Nine countries and three continents will receive the Cante de las Minas Festival over the coming months

The headquarters of Casa America in Madrid has this Tuesday hosted the official presentation of Las Minas Flamenco Tour, an internationalization project of the Festival del Cante de las Minas de La Unión.

The event, which was chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel García-Margallo, served to unveil the upcoming destinations the Flamenco Festival will visit throughout 2014 and 2015, in its capacity as Spain’s official image.

Specifically, Japan, India and China are the Asian nations that will host the tour, while Portugal, Belgium, Italy and Germany are the European destinations.  South America will be represented by Peru and Mexico who will host the event.  In his speech, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel García-Margallo said “you have made ​​it possible for the world to participate in one of our glories in an effort to disseminate and propagate the image of Spain abroad to attract investment, help our businesses and sell products, winning over difficult markets”.  To which he added that “in art we have little to envy of any other country in the world; in that regard, we have flamenco which is more appreciated abroad than within our own country”, and he referred to Unamuno saying “being Spanish is an activity that honors the citizens of this country”.  Flamenco, he stressed, is a compendium of good and beautiful elements that we must promote via the talent of our artists who have already shown their support for the La Unión contest, such as Estrella Morente, Sara Baras, Carmen Linares, Miguel Poveda or the late genius Paco de Lucia, among others.

Lastly, he pointed out that the agreement signed with the Festival “shows the government’s support for the La Unión event and the internationalization of flamenco.”

According to the Mayor of La Unión and Executive Chairman of the Cante de las Minas Foundation, Francisco Bernabé, “we have in our hands a great cultural opportunity that in the near future will highlight Spain for the rest of the world, because we are going to bring the best Flamenco art by way of the most renowned artists, to all those parts of the world who wish to host the Spanish musical manifestation par excellence.”

“To be ambassadors of our country” added Bernabé, “is a huge responsibility, but the seriousness and prestige that have been won with our contest over its 54 years of history, makes sure that we meet the challenge with the greater guarantee of success”.

Likewise, the mayor of La Unión explicitly thanked all the public and private sponsors “whose efforts will enable this initiative to flourish.”

Carmen Linares puts the flamenco icing on the cake at the presentation with tientos, soleá, taranta, cartagenera y cantiñas

The event began with welcoming remarks from Tomás Poveda, General Director of Casa América, host of the event, which was followed by Almudena Muñoz, General Director of Casa Mediterráneo, who praised “the media and the great cultural significance and social impact enjoyed by the festival Cante de las Minas.” Then, Francisco Bernabé spoke, explaining the project of Las Minas Flamenco Tour and its upcoming international destinations, after which a promotional video about the initiative was projected.

The round of speeches was closed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, who confirmed “the Spanish government’s support of this project, promising unconditional support to achieve the best results”.  The evening concluded with a flamenco recital by the great flamenco singer Carmen Linares, who masterfully put to music the poems of Federico García Lorca, accompanied on stage by guitarist Salvador Gutiérrez and pianist Pablo Suárez. Her mournful voice which comes from the depths of the mine where the songs of La Unión originate, captivated all those present. The singer congratulated La Unión “for making possible this great festival that has existed for many years and raises flamenco to the highest level, to the place it deserves and where sooner or later, all artists have been supported”.

She began her performance interpreting “an extraordinary poem by García Lorca, in honor of Enrique Morente, and he did it so well…because the great poetry of Spain is closely related to flamenco”.  The tientos were impressive with “La Leyenda del Tiempo”, and soleá and bambera with “Arbolé, Albolé”.  Next, she went on to “the deepest songs of flamenco, so beautiful for their musicality, the mining songs”, taranta and cartagenera, and cantiñas from Cádiz demonstrating once again her mastery as her birthplace of Linares is the parent land that inspired the songs of La Unión.

Four-hundred noteworthy individuals in attendance

The presentation of Las Minas Flamenco Tour marked the encounter of a large number of personalities from the social, cultural and political life of our nation, among whom we highlight the presence of the Secretaries of State for Trade and Tourism, Jaime García Legaz and Isabel Borrego; Ambassadors from Japan, the United Kingdom, India, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Hungary, Algeria, Ecuador, Honduras, Chile and Palestine.  Eleven national deputies and two senators of Spain and the President of the Regional Assembly of Murcia and the Minister of Tourism in our autonomous region, along with all their general managers and the General Director of Relations with the European Unión.

Also present were the President of Cofides, the General Director of ICEX, the General Director of Marca España and the Ambassador of the Dual Year of Spain and Japan, as well as numerous representatives of society such as journalist Juan Ramón Lucas, livestock businessman Victorino Martín and restauranteur Lucio Blázquez.  Also at the meeting, from the business arena, were nearly all the sponsors of the Cante de las Minas Foundation.

Destinations and dates

In 2014: Brussels (carried out in January), Tokyo (August) and New Delhi and Bombay (September).

In 2015: Lisbon (January), Tokyo (February), Brussels (March), Lima (April), Beijing (May), Milan (June), Gemany (July) and Mexico (November).

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