The Legend Comes to Life at the Camarón Museum
After a wait of almost three decades, the Centro de Interpretación Camarón de la Isla (Camarón de la Isla Interpretation Centre) opens its doors in San Fernando, the birthplace of this virtuoso, on the 2nd of July 2021, coinciding with the twenty-ninth anniversary of his death.
The boy born in Las Callejuelas dreamed of becoming a bullfighter but ended up a flamenco legend. José Monge Cruz passed away almost three decades ago. The 2nd of July marks the twenty-ninth anniversary of the untimely death of this virtuoso from San Fernando, Camarón de la Isla. It is a day that will be celebrated in style, as this date has been chosen for the opening of the Interpretation Centre that bears his name.
This unusual museum tells the story of the life and work of the voice that revolutionised flamenco music. The challenge was taken on by the San Fernando Town Hall after erecting a building of 1,200 square metres – divided into two floors – next to the also legendary Venta de Vargas. The museum will be open to the public free of charge from the 6th of July, but through advanced booking only.
The proposal was drawn up by Reina de Corazones and Womack, museological and museographic projects, respectively. Visitors will find themselves in a space that breaks from the traditional format and instead uses modern technology and audiovisual material, with an emphasis on large screens and first-hand testimonies. A whole universe of Camarón.
«The Camarón Museum opens its doors in San Fernando on the 2nd of July 2021, coinciding with the 29th anniversary of the death of José Monge Cruz»
The area and the content of the exhibition are divided into three spaces entitled Origen (Origin), Leyenda (Legend) and Revolución (Revolution), creating a pathway through Camarón’s entire career, from his early years in his native San Fernando to his performances in the tablaos of Madrid as a duo with Paco de Lucía.
This journey also explores the more personal side of the artist’s life, with photos and family mementos, as well as personal belongings, clothes and even handwritten notes. Origen tells the story of the flamenco singer’s childhood and early life. In this section there is a space reserved for roundtable discussions, conferences or presentations, activities linked to Camarón and flamenco.
On the first floor awaits Leyenda and Revolución. Giant screens bring the flamenco star back to life. Leyenda shows the legacy of José Monge Cruz, with all his awards and recognitions. In Revolución, visitors can enjoy his work at length.
As a slight novelty, the museum features a set for anyone who wishes to take a photographic souvenir with Camarón himself. The rooftop terrace of the building has also been adapted to host live performances. What’s more, as a treat for children, there is a play area called El Pequeño Camarón, where workshops will be held.
Work on the museum – at a cost of around four million euros – began in January 2019, when the first stone of the complex was laid. They were due to finish work in the summer of 2020 but the pandemic and the need to conform to certain formalities delayed the opening of the museum.
Top image: Facebook Ayuntamiento de San Fernando