How to distinguish a chirigota, a comparsa and a choir

One of the most celebrated and visited carnivals in our country is that of Cádiz, which during these days celebrates day and night in its streets. It is a tradition whose first records date from the end of the 16th century and that it has resisted all kinds of prohibitions, such as that of Fernando VII in 1816 or that of the first years of Francoism. An important part of these parties are their verses, in which one way or another is done derision and denunciation with the present social and political of the city, Andalusia and the country in general.

This 2020, in addition, these celebrations have a special look, since they will be the first to be celebrated after the death in 2019 of two illustrious composers in the last decades: Juan Carlos Aragon, winner of five first prizes, composer of more than 40 works and whose reputation transcended the carnival, rising as a leading voice within Andalusianism and social denunciation. Y Manolo Santander, winner of the contest nine times, key in the construction of the classic viñera chirigota (referring to the La Viña neighborhood, in the historic center of Cádiz) and author of the unofficial hymn of the Cádiz Football Club.

When is Carnival in 2020?  How is that date decided each year?

Although it was from the Silver Cup the best known may be the chirigota for his casual tone, in the contest of carnival groups there are three more genres: the comparsa, the choir and the quartet. Although in the city and a large part of the province of Cadiz people are familiar with these styles and know how to differentiate them, in the rest of the country there is usually some confusion regarding when one modality or another is sung and all are mistakenly called «chirigotas «.

Therefore, below we will see how is each gender different, which like every year compete for more than a month in the Gran Teatro Falla. An appointment that begins the carnival of the capital of Cádiz, properly speaking.


It is the most humorous and popular style outside the province of Cádiz. Its structure consists of a presentation, two pasodobles, two cuplés and a potpourri. The first and last pieces are usually related to their type, while the others tend to deal with freer topics in general. The pasodobles move between criticism of the present and the search for ingenuity more sarcastic from the start, depending on the author. While the cuplés do look for humor openly, more literal and open.

Among his great teachers we can find Selu, to Vera Luque, to José Guerrero Yuyu or the sadly missing Manolo Santander. It can also be recognized by the number of components, as they must have a minimum of seven and a maximum of twelve.

carnival grouping on the street in Cadiz


Share one structure identical to that of chirigotas: two pasodobles, two cuplés and a potpourri. His style is more lyrical, being something similar to a poetry intoned together with critical references to current affairs, leaving humor only, as a general rule, for the cuplés.

Among the great names that have made the comparsa the other great modality together with the chirigota, we can include the mythical Antonio Martin, the most successful composer; already Paco Alba, the creator of this genre. Antonio Martínez Ares, Pedro Romero Baro, Joaquín Quiñones, Tino Tovar and the aforementioned Juan Carlos Aragon they are other illustrious of the category. They must have between 12 and 15 members.

Choirs and quartets

They are the two easiest modalities to identify. In the choirs the number of members ranges from 12 to 45, in which 35 must be voices and 10 orchestra, and its themes are usually refer to the costume that the group is wearing and to the present. His repertoire is made up of presentation, tangos, cuplés, choruses and potpourri. Among its historical figures are Julio Pardo, Luis Manuel Rivero Ramos, Antonio Rivas and Faly Pastrana.

The quartets are a kind of little theater that can carry three to five people. Among the instruments that are accompanied, we can find keys or sticks, whistles and occasionally a guitar. The repertoire It is divided between parody, cuples and free theme. Without a doubt, their highlight is parody, where they represent a situation in which the different characters make you laugh from the finest irony.