"I want you to mow a little barley. It is in the middle of two columns that hold my soul. They reaped seven sheaves and at twelve they rise up. Do not go cutter that you forget the pay. He has given him two thousand doubloons in a handkerchief from Holland. " These extracts from carol The reapers they talk about male prostitution. And it is not the only example of eroticism and sexual freedom that, in these days, can be heard in the famous zambombas of Jerez de la Frontera. Excited women, priests who have "a band-aid" with the maid or incestuous relationships sneak into the lyrics, although some date from the Middle Ages.
Transmitted from generation to generation, some of these characters and spicy situations are implicit there from the romanceros of the thirteenth century to the present, when they are sung at Christmas parties that are celebrated in the streets of the town of Cadiz. However, they were so latent and internalized in the collective imagination that until now an investigation has not contextualized and brought them to light. The jerez historians Miriam Orozco and Pablo Collado are behind this analysis that has found up to 40 letters in which, under the pretext of Christmas, they talk about sex, anticlericalism, romantic relationships and even feminism.
"The carols are popular expressions of the feelings of the people and the erotic is also part of it," advances Collado. Both experts began to analyze these songs in June 2017, with a double objective: detect hidden erotic references and establish the origin of the lyrics. This is how they have managed to draw parallels between carols that are still sung by the flamencos of Jerez with texts from medieval literature from the 13th or 14th centuries. Historians hope to publish their findings in a scientific article next year.
In these centuries of the Late Middle Ages, the erotic found accommodation in the fabliaux, popular satirical fables recited by minstrels in which there was no qualms "to use words like pussies or yards," says Orozco. From that time, the composition dates The bastard princess and the reaper, that today is sung like the Christmas carol The reapers and that "it is an evident example of the transmission of medieval romances", as Orozco explains. It tells how a peasant ends up sleeping with a young noblewoman for money and he ends up murdered.
This story, according to the researcher, connotes a feminist vision: "The woman in medieval literature had a greater sexual freedom than what came after, is not a period as dark as it is believed." In fact, this openness was met with the fierce opposition of a Church whose censorship ended up being imposed on written texts. But, while in the coming centuries the image of the woman mutated to an untouchable and virginal ideal in these texts, in the oral tradition the freedom lasted. "What is written can be censored, but what is spoken is not," says Collado.
Thanks to the custom of singing popular Christmas carols on the street, in Jerez the erotic and anticlerical lyrics remained alive and showed the clash with religious censorship. It is the case of Being a band-aid, a letter that tells how the maid of a priest "gave birth to a little priest with a cloak and cassock" and he, who gives the baby a wet nurse, ends up having another child with the nurse. For the researchers, the story has similarities with the Archpriest of Hita's taste for proving sin in The book of Good Love
The centuries passed and the mischief, more or less hidden, rallied repressions and continued to be a source of inspiration. In the XVIII, the carol of The Micaela, the "hot" woman to whom the doctor puts his hand on different parts of the body until he reaches where she exclaims "there, there, there". "It's that second reading that keeps them alive. People have not been fully aware of what they were singing, but maybe they were repressed. In fact, many are surprised when we explain the true meaning of the carols ", Orozco rivets with a mischievous smile.