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Grandpa, masters and doctorates

-Grandpa, where have you been? Some people think you bit the dust. -Lots of people would like that, but I’m alive and well. What happens is that I get away now and then, so I don’t feel completely disenchanted with flamenco. -Are you unhappy about how things are going in flamenco, grandpa? -No, it’s not that. Flamenco is going as always: badly according

-Grandpa, where have you been? Some people think you bit the dust.

-Lots of people would like that, but I’m alive and well. What happens is that I get away now and then, so I don’t feel completely disenchanted with flamenco.

-Are you unhappy about how things are going in flamenco, grandpa?

-No, it’s not that. Flamenco is going as always: badly according to some, and great according to others. Everyone has their own criteria.

-Did you sign up for the master in flamencology offered by the University of Córdoba?

– No, I didn’t. I’m too old to be lectured by Poveda or Arcángel.

– Do you think they’re well qualified to teach about flamenco?

-Frankly, I don’t think so. If I tell you otherwise, I’d be lying.

-I suppose you like the idea that nowadays people can get a master in flamenco, right?

-Sure I do. But more important things remain to be done. For example, flamenco should be taught at schools in Andalusia, so children get well acquainted with this art of ours, even as it now belongs to the whole world. This way we’d have flamenco teachers in the future and we wouldn’t have to rely on Rocío Márquez.

-What would you do if someone offers you a job as a flamenco teacher?

-I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, because I’m not a teacher. As long as they have teachers with doctorates, no one will ever ask me to teach. I never graduated, Manolito, I’m self-taught. I give courses, but in my own way. If they’re looking for someone with a lot of knowledge and experience, Poveda is the best candidate. Look at all the buzz he’s making with Lorca. He’s a genius.

-I think you’re being sarcastic, grandpa. You seem embittered. Am I wrong?

-Yes, you’re wrong. There are many things I don’t understand about flamenco nowadays, but I’ve reached the conclusion that this is nobody’s fault, it’s just my own fault. In every art genre there are changes, and if you don’t get ready for those changes, you’ll have to endure what’s happening to me: failing to understand a lot of things. That’s certainly happening because I’m getting old and I have to start thinking about giving way to the younger generations.

-But grandpa, let’s see… It is or isn’t a good thing that flamenco is being taught in universities, and that masters and doctorates have been offered on that subject?

-I guess so.

-And…?

-I don’t like the people who manage those things at all, the politicians.

-Fair enough, grandpa. If that’s the problem, let’s talk about it another day.

-Sure, another day, because today I’m not in the mood.

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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