Giraldillo and Juan Carmona
Sevillanas: Cosas de Dos
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A popular sevillana has it that the Virgin of El Rocío, patron saint of Sevilla's gypsy quarter, loved sevillanas, but carrying her babe in arms, she could not join in las palmas, the traditional syncopated hand-clapping accompaniment. Taking note, the baby Jesus asked her to set him down so he could sing a bit while she clapped along. This whimsical folk narrative captures the sevillana's down-to-earth nature and its participatory character, which dissolves the formal separation between singer, musician, dancer and audience, or for that matter, between the sacred and the secular.
"Cosa de dos" is an expression of relationship between melody and verse, or (more poignant and ambiguous) between a woman and a man. As a folk-dance genre, the sevillana remains a hugely popular form in Andalusia, where it also enjoys a privileged association with the dramatic religious pilgrimage from Sevilla to the shrine of El Rocío over the course of several days every May (according to legend, once you have made the journey, you are bound to return). It may be impossible to capture in the studio El Rocío's collective euphoria, the exhausting, wine-soaked, all-night song sessions around campfires along the way. Still, the duende spirit of that transient, transcendent communal fiesta suffuses this pulsating collaboration between flamenco guitarist Juan Carmona and the male vocal quartet Giraldillo. The bilingual (French and English) notes are rather sketchy (nothing about El Rocío there), but a transcription of the Spanish lyrics allows closer study of the sevillana's poetic form, and hints, however vaguely, at its vital relationship to El Rocío. - Michael Stone