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One of the most characteristic flamenco palos and one of the most joyful, typical of the Jerez area: in this post we talk about bulerias, must at any flamenco party. Read on to learn all about this dance.

Origin of Bulerias

It is commonly accepted that bulerías come date back to the end of the 19th century, when the singer Loco Mateo finished his soleás with a much faster and livelier palo in Jerez de la Frontera. There is another version of its origin, which places the bulería as a descendant of the jaleos.

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At first it did not even have its own name, but was called chuflas, and was considered the least important part of the singing, guitar playing and dancing. It was not until 1910 when this rhythm received the name by which it is now known, thanks to the Niña de los Peines, one of the first bulerías dancers.

Bailaores bailando "Las Bulerías" en el Palau de la Música Catalana

Dancers dancing “Las Bulerías” in the Palau de la Música Catalana

Characteristics of Las Bulerias

Bulerías is a boisterous, cheerful and festive palo, with a very fast rhythm and rhythmic beat, which lends itself to jaleo and clapping and, therefore, it is usually the dance with which all flamenco juerga is finished off: the members form a semicircle and all of them go out one by one to dance a part of the piece.

Compás de Las Bulerías

In terms of rhythm, bulerías are similar to alegrías and soleá, but they are much faster, based on  6/8 or 3/4 time. In addition, there are two types of bulerías depending on the speed at which they are performed: one is a little slower, known as bulería for dancing or por soleá, and the other is faster, the bulería ligada, designed for dancing.

Tonality of Las Bulerías

Bulerías can be played in a major key, just like cantiñas, seguiriyas cabales, garrotín, tangos and rumbas. Likewise, other types of bulerías are in a minor key, as well as the farruca, the milonga and petenera, as well as some alegrías and a type of cantiñas from Córdoba.

How many types of Bulerias are there?

Like almost all flamenco palos, there is not only one type of bulerías, but depending on the meter, the tone, the rhythm or even the theme, we can distinguish up to 8 different types of bulerías.

Bulería por soleá

Also known as bulería for listening, for dancing, for singing or soleá por bulerías, it is considered an independent style, with the same tempo and meter as soleá, but with a distinctly different melody.

Jaleos and bulerias from Extremadura

It is difficult to distinguish jaleos from bulerías, since both the rhythm and the hand clapping are very similar, so it is necessary to pay attention to the melodies and the tonality, the two aspects that make it possible to recognize this palo. Although the jaleo was booming throughout the 19th century, when it was played at all the parties in the singing cafés, it began to be lost when the soleá and bulerías began to evolve each one in a different direction. We owe its reappearance and preservation to the gypsies from Extremadura.

The Bulerias of Jerez

The bulerías de Jerez or bulerías por fiesta give maximum importance to the rhythm, while they are more flexible in the cante, of half compás. They are, for this reason, a palo for dancing. They can also be divided into two subtypes, named after the two most important neighborhoods of Jerez: San Miguel, in which the first sung lines are repeated, and Santiago or bulerías cortas, in which the lyrics are sung in one go.

The Bulerias of Lebrija

Also known as bulerías arromanceadas, this is a slower singing rhythm with very marked beats, which makes them more difficult to dance. The greatest exponent of this type of bulerías are those of Antonia Pozo, which are considered the most characteristic of Lebrija.

The Bulerias of Utrera

Here, however, the absolute protagonist is the guitar, although the lyrics also have a peculiarity that brings this paló closer to the cuplé: instead of focusing on quarters, the lyrics tell a complete story.

The Bulerias of Moron

Distinguishes this type of guitar playing, different from all the others: it is very complicated to explain, since it is based on small nuances, but very characteristic to the ear when listening to it.

Cuplé por Bulerías

In this case, a song is taken (usually a copla, but it can be any other style, even a tango) and sung according to the rhythm of bulerías. Some famous cuplés por bulerías are Volver and Voy a perder la cabeza por tu amor.

Famous Bulerías

Bulerias are a hugely important style of flamenco, which has been played by many singers of the highest level. Here are some examples of famous bulerías, so that you can enjoy the joy and rhythm of this flamenco style.

  • Bulerías de Jerez, by José Merce
  • Rocío Jurado and Tomatito –
  • I don’t want to be a cantaora, Niña Pastori
  • Camarón de la Isla and Paco de Lucía


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