We’ve all heard the word in English people, in Spain, the term folklore and folklore is widely used. All these terms, whether English or Spanish, come from or are adaptations of German. volk, which means “town”. Associated and well known terms are volksgeist (a romantic concept that refers to the “people’s spirit”; something like a national spirit) or Volkswagen (“people’s car”; a carmaker that emerged through Nazism in the thirties to create a car within reach of all Germans) .
Folklore is an English term coined by the British antiquarian William John Thoms in 1846. people It is the people, as we have seen, traditionIt means tradition. This way, Spanish folklore would come to refer to those traditions of the peoplewhich we could also call popular culture. Popular culture would be that which springs from the people, from the streets, from the villages, without the mediation of a professional elite, which manufactures or pre-manufactures.
When talking about popular culture, on the other hand, reference is usually made to cultural products such as those with no known author, as if they were the result of a collective effort. The art of the troubadours would be popular, like all mythology, works like The Song of Mio Cid or the old wives’ tales compiled by the Brothers Grimm in Germany (among them Hansel and Gretelany snow White). Thus, a work like Don Quixote any the bus, would cease to be properly considered popular culture. This would refer to products broadcast, recited, staged and consumed by the common people or people.
Naturally, popular culture has been the basis of much of Spanish culture. However, in the 20th century, with the introduction of many new technologies and wider modes of distribution, popular culture has tended to be less prominent than it once was. If popular culture was what people lived and breathed firsthand, with new media there was an intercession and consumption of many more “intervened” products.
Said that, Defining popular culture can be tricky. To give two examples, the Jazz and flamenco are musical genres much appreciated by the cultural and economic elites, although they are clearly popular products, even coming from marginal environments. There are those who today understand that the culture of the people must be identified with products such as reggaeton, Bad Bunny, David Bisbal and other products commonly considered as corny. This way, popular tastes would be identified with the so-called “bad taste” or tacky taste.
However, the Jazz and flamenco or blues They are products from economically oppressed areas, folkloric in the strict sense. Not only that, but throughout the history of rock – music traditionally much appreciated by the middle and upper classes – it has been an eminently working-class and even marginal product. The Beatles came from the working class, as did Jimi Hendrix, the Eagles, James Brown, almost all black musicians in soulBruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Nirvana and countless other artists.
Popular and folkloric culture gained new life as it was revalued in the popular imagination in the most diverse ways.
Even so, it seems that when we talk about folklore and popular music we mean something else: things like, for example, paquito or chocolate, pasodoble composed in 1937 and premiered at the festival of the Moors and Christians of Cocentaina, the city of its author, Gustavo Pascual Falcó. In recent decades, this type of music, so “from the center”, so immediate, was rejected by people who aspired to be cool, differentiated or snobalways interested in Anglo-Saxon music and arts.
Although, lately there seems to be a return to cañí, more ironically. An aesthetic paradigm that feeds off popular culture, giving it some ironic twists. This is the case of the last album by C Tangana, whose last album, the man from madrid, has been very successful, using flamenco singers and popular aesthetics to sell something that some today consider new. Also figures like Lola Flores are being justifiedin this case no longer ironically, relating her in the world of culture, perhaps in a somewhat forced way, with current figures such as Rosalía or, again, C Tangana.
Just like in the 80s and 90s, calling a daughter Manuela was considered something typical of people from the interior, to later come to be considered something cool, as this name was used with a certain irony and legal distancing, today folk aesthetics, once more typical Hello! and village festivals, gained new relevance through a certain distance and ironic recycling. Let’s say that popular and folk culture gained new life by being revalued in the popular imagination in the most diverse ways.