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Arcángel’s termination

The whole Arcángel affair has been, with all due respect, a blunder, but that doesn’t diminish the worth of the institution or the prestige of Córdoba as a city of flamenco

Last year, when I heard that Arcángel had been appointed as the new director of the Córdoba Flamencology Chair, I immediately wrote about this appointment and clearly stated that it had been a mistake because, in my opinion, that cantaor from Huelva had never shown any interest in the complex world of flamencology. I said that, while he was an artist and a good cantaor, he didn’t quite understand the position. I haven’t changed my mind, of course. Not because he was laid off without much explanation, as you know it happened, but because I know Arcángel — whom I also admire — and I still don’t think he’s a good fit for the role. It’s not up to me to tell him what he should do, because he’s already a grown-up man, but just because an artist is a good cantaor doesn’t necessarily mean he’s suitable to direct a university Chair.

«What requirements should candidates possess to direct a Flamencology Chair like the one in Córdoba? In my opinion, they should have a broad experience as academics, professional weight in their field, certified knowledge, time to spare and will to work»

I guess this artist did a good job during the year he was the Chair director. I don’t really know, because I don’t closely follow what happens at the Córdoba Flamencology Chair, where incidentally I’ve already given two lectures about flamenco and research. I know that he brought in several critics and researchers of his liking, and also several artists. Yet, I guess his work hasn’t been all that convincing, because he has been terminated at the end of his contract. This happens often, so there’s nothing to reproach the Chair for. Perhaps the termination wasn’t handled properly, so it’s understandable that Arcángel is upset about the whole thing, as we learned from an  interview by my colleague Alejandro Luque in eldiario.es.

Arcángel will keep doing his thing, which is singing, and he would certainly have learned something from this bitter experience, due its sad ending. The Chair of Córdoba already has a replacement, so it will continue to undertake its great work in behalf of flamenco. Dwelling in further controversy won’t benefit at all this cantaor or the university institution. Córdoba has always been a role model on how to do things in flamenco in the right way, as attested by its peñas or its National Contest. This whole Arcángel affair has been, with all due respect, a blunder, but that doesn’t diminish the worth of the institution or the prestige of Córdoba as a city of flamenco

What requirements should candidates possess to direct a Flamencology Chair like the one in Córdoba? In my opinion, they should have a broad experience as academics, professional weight in their field, certified knowledge, time to spare and will to work. There are many people in Córdoba who are beyond qualified for this job, and I never really understood why they had to bring someone from Huelva, with all due respect to that province that I love. I’m sure that they would have analysed this whole thing so they don’t commit the same mistake again, and that the new director will do a wonderful job. That’s what we hope.

 

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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