World Flamenco

afillá a type of hoarse, earthy flamenco voice. Not to be confused with afila (one letter 'l'), based on afilada Andaluzian pronuncation, which means cutting or sharp.
alante stage front. Andalucian pronunciation of por delante, meaning to be in front. Can mean a cantaor whose skills are strong enough to lead at the front and center of the performance stage when use as p'alante.
Alegrias A joyful dance, in compas of 12 beats, from Cadiz. The origin is in the jotas of Cadiz - traditional folk music of Aragon, brought to the Andalucian region by soldiers during the War of Independence in the early 19th century. The main characteristics of this style are the richness of its guitar accompaniment, the intricacy of the dancing, the demands of its difficult rhythm, and its lively sound. Descendent of the Soleares family.
Andalucia region from southern Spain; birthplace of Flamenco. Consists of the eight provinces of Almeria, Cádiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga, and Sevilla.
arpegio a chord whose notes are played in succession, not simultaneously
atrás stage rear. Andalucian pronunciation of p'atras, meaning to be behind. Based on the word por atras, meaning behind.
Ay Spanish term representing either sorrow/pain or happiness by the singer based on the context of the act.

baile the dance
bailaor{a} dancer (male & female)
bout body of the guitar
braceo movement of the arms during the dance
bulerias High-spirited song & dance from Jerez. This developed like Soleares from a simple style. However, unlike Soleares, it has a fast and lively rhythm - indeed, the fastest in all flamenco - and provides enormous scope for improvisation on the part of dancers, singers and guitarists. It is wild, frenzied and lively, but nevertheless contains the germ of sorrow that is almost always present in flamenco.

cabales Flamenco experts. These individuals fall into a category beyond aficionado and can distinguish the various forms, tempo, beat pattern, and variations on styles. Andalucian term for someone with honor and respect.
café cantante    coffee house with flamenco shows (originally starting with flamenco cante but eventually covering all flamenco forms)
cajon percussive instrument similar to an empty wooden box
calo language of the gypsies
caña     Caña, also very closely related to Soleares, is one of the oldest forms of flamenco, and one of the most pure and beautiful.
cantaor{a} singer (male & female)
cante song
cante chico light song, more frivolous
cante jondo deep song covering both the dark and serious aspect of Flamenco
cante grande    more profound song
carcelera type of tonás sung by incarcerated gypsies
Caracoles This is one type of cantiñ which appeared in Cadiz in the mid-19th century. It became strongly associated with Madrid, although it is essentially from Andalucia, like all flamenco music. Curro Cuchares and 'El Tato' who worked in the bull-rings and were also good singers took this style to Madrid where it became very popular. Later it was recreated in a masterly way by Antonio Chacon, who gave it its present brilliance and vitality.
cejilla capo on a guitar
colombianas flamenco style influenced by South American rhythms
compás beat, rhythm, measure, the characteristic rhythm of a form
copla verse
cuadro group of flamenco performers, including dancers singers, and guitarists

danza mora a style influenced by the Moors of North Africa (stands for Moorish Dance); guitar 6th string tuned to D
debla     toná with religious overtones
desplante section of a dance, as in "desplante por bulerias", performed after the "llamada". May range from several steps to several compass depending on the choreography
duende the soul force that inspires flamenco art

entrada entrance of the dancer
estribillo a flamenco phrase


falda skirt
falseta a melodic variation played by guitarist
falsete high pitched voice
fandango a dance from Huelva; cante chico
farruca A spectacular male dance, one of the more recent forms of flamenco. Its origin is perhaps in some chants from the North of Spain. It is never sung when played in the pure flamenco idiom. As a dance or as a guitar solo, it is a very dramatic piece.
flamenco music/dance from Andalucia in Southern Spain. Roots in Indian, Arabic, Spanish cultures.
floreo movement of the hands


gitano gypsy
guajiras a style influenced by Cuban rhythms


hondo deep, profound


juerga flamenco party or jam session
jaleo utterances of approval, encouragement. Recognition of the duende
jondo variation of hondo most often associated with flamenco dance


letra verse of a song
llamada "call" or "break", dance movement signalling a change of section


malagueñas a free form flamenco style (no specific compas, interpretive, and not danced) from Malaga. Descendent of the Fandango family.
manton     embroidered silk shawl with long fringes
marcando    movements of the dancer during the letra
martinete    toná sung by the gypsies in a forge; refers to hammer


palillos    castanets, not used in pure flamenco
palmas     rhythmic hand clapping used to accompany flamenco song and dance
palmeros    men that clap while the musicians play
petenera    Cante that is out of the mainstream, derived from Andalucian folklore. The folklore behind this is that the word is a corruption of "Patenera" who sang the cante and came from Paterna de la Rivera. It is considered by the superstitious to be bad luck to play.
picados     flamenco scales on the guitar
pitos     finger snapping used to accompany flamenco song and dance
planta     sole of the foot
polo     flamenco song derived from the Soleares family
punta     toe of the foot
punteado    plucking technique


quejío lament


rasgueado    guitar strumming technique
redonda     flamenco voice
rondenas    another free-form style; it uses an alternative tuning for both 3rd and 6th strings
rumbas     another flamenco style influenced by New World rhythms; strumming characterized by damping the strings with the whole hand for syncopation


salida     exit of the dancer
serranas    same compas as siguiriyas, but played in E instead of A so has a different mood and texture, though some of the same variations can be transposed
siquiriyas/seguidillas    profound cante jondo
soleá/soleares    cante jondo called the mother of flamenco song. Consists of 12 beats with accents on the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th.

tablao club with stage for flamenco shows
tacaor/tocaor    flamenco guitarist
tacon     heel of the foot
taconeo     footwork
tango     baile chico, flamenco song & dance
tanguillo    flamenco song and dance dervied from the tango
tarantas    another free-form style
tarantos    this one is danced, so has a compas, and is related to the tarantos in key, etc.
tientos     cante jondo, derived from tango
tocaor/tacaor    flamenco guitarist
tonás     basic flamenco song. The earliest known.
toque     guitar playing
toque compás    guitar playing with fixed patterns of rhythmic beats
toque libre    guitar playing with free form rhythm
tremolo     a rapid fluttering of a guitar tone or alternating tones

zapateados needs very fancy footwork; the compas speeds up, slows down, and speeds up again and is a showcase for dancers (zapato means shoes). Derived from the tango.

Agua        Water! It's so hot I need water!
Asi se baila    That's dancing!
Asi se toca    That's playing!
Asi se canta    That's singing!
Eso es        That's it!
Hassa        Great!
jaleo        Ale, ole.
          Possibly from the 12th century call "hala"
          Possibly from the Arabic: Allah!
Toma que toma    take it!
Vamos alla    go there!
Vamo' ya!    Let's go!