteristics that make it unique, as it is very movable. It plays a lot with the shoulders, the hip and the pelvis, emitting a certain sensuality, which also reminds us of Cuban dances.
Another element is the percussive sound of the palms, since they mark the times and accompany this dance that is so joyful that, normally, flamenco dancers do it alone, with exaggerated movements, torsions of the body and very marked movements, almost like convulsions.
It is one of the flamenco dances that lends itself best to improvisation, since although characteristic flamenco steps are used, the real juerga arises when you let yourself be carried away by the rhythm and music.
The catalan rumba: a derivation of the flamenco form
Another of the best known forms of flamenco rumba is the Catalan rumba, which was born in the gypsy community of Barcelona in the 1960s. It is said to be a derivation of flamenco, since although it has similar rhythms, it also contains some differences that make it a musical genre in its own right.
It is a fusion of Catalan and Andalusian songs, always with the base of Cuban rumba. In its interpretation, it involves singing, dancing, guitar, bongos, pieano, electronic keyboards and even timbales. Artists of the stature of Antonio González “El Pescaílla” or Peret, took her from Barcelona to the national and international scene.
In the 1970s, Gato Pérez brought the genre closer to jazz and salsa, giving another twist to the Catalan rumba and moving it further and further away from the flamenco rumba that had been heard until then.
Be that as it may, the important thing is that when you listen to a rumba flamenca you dare to dance to it and let yourself be carried away by the rhythm of its music.
Would you like to learn the steps and rhythms of this dance? With our online course of Flamenco Rumba, taught by the dancer Marisa Risu, you will learn everything you need to be able to start in any party. Enjoy flamenco by feeling it and living it.