Song of the Mines
A total of sixteen applicants will fight this Saturday, August 6, to win the prize in the different categories of the festival
The 61st edition of the International Festival of Cante de las Minas already has finalists. After three semi-finals characterized by the high level of its applicants, the flamenco contest faces this Saturday, August 6, the grand final, in which the awards ‘Lámpara Minera’ (singing), ‘Bordón Minero’ (toque), Feminine and masculine ‘Desplante’ (dance) and ‘Filón’ (instrumentation) may have their own name.
The verdict of the jury, chaired by the Spanish dancer and choreographer Blanca del Rey, was known around four in the morning. Along with this artist, the jury also includes the expert in mining songs and son of singer Pencho Cros, Pepe Cros; the unionense saetero and veteran as a member of the jury Francisco Severo; Carlos Pacheco, musicologist, instrumentalists and music teacher at the Superior Conservatory of Córdoba, and Salvador Alcaraz, former director of the Festival Internacional del Cante de las Minas, as secretary.
In the cante category, the finalists are: Virginia Gámez Gil (Málaga) for granaína and cantiñas; José García Vilches ‘El Petro’ (Málaga) por soleá and cartagenera; Isabel Guerrero Alarcón (Málaga) for tangos; Manuel Cuevas González (Seville) for Malaga, mining and Levante; Francisco Javier Heredia Fernández (Jaén) for granaína and a half and taranta; Lucía Beltrán Sedano (Huelva), for Levante and Toná; Esther Merino Pilo (Badajoz) for minera, cartagenera and soleá, and José Plantón Heredia (Córdoba) for malagueña and seguiriya.
In toque, Martín Fallos Limón (Huelva) went on to the final for taranta and fandangos de Huelva, and Álvaro Mora Domínguez (Huelva), for taranta and soleá; and in instrumentation, Rubén Jiménez Urbano (Córdoba), on taranta and bulería bassoon, and Ángel Bocanegra Ocón (Granada), with Levante violin and tangos.
Finally, in the male dance category Julio González Ruiz (Almería) and David Romero Cardoso (Barcelona) qualified, and in female dance, Paula Salazar (Málaga) and Irene Lozano Ruiz (Málaga), all performing taranto in the final.
Once again this year, the Casa del Piñón auditorium hosted the presentation of awards to people closely linked to the International Festival of Cante de las Minas since its inception. On this occasion, the ‘Carburo de Oro’ went to the singer and member of the jury of the Festival and its selection tests, Francisco Severo Pérez, who excitedly dedicated this award to his parents: «They have always taken me and brought me when I was younger to wherever it was needed”, he recalled looking back 18 years and bringing to the present names that at that time opened the doors for him. Among them he highlighted Antonio Muñoz, official guitarist of the Festival and ‘Bordón Minero’, someone who was “a before and after” in his career. “Without you, Antonio, I would not have achieved what I have achieved and I will always be grateful to you,” he confessed.
The saetero wanted to claim that “we should feel proud of the festival and defend it without complexes” and “that this event should never be used as a weapon to bring down an opponent, because what brings down is the festival.” “The Cante de las Minas belongs to the whole world, it has no color, because it belongs to the whole Union and we are the envy of the whole world for having it”, seconded the president of the Cante de las Minas Foundation, Pedro López, putting in raises the need for “people who want the Festival and feel it like Paco”. The singer expressed his gratitude for his land by singing some verses: «In La Unión I was born/ I am a son of this land / In La Unión I was born/ I grew up in the Sierra Minera / where I like to live / and where I would like to die».
Another of those people linked to the festival for decades and who defends it wherever they go as if it were theirs is Antonio Bermejo Hurtado, known as ‘the working priest’ of Vistalegre, who since he came for the first time in 1967 has remained faithful to flamenco and the mining songs. He was grateful to La Unión for this recognition and recalled that he is “a priest open to the world and to society without looking at any condition”, since he has always looked “at people, at human beings”, and that his parish and his house They are open to all. Beyond his fidelity to the festival, Pedro López highlighted that «the human and the divine go with him together with flamenco». “He is an important figure to be highlighted, with an immense heart, of which there are few, who has done everything possible so that flamenco and culture are also important in Vistalegre”, highlighted the president of the Cante de las Minas Foundation, who He reminded him that with this distinction “he is already part of the history of this festival.” Bermejo took the opportunity to invite everyone to “continue the party” – referring to the Festival – “until the body holds out”.
A walk through the history of the Public Market
The penultimate day of the 61st edition of the Festival Internacional del Cante de las Minas also reviewed the history of the old Mercado Público de La Unión in a conference by the official chronicler of the municipality, Gonzalo Wandosell, in which he unraveled the origin of the ‘ Catedral del Cante’, what is the reason why the Old Public Market is located where it is and who made it.
At first, as it showed with plans, it was located on Hernán Cortés street; later it was moved to where the Monument to the Miner is and, finally, it reached where it is today. Beyond this change of location, the chronicler delved into the history behind the construction of this building, why this process took so long and the history behind names like Antonio Soler Rodríguez.
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