THE King and Queen of Spain surprised a group of flamenco box drummers by sidling up and joining in their cajoneada session prior to a theatre show in Cadiz on Monday.

The event was held outside the Gran Teatro Falla and involved the astonishing sight of Felipe VI sitting on a flamenco box and drumming alongside a group learning how to play the flamenco box – or cajon.

King Felipe

The performance was intended to welcome attendees to the 9th International Spanish Language Congress in Cádiz – little did they realise they would attract the head of state to join in.

As the King and Queen arrived at the theatre for the opening show, ‘Tiempo de Luz’, they got out of their car and were immediately intrigued by the box-playing cajoneada.

The Queen and King then approached the two available boxes and Felipe VI briefly played one, joining in with the singing of the rumba ‘Ali oh’.

“The first cajón-playing king,” proclaimed Guille, one of the percussionists who led the performance of 62 separate boxes – or cajones

The Instituto Cervantes and the Cádiz City Council organised the cajoneada to commemorate the origin of the cajón flamenco. 

Members of the public attending the event were also free to join in.

The cajón was first discovered by Paco de Lucía during a tour of America in Peru in 1977. The sound caught his attention and he began playing the guitar with it.

The cajoneada also served as a tribute to the solidarity with Peru, especially with Arequipa, where the congress was originally scheduled to be held. 

However, due to unrest and the political situation in the Andean country, the congress was moved to Cádiz.


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