Malagueña canaria, the most sentimental of songs

The malagueña canaria is a type of folk dance and song typical of the archipelago whose origin comes from the traditional malagueña and the Andalusian fandango of the province of Malaga. Over time, the Canarian malagueña has been adapted and sweetened, adopting its own identity in rhythm and cadence.


Malagueñas have been present in the Canary Islands since the 18th century. It is a sad, sweet, even melancholic song and its main themes are usually love and the mother. It is the piece most often used to sing to loved ones and it could be said that it is the opposite of the isa canaria (in this link you can learn more about it) in terms of the feeling it generates in the audience, who remain silent, showing respect and even emotion. The malagueña represents the most sentimental song of our land.

Malagueña canaria danced in chorus

The varieties of malagueñas differ according to the island, but they are generally made up of four repeating octosyllabic verses. An exception to this is seen in the malagueñas of Lanzarote, which are composed in quintuplets. As the Canarian malagueña is descended from the Andalusian fandangos and verdiales, it has undergone a considerable transformation in its musical structure, becoming slower and slower.

The dance

The dance of the malagueña is a collective dance of five or more couples, although, like the singing, the dance can vary depending on the island. Most commonly, when dancing a Canarian malagueña, the couples are arranged in choruses, figures and braided tunnels, very similar to the dance of the isa. The choreography consists of the couples forming a chorus, with the man on the left, facing the woman, and both with their backs to the other couples.

Couples dancing the Canarian malagueña canaria

The dance starts on the spot for several bars. When the half turn is indicated, the men do it on the outside and the women do it on the inside, and then dance another series of bars with the opposite couple.

When the mandador indicated the complete turn, the man would turn to the left and advance along the outside of the choir, and at the same time, the woman would turn to his left and, making a turn, would move along the inside, until she was with the new couple.

Differences of the Canary Island Malagueña between islands

As we have already mentioned, the singing and dancing of the malagueña varies from island to island. In Tenerife, the malagueña is more leisurely and solemn, while the malagueña of Gran Canaria is more lively and animated.

Couples dancing the Canarian malagueña canaria

For its part, the malagueña of Lanzarote, as well as having a song structured in quitillas, differentiating it from the rest of the islands, also differs in terms of the style of dance, being more spectacular and elegant.

On the island of Fuerteventura the malagueña is called malagueña de tres tiempos or malagueña de los novios. The latter is usually performed in the taifa dances in honour of the bride and groom.

Couples dancing the traditional Canary Island malagueña

If you have never seen or heard an authentic canarian malagueña danced or sung, here is a video of this sentimental song. a video of this sentimental song.

Paula Vera



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