Flamenco Cantinas is not really a flamenco genre, the term rather defines a range of cantes (or styles of song) that all have the same base rhythm. Cantinas are generally live, happy songs; some of the more well known styles are the alegrias, mirabras and caracoles.
All the styles included in Flamenco Cantinas are festive genres. They are indispensable at any flamenco get-togethers, very loud and happy with short lyrics, very suitable for dancing.
The basic meter of the Cantinas is resembles the bulerias, which means it is a 12-beat meter:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
As far as the guitar playing goes they are generally following the same pattern as the bulerias and solea, but are structured around major keys. The alegrias in A major, the mirabras in E major and so on. The variations are directly dependant on the tonalities, which is the basic key of the song. Rhythmically they are often played as the alegrias style.
Technically I would say that these are some of the toughest styles, particularly the alegrias. You would use every flamenco technique frequently, such as alzapua and picados and this requires a good degree of concentration, whereas in the heat of a party the loudness of the background noise can quickly throw you off balance.
Because it is such challenging to play these styles correctly I always find the satisfaction of a good performance very enjoyable, especially if it’s accompanied by a few drinks afterwards, and I often think about these kinds of parties.