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Calling all the famous flamenco stars for help

We like to think that every artist has some savings for emergencies, but that’s not the case. In flamenco there are artists who are experiencing true hardships, even as they’re true prodigies singing, dancing or playing the guitar

It’s sad to think about all the problems that good but impoverished flamenco artists are enduring due to the coronavirus health crisis. Do you know what I would do if I had as much money as many famous flamenco artists have? The same that flamenco stars in the old days — Silverio, Manuel Molina, Chacón or Pepe Pinto — used to do: hire these cash-strapped geniuses of cante to perform in private parties. It wasn’t a matter of charity. They did this to enjoy their singing and learn from them, but it also helped them and their families. I know for a fact that there are cantaores and cantaoras who are struggling to feed their children, because festivals, recitals and parties are being cancelled. This affects us all, even myself, although not as much as it hits those humble artists who can’t afford spending a whole month without working. Many of them have children to feed, what makes things worse, even as children are always a blessing.

«Flamenco is becoming dehumanized. There is camaraderie and everyone gets along, but that’s about it»

Maybe some wealthy artists have thought that now is not a good time for getting together in parties, among other things because the authorities are advising against public gatherings. Yet, there are always ways to help colleagues enduring hard times. “Tell me what you need, and when this is all over, let’s get together so I can enjoy your singing and learn from you”. That’s what I would do if I could, without thinking it twice. It’s truly dramatic. We like to think that every artist has some savings for such emergencies, but that’s not the case. In flamenco there are artists who must perform every day in a tablao or in a private party to make a living. This may surprise you, but some of them experience true hardships, even as they’re true prodigies singing, dancing or playing the guitar. Often, they’re better than many of those wealthy artists I won’t even name, because it’s not necessary

Many years ago, I said that flamenco was becoming dehumanized, and apparently I was right. There is camaraderie and everyone gets along, but that’s about it. Yesterday I got a call from an really good cantaor, a renowned artist, to tell me he could barely make ends meet. He beg me not to tell anyone, and I won’t. The problem was resolved yesterday, thanks God, and thanks to the generosity of a good aficionado.

 

 

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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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