There are between 50 and 100 flamenco styles (“palos”), although the exact number is still debated. What we do know is that they all have a definite personality… Can we imagine it?

In a great genealogical tree, flamenco branches out into styles which in turn are capillarised into subtypes including localities and areas of origin.

And as among the members of a family, each stick has defined its character. Each has its own identity constructed through stories and narratives.

Bulería, the mocker

The bulería is one of the most joyful flamenco “palos” and at the same time one of the most complicated to perform. Its name could derive from the word bullería and, this, from bulla: shouting, bustle… There is no jaleo or flamenco party that does not have a bulería in its repertoire. Of course, it must be said that the bulería by soleá, the soleá by bulería, by fandangos, etc., etc. etc. are not the same.

However, it seems that most researchers see the origin in mockery, mockery, as in the case of Blas Vega’s opinion. If this were the case, it would be “the place of mockery”, a place to have fun and celebrate with irony. The ironic and funny lyrics that are sung to this rhythm support this theory. “Little funny songs”, wrote Demófilo in 1881.

As the maestro Manolo Sanlúcar said in 2015, “at a party in Jerez, a woman breastfeeds her child playing palmas by bulerías and that doesn’t happen in China”.

In this video, the queen of bulerías, La Paquera de Jerez.

Tangos, the African joy

Because of its binary metric, tangos may seem to be the simplest palo, although it has infinite variations. The tientos are one of them. It is also a lively, joyful palo, which can be longer or shorter depending on whether it is from Cádiz, Málaga, Extremadura…

There is a rhythmic cell of African origin that slaves brought with them to America. This is how the musicologists of Camerata Flamenco Project explain it. This style gradually became integrated with the locals, but such was its sensuality that the Catholic Church tried to ban it. It wasn’t enough. This has given rise to the Uruguayan candombe, the Argentinian tango, the habanera and, once they arrived in Cadiz, the flamenco tango.

The queen of tango is La Niña de los Peines. Camarón de la Isla takes it all over the world in Como el agua, composed by Paco de Lucía’s brother, Pepe de Lucía.

The seguiriyas, quejío

Although the word seguiriya could even find its origin in the archaeological site of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka, Antonio Manuel, author of Arqueología de lo jondo, argues that it comes from Andalusian Arabic, where seguiriya is a “drunkenness”, an ecstasy. But the most widely accepted is that it is an Andalusian way of saying “seguida”, so it is valid to speak of seguirillas, as well as seguidiyas, sigueriyas… depending on the local dialect.

This is a sober and plaintive flamenco form. In fact, the quejío has even more presence than the lyrics. It is therefore the style by “lo jondo”, and there are as many variations as there are artists. Vicente Escudero is considered to be the one who shaped it in dance. Pilar López added the castanets. Before, it was the cante of Antonio Chacón, Silverio Franconetti or Tomás Pavón.

Fandango, the Adam of flamenco styles

This style is one of the oldest flamenco styles, so it has a more complex history and has been influenced more than most. Influences ranged from Portuguese fado, Moorish music, and Indian music to Aragonese jota.

The fandango with a very marked personality is that of Huelva, the preservation and promotion of which is the objective of the provincial peñas. And then in different styles depending on the locality. In summary, there are 32 styles of fandangos de Huelva distributed in 9 localities.

Among its greatest exponents, Paco Isidro and Antonio Rengel. Also Sabicas, Marchena and Niño Ricardo. Manolo Caracol, cantaor from Seville, “invented” his version, the fandango caracolero.

Much more contemporary is this fandango bythe company “Emilio Ochando y Cía”. The complete show defends the bolero school, folklore and flamenco.

Sevillana, who doesn’t want to be alone

Some of the most popular festivals in Spain, such as the Feria de Sevilla or the Romería del Rocío, have sevillanas as their soundtrack. And, although it is debated whether it can be considered a flamenco palo or an alien but “aflamencao” style, sevillanas have become, especially outside Spain, the flagship of flamenco.

They danced with a couple in front of them and these couples in turn formed “corros”. The sevillana is performed in four parts, which are said to represent the four phases of love: the first, getting to know each other; the second, falling in love; the third, getting angry; and the last, reconciliation.

Rumba, the flamenco girl-pop

The flamenco rumba is possibly the most popular palo today. You only have to look at social networks or Spanish terraces when the good weather arrives to know that rumba is the most flexible and catchy flamenco palo (style) Perhaps this is because its scope is very broad: it receives influences from different parts of Africa and America, especially from Cuba, a cante that goes back and forth.

But, where does it go back to? To Catalonia. For this reason, the flamenco rumba ended up becoming a sub-genre, the Catalan rumba.

Related to the Cuban peasantry, the dancers adopt a looser aesthetic, with loose-fitting shirts and skirts, in light and cheerful colors.