Mochileros and Aguilanderos

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GPS: 37.3454221 | -4.4230908

Once All Saint’s Day has passeed the sounds of zambombas and tambourines can be heard in three villages of Rute (Zambra, Nacimiento Zambra and Las Piedras- Palomares). The groups of «mochileros», that will perform until the day of Christmas Eve, begin their rehearsals. During the Christmas Eve night they will visit the neighbours’ houses and the farmhouses of the area to sing both the oldest carols known and some new ones.

The lyrics are of oral tradition, passing from parents to children and from some areas close to others. We can  find  different kinds of lyrics, from the purely religious to pagan and the traditional «aguilando» ones. The songs are always started by the same person called «sacaor», the others continue the song while they play the instruments with the characteristic sound of the area (the triangle formed by these three Rutean villages). Some instruments used are simple houses utensils and others made by the members of the group themselves: zambombas, tambourines, castanets, pestles, cañarracas, rattles, curled bottles, chicharras, cymbals, etc. Tradition dictates that the mochileros and aguilanderos go out to ask for the aguilando (a small Christmas token, sweets or small sums of money), singing their carols on the night of December 24. In each housea set of songs is sung that the «sacaor» chooses spontaneously. At present, mochileros contests are held throughout the Subbética aimed at maintaining this tradition in which the three groups of the villages of Rute are essential: Mochileros from the «Rianzur» Neighborhood Association, the Mochileros from Las Piedras y Palomares and the Aguilanderos of Zambra. The Mochileros of the Neighborhood Association «Rianzur» are known for constantly innovating in their lyrics and its instrumentation, but maintaining the essence of a genuine group of mochileros. The Mackpackers of Las Piedras y Palomares are the most traditional, they sing oldest songs and have always maintained the tradition of going out to sing on December 24th. The Zambra Aguilanderos recovered this tradition 7 or 8 years ago, collecting old songs, thanks to the elders of the village; although they are famous for their new lyrics. They chose to use the name «Aguilanderos» because the group usually sings about «asking for the aguilando».

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