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It is one of the most festive flamenco palos, as its name suggests: the alegrías (comes from the verb to be happy), which originate from the coast of Cadiz, have been the source of different flamenco dances and styles. Today, we explain where they come from and what are the main characteristics of this popular form.

Origin of the Alegrías Flamencas

As we were saying, alegrías come from Cádiz and belong to the cantiñas family. However, its real origin is much more distant and unknown: it is believed that this song derives directly from the Aragonese jota, which the “maños” would have taken to the south during the French occupation.

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In addition, during its evolution, alegrías have been influenced by seguiriyas, fandangos gaditanos and jaleos, among others, to become what they are today: one of the most important flamenco palos and, without a doubt, the most joyful and festive of all.

Bailaora de flamenco bailando "Alegrías"

Flamenco Female Dancer Dancing Alegrías

The first alegrías recording

Although the first references to alegrías date back to 1866, specifically to the singer Francisco Hidalgo, known as Paco el Gandul or Paco Botas, logically the first recording of this style of music was not made until many years later: it is believed that the first sound evidence of the existence of alegrías dates back to 1909, thanks to Sebastián el Pena, who in fact presents them as jaleo, which serves to reaffirm the belief that they come from this palo.

Characteristics of alegrías flamencas

The alegrías have a multitude of characteristics that distinguish them from other flamenco palos, although, undoubtedly, to a layman’s ears the most striking is their distinctive beginning, which we have all heard at some time: tiriti, tran, tran tran tran….

Song and rhythm of alegrías

The alegrías share their rhythm with the soleás and bulerías, which are also developed based on a 12-beat rhythm, although they are much faster, which gives them the festive touch that characterizes them. 

As for the singing, they are composed of coplas made up of four octosyllabic verses, which can sometimes be complemented with a juguetillo or estribillo of three or four verses.

Costumes of the dancers in alegrías

Another very important aspect of the alegrías is the costume used by the dancers, who wear an ankle-length dress, finished with ruffles and adorned with ribbons or lace. 

The sleeves can be long or short, puffed or flounced. In addition, the dancers wear, as in other styles, beautiful mantillas, adorned with embroidered flowers and long fringes. As a form of dcoration, they wear flowers, combs, coral earrings and high heels.

Difference between alegrías and other flamenco palos (forms)

In addition to the announcement that alegrías will be sung with the aforementioned tirititran, created by Ignacio Espeleta as an introduction to this palo, alegrías have a series of characteristics that make them different from the more than 50 other flamenco palos:

  • They share their compás with the soleá but, unlike the soleá, they have a much faster rhythm.
  • Palo de fiesta, as opposed to the more solemn seguiriya and soleá: it encourages dancing and fun.
  • Along with bulerías, this is a rhythm that can never be missing at a flamenco party.


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