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Grandpa and the importance of private enterprises

-Grandpa, how do you like having to help me for ExpoFlamenco to succeed in this new stage, with me as Director? -Well, you know I’ve been minding my own business lately, but if I have to give you a hand to get you out of trouble, that’s what flamenco grandpas are for. I don’t know where you will find the time,

-Grandpa, how do you like having to help me for ExpoFlamenco to succeed in this new stage, with me as Director?

-Well, you know I’ve been minding my own business lately, but if I have to give you a hand to get you out of trouble, that’s what flamenco grandpas are for. I don’t know where you will find the time, because you’re always so busy, but I’ll be by your side as long as my body can handle it.

-Grandpa, can you believe that many of our readers think that you are the one who knows about flamenco, and that I don’t have a clue?

-Of course I do, I’m not a fool. Yet, isn’t that true…? Come on, Manolito, to know a lot about flamenco people must have lived a long life, and you’re still too young. For example, you talk about El Planeta, but you never met him…

-Come on, grandpa! That’s as far as we could go. How could I possibly have met El Planeta if he died before my great-grand parents had been born?

-That’s exactly what I mean. I don’t get it. You should only write about what you’ve experienced, nothing more.

-Grandpa, I don’t know what’s the matter with you lately, you’ve been insufferable. Something else, did you know that there has been a festival in Jerez that’s been held for seven years without any government subsidy? It’s actually a good festival, too.

-Flamenco art has not always relied of government subsidies, as it’s been happening for decades. It’s not that it’s solely financed by the government, but if the public institutions stopped subsidizing festivals, recitals in peñas and even books and albums, it would be a disaster. That’s why it’s so outstanding what happens in Jerez with the OFF festival, ran by Mario González, which this year will held its 7th edition, with an excellent lineup of artists. To be able to achieve this just with box office revenue, and no subsidies, is quite an accomplishment, something worth of praise these days when so many things rely on getting help from the government.

-So, what’s the matter with the other festivals, which can only get by thanks to the subsidies?

-It’s just that they got used to it, quite simply. Look, the government has a budget for everything, even culture, of course, and flamenco is an essential part of Andalusian and Spanish culture. Yet, when one art form, particularly one like flamenco, is so heavily subsidized, it’s a bad thing, because it loses its independence, and thus, its freedom and its conscience.

-You know what, grandpa?

-What?

-You increasingly sound like me, when you talk. You must admit that you learn from me, even as I’m the one who’s supposed to learn from you.

-Everyone learns from everyone, Manolito. Ordinary people check on each other, but geniuses directly copy each other.

-When you talk about geniuses, you’re referring to me, right?

-Sure. Go ask La Tremendita if she thinks you’re a genius, or Mayte Martín. They are both quite happy with you right now, aren’t they?

-So, grandpa, subsidies or private enterprises?

-Both things are compatible. Yet, personally I prefer flamencos who can make a living all by themselves, like it has always happened, so they can have more freedom.

-Me too, grandpa.

Translated by P. Young

 

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Crítico de flamenco, periodista y escritor. 40 años de investigación flamenca en El Correo de Andalucía. Autor de biografías de la Niña de los Peines, Carbonerillo, Manuel Escacena, Tomás Pavón, Fernando el de Triana, Manuel Gerena, Canario de Álora...

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