Cadiz Carnival: The choral groups contests


There are several different ways of enjoying the carnival in our country, depending on the place you go. In some cities of Spain it is a very special event, more complex than just looking for a costume and going outside with it for a day. A clear example is the one celebrated in Cadiz (in Andalusia) that causes a huge excitement in their citizens.
This year the carnival will be celebrated between the 8th and the 18th of February, but there are also other official events during January, this is way it is already possible to see and enjoy the amazing colors and atmosphere. The 13th and 14th January they already organized the popular fairs where some musical ensembles with their chirigotas and comparsas took place: this is what gives the Cadiz Carnival its authenticity.
Meanwhile, the 9th of January had started at the Falla theatre the very expected Official Contests of Carnival Choral Groups (COAC, in Spanish acronym), whose coplas, relatives with some flamenco genres, are shown on the stage to decide the bests ones of each category: chirigotas, comparsas, coros and cuartetos, that differs by the number of participants and themes.
The ensembles appeared in this edition are 139 and will have to pass some trials to reach the final contest of the 9th of February, when only four ensembles for each category will have the chance to reach the final. The choral groups are usually from Cadiz, but in the last few years the participants from other places of Andalusia and even outside Andalusia have increased a lot. The interest generated by the event is very high and therefore the tickets that are put up for sale for each round of the contest are sold out in a few minutes. It is also followed with expectation through televisions, local and regional media.
The criteria to evaluate the performances is the original content of the lyrics, the scenography, the performers’ costumes and the vocal quality of the ensemble; aspects that have been prepared ad hoc for every edition and they only have 30 minutes to show them to the judges and audience.
The most classical categories (and those that are most followed) are chirigotas and comparsas, that present some differences that deserved to be known.
Chirigotas are determined by a humoristic content. The costumes and lyrics always have a satirical purpose and are usually addressed to current political and social topics. The ensembles are composed by a chorus between 7 and 12 people and include singers, guitarists and percussionists. The winner group last year was this.
On the other hand, comparsas have a more serious and careful purpose, having the lyrics a more poetic meaning. The components in this case increase to 15 members, and are musically conformed like the other genre. They also touch the latest political and social trends. The 2017 winner was this.
Despite the competitive nature of COAC, the goal is to enjoy the carnival atmosphere and present this peculiar side of Cadiz Carnival to everyone. For this reason the theatre is not the only place where you can see these ensembles: in fact during the carnival week you can see lots of ‘unofficial’ music bands all over the city.
Cadiz Carnival is one of the three carnivals that have been recognized by our country as a Festival of International Tourist Interest. For the mentioned reasons and many others, from Spaneasy we invite you to follow the news about this huge event and to visit it if you have the chance.


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