That Carnival is something absolutely inherent to Cádiz Everybody from Cádiz knows it, every Andalusian and almost in all probability every Spaniard. In winter, Cádiz smells of shrimp omelette and Carnival, in the streets, in the squares, in the bars… and before the whole city dresses up and dresses up for a party, also in the Great Falla. Every good lover of Carnival longs to get on that stage to show off that ironic and scathing humor that goes hand in hand with the Cadiz Carnival. But not everyone gets it.
José Yélamo, however, is more of the second than of the first. Because the presenter of laSexta has managed to fulfill a dream and participate in one of the chirigotas of the Official Contest of Carnival Groups (COAC), and what a joke! He admits he is “very tired” and stressed but also “with the bug.” “I go down every week to rehearse. Since the last week of September I have downloaded all of them, except the one for the November long weekend… It is a very big sacrifice. It’s exhausting… but it’s worth it. And we’ve only sung for one day”, the television presenter and artist assures laSexta.com, always with a joke in his mouth. “They’re going to give me a plaque in Renfe”.
The truth is Being a chirigotero living in Madrid is not easy, and that is precisely the reason why Yélamo could not do it before. “I was born in Cádiz, but my life led me to leave the city at the age of 16 or 17,” he recalls, and so many years living “away” and “professional obligations from Monday to Friday” are two situations that are incompatible with the life of an artist carnivalesque. “You have to rehearse a lot, for four months“, he explains. “Now I’ve been in the Sixth Xplica for a year, which is a weekly program, and although you work a lot, everything is concentrated around the weekend,” he says. And then the light bulb went on: why not dedicate Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to rehearse? This is where it all began.
I’ve been a Carnival rogue since I was little
But not everything depends on one’s will, even more so when a chirigota is a relatively large group of artists who have to come to an agreement for their rehearsals. That is why Yélamo also appreciates the “generosity of Antonio Álvarez”, better known in the world of the Carnival of Cádiz as the Bizcocho: “I called him in September, I told him that I am a picao Carnival since childhood and that for me it would be a dream… but with my limitations I couldn’t rehearse every day,” he says. I could, however, do it three days a week. “And he opened the doors for me.”
Yélamo’s participation in Los mi alma, the name with which the Bizcocho chirigota was presented this year to the COAC, depended to a large extent on his degree of commitment. “I have taken it so seriously that I have been going every week to rehearse to San José de la Rinconada (Seville). Every week I stand there to be at the level,” he says, proud. Not without the approval and help of his entire family and of course his wife, Paula del Fraile, also a journalist at laSexta. “They have all helped me meet this dream.” Also his daughter, who accompanies him on most of his trips to Andalusia —”What a merit! The poor thing is putting up with all the trips…”—.
El Bizcocho, black and intelligent humor and a trusted friend
The reason for the moment is already explained; the reason for the chirigota, not so much. Yélamo chose the Bizcocho for several reasons: “First, because my friend Juanmi, whom I love very much, is already a member of the chirigota”, he explains. He and “other ordinary people” were his link with the author of the group, of whom he already had “very good references, both on a personal and artistic level.” “Bizcocho’s humor is black, it has a very clever double meaning. It is what I like the most about him, I think he is an oxygen ball for the jokes, in need of the type of humor that he does, “he says proudly.
Personal ties and the type of humor are part of choosing your carnival destination, but there is also “a practical thing” behind it all. “It would be impossible for me to go down to Cádiz every week,” she says. The rail connections between Madrid and Cádiz are not comfortable —the trains are not as frequent, there is no high speed and the journey takes more than four hours—, or at least not as much as they are at Seville, where he rehearses the bizcocho chirigota. “The truth is that his chirigota met all the conditions and they have also made it very easy for me,” he says, grateful.
The rehearsals continue, waiting to know if they pass the phase
The performance of Los mi alma was one of the first and since then it has not had many rivals. The video of the performance in the preliminaries has close to half a million views, and although the official score of the jury is not known, everything seems to be looking good. Those who don’t know the how COAC scores work They must know that the evaluation of the judges is absolutely secret and is not known until the phase is changed: once the preliminary is over, the names of the groups that go to the quarterfinals will be announced, but not the points obtained , although the points of the groups that do not go to the next phase will be announced.
However, throughout the COAC there are a number of alternative thermometers to see how the rankings are going. They are not official, and they do not always meet the criteria of the jury, but they can be used to measure which are the most valued or the least in each edition. And according to the unofficial and alternative juries of various media, The my soul have many chances to pass the phase: They are among the first in all unofficial COAC assessments.
It makes sense, since that was precisely his strategy: since when you go from the preliminary to the quarterfinals the score does not carry over (that is, all the groups that go to the quarterfinals start from 0 points), There are those who prefer to spend this first phase covering the file to be able to give everything in the following phases. This is not the case of the Bizcocho chirigota: “We hit hard in the preliminaries, and I think we have managed to make a difference,” says Yélamo. Why? Because they have “a lot of repertoire”, and not only that, but they trust “a lot” in it. “So there we are, with the bug, trying to perfect the repertoire to maintain the level.
On Saturday, February 4, Yélamo, el Bizcocho, his friend Juanmi and the rest of the joke will know if they pass the phase or not, but what this journalist from Cádiz already has is the reaction of the people. “I am totally overwhelmed with love that I have received”, he affirms. Until now there were people who recognized him as a television journalist, but now they stop him to ask for photos because of his role as a chirigotero. “We are in a cloud… There are people who have even tattooed a little ghost, or phrases from the repertoire… I have also seen dolls of ghosts and videos of children freaking out with the joke…”, he says, happy. The Bizcocho joke is already coming out contracts all over Spain but “the best”, affirms Yélamo, “is yet to come”: “Especially on the street… because we are looking forward to going out“.
Bruce is a talented author and journalist with a passion for entertainment . He currently works as a writer at the 247 News Agency, where he has established himself as a respected voice in the industry.