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Grandpa gets lost in summertime

-Grandpa, it’s flamenco festival season, and I know you enjoy getting lost in those forsaken towns of Andalusia. -I don’t go to those festivals as much as I used to, in the 1970s and 1980s, because the lineups are not like in the old days. Nowadays, we may even come across a performance by El Lombo in a flamenco festival, and

-Grandpa, it’s flamenco festival season, and I know you enjoy getting lost in those forsaken towns of Andalusia.

-I don’t go to those festivals as much as I used to, in the 1970s and 1980s, because the lineups are not like in the old days. Nowadays, we may even come across a performance by El Lombo in a flamenco festival, and I’d rather pass. And if they bring in Rosalía, well, what can I say? I’m too old to be fooled.

-But you go to these festivals, or not?

-Sure I do. I’ll attend to the new one they’ll hold in Conil, with a lineup I like: El GranaínoMaría TerremotoJesús MéndezRancapino hijo, Caracolillo de Cádiz, El Mijita de Jerez… Could it get any better? Besides, you’ll be the MC, so that’s yet another reason to go to Conil on July 14.

-Lover’s Day…

-No! What’s wrong with you? Valentine’s day is on February 14.

-The only time I really fell in love, when I as a kid, was on a July 14, so, for me, Lover’s Day is on that date, not in February. Besides, February is way too cold to be in love.

-Flamenco festivals, Manolito, are still interesting in this time of the year. The Potaje de Utrera, for example, is on the right track. However, the festivals of La Unión and Mairena…, well, I rather not say anything or we’ll get in trouble once again. The festival in Dos Hermanas, I think it was sad. While here in the south of Spain we seem unable to discover our true north, the north seems to be winning the south. There are very good flamenco festivals outside of Spain or in the north of this country. Soon the festival of Mont-de-Marsan will be held, in France, and it’s one of the most authentic flamenco festivals in the world. It’s also very well organized. It’s odd that good flamenco finds more support outside of Andalusia than inside it.

-Maybe it’s just because times have changed, grandpa?

-Sure, times have changed, but they’ve also changed outside of Andalusia, yet they still promote traditional, serious flamenco out there, while here we feature Niño de Elche at the Bienal.

-I remember when flamenco purists objected to artists such as Morente or the Lole y Manuel duet in flamenco festivals.

-Are you comparing those geniuses to Niño de Elche?

-No, grandpa, I’m just reminding you that, through history, there has always been people complaining and objecting about some of the artists featured in flamenco festivals.

-True. I remember one time when the promoter and agent Pulpón cancelled a lot of performances in flamenco festivals by a great, traditional bailaora, because she included a cajón in her ensemble. That was in the 70s or 80s, when we were no strangers to innovation. Yet, nowadays no one would object to something like that.

-So grandpa, why do you keep going to the summer festivals, even if you don’t go as often as before?

-Because it’s in festivals where cante can be truly enjoyed. For example, imagine a cool evening in July, having a beer and listening to Rancapino Chico. Don’t tell me that’s not a great plan.

-For as long as the body can stand, right grandpa?

-Yes, flamenco aficionados have always died with their boots on.

-And totally broke, right?

-Totally broke, yes.

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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