The debut of the dance company of the Cante de las Minas and the guitarist Niño Josele complete an extraordinary program for the next edition of the Festival of La Unión.
Repercussions still reverberate from the recent news of awarding the International Festival del Cante de las Minas the Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts, the official opening of Las Minas Flamenco Tour with the sponsorship of Minister García-Margallo and the audience with His Majesty the King to give the Chief of State the Gold Medal of the Festival of La Unión, just when the flamenco event has returned to center-stage with the presentation of the program that will be offered this summer with a first-class roster of artists. In such complicated economic times, it is gratifying to see how La Unión is able to reinvent itself year after year and surprise people with proposals of this level, with activities practically prohibitive for any other music festival.
The legendary flamenco tablao Corral de la Morería, home of Cante de las Minas in the capital of Spain, was once again the perfect setting chosen by the organization to formalize the act, which was attended by over forty national and international accredited media, which gives an idea of the high impact this event generates.
Following comments by the General Director of the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music, Miguel Angel Recio, and the Minister of Education and Culture of the Region of Murcia, Pedro Antonio Sánchez, who described the excellence of the Festival and the huge projection it has acquired, consolidating it as the most important of its kind, it was then time to speak for Francisco Bernabé, Mayor of La Unión, Executive Chairman of the Cante de las Minas Foundation and the driving force behind this event in recent years.
The Director General of Performing Arts and Music, Miguel Angel Recio, said, «This festival stays at the top thanks to its excellence, quality, momentum and the work of many people and institutions. It is”, he added, “the highest expression of the love this country feels for flamenco as part of our culture.»
The Minister of Education and Culture of the Region of Murcia, Pedro Antonio Sánchez, pointed out «the effort has been made to put the event on the international map of culture, becoming the clear leader in our region” and he praised the “improvement and innovation that has taken place with the backing of his electorate.” Sánchez concluded saying «La Unión and the region are more alive than ever during the days the festival is celebrated.»
Following an introduction by Francisco Bernabé in which he explained the latest developments of the Las Minas Flamenco Tour, the banner under which international editions of the Festival will be held, he announced that «for the first time in history there will be a national tour of our own production, with the winners of the contest that forms an integral part of the Festival. As of October, and debuting in Madrid, the main theaters of the country will be visited.”
And lastly, singer Carmen Linares, who will be performing in the festival and is to receive the Gold Castillete, referred to Cante de las Minas as «one of the most important flamenco events since its inception thanks to the level of artists who have performed there, but with a greater international projection”. The artist joked «I participated in one of the contests, but what you’ve made of it since then!», to which she added, «when I get up on stage I’ll be like a bowl of jello, but I’ll surround myself with my people and drink from their inspiration.»
In La Unión Carmen Linares will present her show “Remembranzas” which includes her best artistic memories, and she will be accompanied by dancer, Javier Barón and pianist, Pablo Suárez. It is a recital which «includes styles of the local culture and which pays tribute to some of the great masters who have left us in recent years such as the maestro Enrique Morente».
Bernabé, following an introduction in which he explained the latest developments regarding the Las Minas Flamenco Tour, the official brand under which international editions of the Festival will be held, led into the presentation of the program of the fifty-fourth edition of the event, which will fill the warm nights of August in La Unión with magic and passion.
August 7th is the opening day when, after the opening keynote speech of journalist Luis del Olmo, winners of the 2013 Festival will perform: singer Jeromo Segura (Lámpara Minera prize), dancer Eduardo Guerrero (Desplante prize) and bass player Pepe Bao (the Filón prize). Admission to this event is free.
On August 8th the gala flamenco shows get underway, the first with Miguel Poveda, to be followed in this order: guitarist Niño Josele and the Dance Company of Cante de las Minas (both on the 9th), Carmen Linares (the 10th) and Sara Baras (the 11th). On the 12th, Estrella Morente, director of the Cátedra de Flamencología del Cante de las Minas and this year’s honored figure, will put the icing on the cake for this edition of the Festival. She will perform a recital of flamenco singing, followed by the interpretation of «El Amor Brujo» of Manuel de Falla, accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of the Catholic University of Murcia under the direction of Roque Baños.
Beginning August 13th the Cathedral of flamenco singing will host three consecutive days of semifinals in song, guitar, dance and instrumental flamenco. Those who are chosen finalists will compete on Saturday, August 16th in the grand finale in order to be worthy of the coveted trophies of Las Minas.
The Festival’s cultural agenda warrants special mention with the attendance of writer Arturo Pérez Reverte, bullfighter Juan Antonio Ruiz «Spartacus», film director Fernando Trueba, chef Quique Dacosta and journalist Carlos Herrera, all of whom will receive the Gold Castillete of the Festival, its highest institutional distinction. They will be joined by the Ambassador of India in Spain, Sunil Lal, who will come to collect the Catedral del Cante prize which recognizes his nation for the promotion and dissemination of flamenco.
The presentation ended with a performance by the winner of the last Lámpara Minera prize, singer Jeromo Segura, who was accompanied on guitar by Rosendo Fernandez, offering a performance that impressed everyone with the quality and variety of the interpretations that included mining songs, cantiñas, fandangos, and two songs of the maestro Pencho Cros, which he dedicated to singer Carmen Linares «because thanks to her I have a fine profession which is well-considered.»
NATIONAL TOUR OF FESTIVAL WINNERS
Another great piece of news announced by Bernabé is the start-up of a national tour for the first time in the history of the contest, in which the winners of the Festival will visit major cities of Spain to perform in a show produced by the Festival and called «Dando el Cante.»
The project, promoted by Las Minas Flamenco Tour, will debut next October in Madrid, after which it will visit major theaters in Murcia, Huelva, Cáceres, Albacete, Jerez de la Frontera, Bilbao, San Sebastian and Vitoria.
A TRULY LUXURIOUS AUDITORIUM
Well-known artists, journalists, politicians and businessmen gathered at Corral de la Morería to see the new elements of this year’s Festival first-hand, something which has always been maintained strictly secret until the presentation.
The former were represented by Carmen Linares, Niño Josele, and Oscar-winner Fernando Trueba, who attracted the attention of all eyes and cameras.
From the world of politics were the Secretary of State for Trade, Jaime Garcia Legaz, Court deputies such as Teodoro García, Lourdes Méndez, Teresa Lara and Belén Bajo, and senators Pedro José Pérez, Benito Marín, María José Nicolás and Pedro Manuel Hernández. Among the audience, from the national government of Spain were senior representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the General Director of Corporate Affairs of the Spain trademark, Ignacio García-Valdecasas, the General Subdirector of Public Diplomacy, Ricardo Díez, as well as the Ministry of Tourism, Antonio López de Avila, president of Segittur, and Marta Blanco, General Director of Turespaña.
At the diplomatic level the Special Ambassador of the Dual Year of Spain and Japan, Eduardo Aznar, and the Chinese Minister of Culture in Spain, Zhuang Lixiao, two Asian nations soon to be destinations of Las Minas Flamenco Tour in the coming months.
From the media, aside from the dozens of journalists who covered the event, were represented by the presence of Antonio Lucas, keynote speaker of last year’s Festival, Juan Ramón Lucas, also a keynoter and holder of the gold pin of the La Unión contest, who came with his spouse, model Sandra Ibarra. Restauranteur Lucio Blázquez did not want to miss the event, nor did the Director of the National Ballet of Spain, Antonio Najarro.
In addition, representatives of several of the sponsors of the festival were present such as Acciona, Banco Mare Nostrum (Cajamurcia), the Corte Ingles and Lycar.
Tickets for the Festival will go on sale starting June 1st at the Tourist Office of La Unión and in all centers and sales platforms of the Corte Inglés.