In the first phase of the competitions, 15 men and women dancers participated, joined by 8 groups from Japanese dance schools who will not participate in the selection for the La Unión Festival, in addition to Ken Nagata, winner of the contest annually organized by ANIF .
There was great success in the Japanese response to the selection process for the International Festival del Cante de las Minas 2015. Of more than 100 registered artists, 28 performed today, although only 15 men and women aspire to having a place next August at the La Unión contest. In addition, the audience packed the venue of the Nakano Zero Hall Theatre in Tokyo, hours before its official opening.
Japanese participants were from different parts of the country, and displayed their art on the stage of the theater for a mixed jury with the delegation of the Cante de las Minas Foundation, and experts chosen by the Nippon Association of Flamenco, ANIF.
The Spanish representatives are the Coordinator of the Cante de las Minas Foundation, Manuel José Navarro Jiménez, and his technical advisor, Juan Carlos Albaladejo Montoro, as well as writer and journalist, winner of the National Prize of Flamencology and regular contributor to the Festival, Juan Vergillos. They highlighted the quality of the Japanese artists participating in the event, and their great desire to earn a place in the competitions of the 55th Festival del Cante de las Minas.
The President of ANIF, Jiro Hamada, expressed his «deep heart-felt appreciation» to the Cante de las Minas Foundation for bringing their event to Japan, and added that «this collaboration is very important because it represents a new door to intercultural collaboration between the two countries, thanks to flamenco «. Hamada also explained that so far, the most popular element in Japan is flamenco dancing, but with the visit of the Cante de las Minas, increased interest can be expected in flamenco artists and fans in singing and guitar.
In addition to today’s 15 official contestants, 8 groups from Japanese dance schools, such as «Cheers Studio», «Candela Studio», «School Hiromi Fatamura» and the «Company Yoko Kaji» also took part. Not surprisingly, the enormous appeal of flamenco art in Japan makes for more than three thousand schools devoted to its teaching, with more than one-hundred thousand Japanese citizens taking classes.
Along with the dance groups, Ken Nagata, winner of the annual contest organized by ANIF flamenco in Japan, also performed.
Tomorrow, Saturday, is the second semifinal in which a total of 33 artists, between guitarists and dancers, as well as 2 previous winners of the contest ANIF in Japan will perform.
At around 8:30 pm (local time in Tokyo), the official presentation of the Festival del Cante de las Minas in Japan will take place, with the participation of the Coordinator of the Cante de las Minas, Manuel José Navarro Jiménez. Guest artist, Spanish guitarist, musician and composer Cañizares will perform, an artist who has won prestigious awards in our country, such as the «National Guitar Award 1982» and the «Music Award 2008».
Cañizares was the first and only flamenco guitarist ever invited by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. In his European Concert, Cañizares played «Concierto de Aranjuez» with this orchestra, under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle at the Royal Theatre. He also collaborated with Paco de Lucia for 10 years, and has shared stages and recordings with great artists such as Enrique Morente, Camarón de la Isla, Serrat, Alejandro Sanz, Mauricio Sotelo, Leo Brower, John Paul Jones, Peter Gabriel, Michael Brecker, Mike Stern, Al Di Meola, Peter Erskine and The Chieftains, among many others.
Alongside Cañizares, two previous winners of the contest organized ANIF in Japan every year will also perform at the official gala presentation: the 1997 winner in singing, Taka Ishizuka, and the winner in dance in 2001, Shiro Ijuin.