GuiriJondo, an original festival for foreign artists in Palomares del Río
The GuiriJondo festival will take place in 2023 between April 12th and April 15th in the spectacular surroundings of the Arabian Baths in Palomares del Río, Seville province. The first edition of this festival will feature artists from China, France, Italy, Holland, USA, Venezuela and Armenia, among others, with guitarist Rafael Riqueni headlining the event.
The 1st GuiriJondo Festival, presented to the media on Wednesday, October 19th, is a show of confidence and appreciation by the City Council of Palomares del Río (Seville) towards the foreign flamenco professionals. The festival will feature four days of performances, conferences and exhibits with foreign artists as the main focus. GuiriJondo will be held in 2023 between April 12th and April 15th at Palomares’ Arabian Baths, among other venues in this municipality of the Aljarafe region of Andalusia. It is a unique event which will put Palomares del Río in the map of the great flamenco festivals.
The First edition of GuiriJondo, according to the organizer’s statements given in press conferences held at Casa de la Provincia (Seville) and Mesón La Truja (Palomares), will feature artists from China, France, Italy, Holland, USA, Venezuela and Armenia, among other countries, with guitarist Rafael Riqueni headlining the event — his family lives in Palomares — and other conference speakers such as Cristina Hoyos, Pepa Montes, Ricardo Miño and Galician musicologist Faustino Núñez. The writer and flamencologist José Luis Ortiz Nuevo, founder of the Bienal de Sevilla festival, will give the opening announcement (pregón), followed by journalist Carmen Arjona’s presentation. Among the foreign artists are Chinese guitarist Can Wang, French cantaor José de la Negreta, Peruvian guitarist Óscar Guzmán, Italian bailaora Irene La Sentío, Venezuelan cantaora Jafelín Palacios, Dutch guitarist Gaspar de Holanda, Chinese cantaora Shen Wang, Armenian guitarist Vahan Davtyan and French cantaora Luisa Muñoz.
The festival is an original idea of flamenco critic Manuel Bohórquez (director of ExpoFlamenco), who was born in Arahal and grew up in Palomares. This event will honor Cristina Heeren, the American patron of flamenco art who created the foundation that carries her name and who has been teaching flamenco students from all over the world in Seville for thirty years. The awards to be given in all editions of the festival will bear her name. The program also includes performances by leading students of her foundation.
«The fact that it is geared specifically towards foreign artists makes sense. Flamenco has about two centuries of rich history and it has always caught the interest of foreign aficionados . The early flamenco companies in the 19th century already toured Europe and America. Flamenco outside Spain is not a new thing, but it has barely been acknowledged. There are very good foreign flamenco artists, but they are seldom featured at the Bienal or other festivals such as the one in Mairena, La Caracolá, El Potaje or El Gazpacho. Thus, we conceived a festival focused on the great flamenco artists born outside of the cradle of flamenco. We didn’t want to create another festival just like the hundreds of others that already exist all over Spain», stated Bohórquez in the media presentation.
«The writer and flamencologist José Luis Ortiz Nuevo, founder of the Bienal de Sevilla festival, will give the opening announcement (pregón). Among the foreign artists are Chinese guitarist Can Wang, French cantaor José de la Negreta, Peruvian guitarist Óscar Guzmán, Italian bailaora Irene La Sentío, Venezuelan cantaora Jafelín Palacios, Dutch guitarist Gaspar de Holanda, Chinese cantaora Shen Wang, Armenian guitarist Vahan Davtyan and French cantaora Luisa Muñoz.»
Manuel Benjumea, mayor of Palomares, added: «with GuiriJondo the seed of flamenco will once again be planted in this municipality, with a festival [concept] that doesn’t take place anywhere else. From the moment this idea was presented to us, we were stunned and amazed. We are wishing that all flamenco aficionados become aware of what we are organizing in Palomares and that all the historical heritage of this municipality becomes known all over the world».
This is definitely a great touristic and cultural activity that is born with a vocation of continuity and the ambition of being in the spotlight of the regional, national and even international media. It is a project conceived as praise and support for those great artists that were not born in Spain and seldom have the opportunity to take part in the great events of the flamenco calendar
GuiriJondo has chosen as its home a town without a substantial flamenco tradition, but positioned at a crucial geographical location, a few miles from Triana. Palomares is a land of great aficionados, of cantaores such as Goro de Triana, Isaías and his brother Carlillo, among others. The idea is to grab the attention not just of the local aficionados, but also of those in Seville and all corners of Andalusia, considering how unique the festival is. Next year, the Flamenco Spring will be celebrated in Palomares del Río.
GuiriJondo Festival – Tentative Program
Wednesday, April 12th
08:00 PM: Pregón by José Luis Ortiz Nuevo. Presentation by Carmen Arjona.
09:00 PM: Tune by Rafael Riqueni / La Truja.
10:00 PM: Recital by cantaora Shen Wang (China) and guitarist Vahan Davtyan (Armenia).
11:00 PM: Recital by cantaora Luisa Muñoz (France) and guitarist Vicente Santiago (France) / Arabian Baths.
Thursday April 13th
08:00 PM: Round table Flamencos por el mundo with the participation of Cristina Hoyos, Pepa Montes, Juan Antonio Jiménez, Ricardo Miño and Pedro Ricardo Miño / La Truja.
09:30 PM: Sueños by students of the Cristina Heeren Foundation.
10:30 PM: Recital by cantaor José de la Negreta (France) and guitarist Antonio Moya (France) / Arabian Baths.
Friday April 14th
09:30 PM: Quejíos. Concert by guitarist Gaspar de Holanda.
10:30 PM: Recital by cantaora Jafelin Palacios La Niña de Bolívar (Venezuela) and guitarist Óscar de Guzmán (Peru) / Arabian Baths.
Saturday April 15th
08:00 PM: América en el flamenco. Conferencia by Faustino Núñez / La Truja.
09:00 PM: Tribute to Cristina Heeren.
09:30 PM: Gitano de Pequín. Concert by guitarist Can Wang (China).
10:30 PM: Baile recital by Irene la Sentío (Italy) and her flamenco ensemble.
11:30 PM: Cuatro Vientos. Concert by Rafael Riqueni.
Top image: Shen Wang and Vahan Davtyan, during the presentation of GuiriJondo at La Truja, in Palomares. Photo: Kiko Valle