Flaming fiery flamenco summer

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SUMMER IS undoubtedly Flamenco season in Spain, the fire and passion taking on another dimension in the heat of a tropical night.

Two festivals taking place in the country this summer offer a total contrast to the genre of Flamenco, one traditional and one avant-garde, but both sure to generate passion and enthusiasm in those who witness them.

One takes place locally in Murcia at the end of July and the other in the capital Madrid at the end of June.

The International Flamenco Song Festival held in San Javier from July 24 to July 30 is in its thirty eighth year and considered to be the number one of its kind.

This year’s line-up includes established artists mixed with youthful performers to create a series of tempting concerts.

Feted flamenco artists, Maria Vargas and Paco Cepero are on the bill, with the youth of singers like Manuel Cuevas and his son, Rancapino Chico, Raul “El Balilla” and Francisco Manuel Pajares.

In addition are the inclusion of new groups bringing a breath of fresh air to this art without losing the purity of flamenco.

The sextet of Vasco Hernández, the group Desflamencados and the Ballet of Lo Ferro, plus a singing competition established for many years.

By contrast, the second flamenco festival takes place in Madrid to coincide with the Gay World Pride which is celebrated on the first weekend of July.

Flamenco Diverso is the first Gay Flamenco festival to be held and the star attraction will be the sensational Miguel Poveda, who will perform for three nights at the Coliseo in the capital.

Long considered a macho genre of music, when Poveda came out two years ago the flamenco world was in a state of shock, but 41 year Catalan star stood proud and continued his rise to stardom.

“In flamenco there have been gays since the world began. People have to love each other, to love each other, to enjoy art, life. Humans are crazy. They kill each other, they fight, they discriminate, they beat each other because a boy likes another boy, or because a girl likes another girl, ” Poveda famously told El Periodico when he announced his sexuality.

With other artists such as Fernando López, Antonia Jiménez, Marta Robles, and Rocio Molina taking part, organiser Jaci Gonzalez is hoping to attract a new, crossover audience visiting for the pride event, who may be attracted by the idea of flamenco:

“The fundamental thing is that flamenco is sexier than rock, reggae and reggaeton, and that is clear in New York, Paris, Tokyo, Amsterdam or London.” Said Gonzalez and who would be a fool to argue with those sentiments.

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