Cristina Heeren’s “Talento Flamenco” contests seduce Europe, Asia and America
The online preliminary selection phase of the contests organized by the Cristina Heeren Foundation in collaboration with Acciona includes 70 young cantaores, bailaores and guitarists from all over Andalusia, Spain and countries such as France, Argentina, Japan, Iran, Syria, Mexico and Russia
The online call of the Concursos Talento Flamenco 2020 has meant a breath of hope for young flamenco artists in these times of Covid-19 pandemic. This has been demonstrated by the high number of participants in the online preliminary selection phase, setting a new record compared with the three previous editions, with a total of 70 registered contestants, aged between 16 and 30 years old. Most of them are from Andalusia, but they are also from other parts of Spain such as Madrid, Catalunya, Extremadura and Murcia. Besides, the international reach of this contests, organized by the Cristina Heeren Foundation with the collaboration of Acciona and the Culture Council of the Junta de Andalucía, has been widened to include Europe, Asia and the American continent, with contestants from twelve different countries, among them Syria, Chile, Russia, France and Japan. The live selection phase will take place at Seville’s Flamenco Triana Theater, with a limited, invitation-only audience, with streaming available for the wider public in the social networks.
The 2020 Concursos Talento Flamenco have had the highest number of participants since the Cristina Heeren Foundation, with the collaboration of Acciona, resumed its contests for young artists three years ago. The contest Talento Flamenco de Cante ‘Naranjito de Triana’ 2020 features 24 contestants, most from Andalusia, but also from Barcelona, Mexico, Chile and Russia. The contest Talento Flamenco de Baile ‘Manolo Soler’ 2020 features 31 contestants, almost half of them from several parts of Andalusia, 6 foreigners from France, Japan, Argentina and Puerto Rico, and 11 from other regions of Spain, such as Calalunya, Murcia, Madrid, Extremadura and Castilla-León. The Concurso de Guitarra de Acompañamiento 2020 features 15 guitarists, including — for the first time — two women. Most of the aspiring guitarists are also from Andalusia, with one contestant from Extremadura and five foreigners from Iran, Serbia, Chile and Syria.
«In these difficult times, we must keep our commitment with culture and flamenco, particularly with the younger artists, because our goal is to support the training and the professional development of the flamenco artists of the future» (Cristina Heeren)
The teachers of the faculty of the Cristina Heeren Foundation will select the semi-finalists of cante and the finalists of baile and guitar, from the videos submitted by the contestants. The list of selected contestants will be published on June 15th. The live trials will take place in July at Seville’s Flamenco Triana Theater, with a limited, invitation-only audience, according to the recommendations of public health officials regarding Covid-19. Thus, to accommodate a wider public, the trials will be streamed in the social networks. The semi-finals of cante will take place on July 7th and July 9th, while the final will be held on July 13th. The final of guitar is scheduled for July 16th, and the final of baile will close the 2020 edition on July 21st. All performance trials will start at 7 PM.
Supporting the flamenco artists of the future
The finalists will be awarded seven Acciona scholarships — valued at 5,000 euros — to study a full year at Seville’s flamenco school, with a grant of 900 euros. Three money prizes in each contest will also be awarded: first prize, 1,400 euros; second prize, 900 euros; and third prize, 600 euros. The organizers of these contests, who have the collaboration of the Culture Council of the Junta de Andalucía, believe that during these difficult times «we must keep our commitment with culture and flamenco, particularly with the younger artists , because our goal is support the training and the professional development of the flamenco artists of the future», explained Cristina Heeren, president of the Foundation. In its first three editions, Talento Flamenco awarded scholarships to 24 emerging artists and gave prizes to more than 80 contestants, among them emerging starts such as cantaores Lela Soto ‘Sordera’, José Montoya ‘Berenjeno’ and Kiko Peña, guitarist Martín Fayos and bailaor Juan Tomás de la Molía, among many others, who already have their professional careers on track.
Imagen above: performance of the students of the Cristina Heeren Foundation at the Cajasol Theater, June 2019. Photo: perezventana