“…Y Sevilla” Despite those in charge.
The so-called Bienalita has ended in Seville. It had many interesting things and a lot of public, despite the abusive ticket pricing, considering the scandalous unemployment problem in Seville, and in the other towns of this province. It wasn’t a bad idea to create the Septiembre es Flamenco program, especially because it creates work for the artists and entertainment for the lovers
The so-called Bienalita has ended in Seville. It had many interesting things and a lot of public, despite the abusive ticket pricing, considering the scandalous unemployment problem in Seville, and in the other towns of this province. It wasn’t a bad idea to create the Septiembre es Flamenco program, especially because it creates work for the artists and entertainment for the lovers of this genre, those in Seville (where there are many) and those visiting due to work, study or holidays. Thus, while this event competes with the commercial flamenco venues that operate year round, and with festivals of other towns (which are barely able to break even), the creation of another festival of flamenco art is always welcome news. The problem is that this cycle was programmed just like it’s done for the Bienal, that is, without thinking and only focusing on filling up the venues (except the program for the Torre de Don Fadrique, with capacity for 180 people). Town Hall is currently in the hands of the Socialist Party, supposedly a leftist party that should have a good cultural policy, at least with flamenco. Therefore, one would expect affordable admittance for the least fortunate, and the featuring of lesser-known artists, veteran or young, who also have the right to be seen and heard in a festival of this magnitude, watched by organizers of other great festivals around the word and by specialized critics. Any aficionado could have done the concert programming for the Bienalita in just a few minutes, and they would probably have done a better job than whoever programmed this event, which I doubt was designed by its director, Cristóbal Ortega, who also directs the Bienal. I have no doubt that he’s a good manager, but he’s no flamenco expert. If he were and expert, if he were up to date in flamenco, he wouldn’t have programmed the same artists all over again, and he would have included new talent in cante and guitar who have released good recordings since the last Bienal. Just yesterday, a dear friend, Antonio Zoido, referred to Seville in a Correo de Andalucía article as “the factory of flamenco”. I wouldn’t forget about Jerez de la Frontera and Málaga, where they have been doing good things for years, or about international festivals which surpass us in many aspects, such as those in the French cities of Mont de Marsan and Nimes. Yet, regarding flamenco in Seville, no one knows anything, because the public institutions in charge of promoting flamenco do so via the buddy method: each on their own. It’s necessary to unite criteria and resources to make Seville the world’s flamenco reference. Because the capital of Andalusia is one of the main cradles of this art (if not the main one). In addition, it has always been the city where all artists, of all times, from all flamenco lands, have come to work and leave their essence, and to where aficionados from all over the world come to experience flamenco. That is why the poet Manuel Machado wrote that of “…Y Sevilla”. All I need is to say this city’s name, at the end of a great poem, to describe it.
Canto a Andalucia
Cádiz, salada claridad. Granada,
agua oculta que llora.
Romana y mora, Córdoba callada.
Plateado, Jaén. Huelva, la orilla
de las tres carabelas.