The golden anniversary was presented at Madrid’s Corral de la Morería with a first-class line-up of artists.
Paco de Lucía, Enrique Morente, Miguel Poveda, José Mercé, Israel Galván, Mayte Martín, Manolo Sanlúcar and the Ballet Nacional will perform at the Catedral del Cante in La Unión.
The mayor of La Unión, Francisco Bernabé, along with the Culture representative of the region of Murcia, Pedro Alberto Cruz, and the Subdirector of the Music and Dance of the Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escéncias de la Música (INAEM), Antonio Garde, presented the 50th anniversary program in the presence of Enrique Morente, who is slated to receive the Castillete de Oro, the festival’s highest award, during the course of the festival, August 3 to 14.
Francisco Bernabé explained the program in great detail, underlining that “only the most exemplary performers of the flamenco universe could participate in the program that conforms the upcoming celebration the greatest flamenco event ever put on. We are the dean of flamenco festivals in longevity, and we intend to show the greatness of La Unión and its festival with a production that will be remembered for many years”. Regarding the contest, Bernabé emphasized that this year all records have been beaten with regards to young artists competing in guitar, singing and dance contests, a total of 143 individuals from six countries. The Cultural prizes were awarded with the aim of paying tribute to the greatest figures of the diverse cultural specialties. Bernarbé praised all the winners, beginning with “His Majesty King Juan Carlos I who has honored us by accepting the honorary presidency of the festival on its 50th anniversary”.
King Juan Carlos will receive the commemorative Gold Medal of this singular event, a distinction that will be given on this one occasion only.
THE FLAMENCO SHOWS
On August 5th, the former public market, now made into a theater, will receive the first of the flamenco extravaganzas with the Ballet Nacional directed by José Antonio. This group, one of the main ambassadors of Spanish culture throughout the world, will present “Café de Chinitas”, an exciting tour through the never-ending imagination and creativity of Salvador Dalí.
The following day it will be Enrique Morente’s turn, and he will also receive the Castillete de Oro, the festival’s highest distinction. Morente, holder of Spain’s 1994 national prize for music, returns to La Unión to perform for an adoring audience.
On Saturday the 7th of August, a high-level show will be presented with the performance of Israel Galván and José Mercé. Galván, a dancer with an expressive language all his own, returns to La Unión as one of the great geniuses of Spanish dance. His career took off after 1996 when he won the Desplante prize for dance. The same evening, the Cathedral of Cante will enjoy the recital of one of the greatest stars of flamenco’s recent history, José Mercé, the renowned singer from Jerez who will fill the stage at La Unión.
On Sunday August 8th, another double bill will be presented with singer Mayte Martín and guitarist Manolo Sanlúcar. The Catalonian singer (winner of the Lámpara Minera, 1997), with a vast repertoire, is able to interpret the most traditional flamenco with her sober intense voice. Manolo Sanlúcar will be the other star of the evening. His style walks the line between traditional and contemporary, without needing to seek influences in other musical genres, always drawing from the roots.
The day after, the Cathedral del Cante will enjoy the visit of one of its favorite artists: Miguel Poveda. The Catalonian will present his show “Sin Frontera”. The town of La Unión is always anxious to receive the visit of this singer, one of its favorite sons ever since he won the Lámpara Minera in 1993, going on to become one of the most important flamenco singers.
Guitarist Paco de Lucía will put the icing on the cake on Tuesday August 10th. Possibly the best guitarist in the history of flamenco, this is a splendid virtuoso with a vigorously rhythmic style. La Unión will thus be able to enjoy one of the mythical revolutionaries of flamenco, one of the very few worthy of being called a genius.
When the series of shows finishes, the moment will have arrived for the Cante, Baile, Guitar and Flamenco Instrumentalist contests. Over the course of three days, the most promising contestants will compete to carry off the Lámpara Minera, the Bordón Minero, the Desplante and the Filón, just as legendary artists such as Vicente Amigo, Mayte Martín, Miguel Poveda or Israel Galván did in their day, using their victories at La Unión as a trampoline to success.
Tickets for the upcoming edition of the Festival International del Cante de Las Minas go on sale next June 1st. They can be acquired at the Tourism Office in La Unión (first floor of the Casa del Piñón), and via the internet web of the Corte Inglés.