Saturday, October 1

Who has promoted flamenco in Extremadura as a cultural asset?


Show of flamenco from Extremadura in the Plaza Alta in Badajoz, the cradle of this art. / TODAY

From the gypsy families of the Plaza Alta in Badajoz who contributed to seeding this art in the region and triggered its popularity with figures like Porrina to outstanding singers like Miguel de Tena or Celia Romero

Angela Murillo

Extremadura flamenco is in luck. From today it is of cultural interest (BIC). This art, which is part of the artistic heritage of the region, has held the title of BIC since Tuesday, March 14, after becoming official through publication in the Official Gazette of Extremadura.

No one disputes that flamenco, declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity since 2010, is a hallmark of Extremaduran culture, as this dance, cante, guitar playing and its palos. they are incardinated in our society, backed by a great hobby reflected in clubs, federations, festivals and competitions that are held in different municipalities. This reality is evidenced by the resolution approved by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports. Currently the region has great exponents of cante jondo, such as Miguel de Tena or Celia Romero, both winners of the Festival de Cante de las Minas (Murcia), the last one when he was only 16 years old.

Flamenco in Extremadura encompasses not only the peculiar autochthonous contributions and individual creations of Extremaduran artists that distinguish it from the rest of the flamenco geography, but also everything that it has in common and with which it participates in the common heritage of Spanish flamenco.

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Where does Extremaduran flamenco originate?

Flamencologists do not dispute that Extremadura is part of the origin of flamenco. This land has known how to care for and preserve the native styles, such as jaleos and tangos. The Extremaduran flamenco embryo arises, fundamentally, in the gypsy settlements. In this germ, sources of cultural exchange were, without a doubt, fairs with great attendance and gypsy prominence, such as those of Fregenal de la Sierra, Mérida or Zafra.

The Ministry of Culture considers that flamenco is guaranteed its survival in Extremadura because it forms part of its hallmarks. The cante is evident in parties, cultural programs and family gatherings. Extremadura has given flamenco creators and two autochthonous styles, which “more than justifies the consideration of ‘Flamenco in Extremadura’ as an asset of cultural interest”.

Flamenco gala at the Castuera rock. /

TODAY

More than fifty rocks

Flamenco has been passed down from generation to generation and remains a living cultural expression. Proof of this is the good number of representative artists of this art, both singers, dancers and guitarists; the large number of fans represented through fifty flamenco clubs, three federations and two associations of flamenco artists; in addition to great creators of cante jondo; as well as critics and researchers.

The Board also highlights the support of different Administrations for its promotion and safeguarding. «Fundamental in everything related to flamenco is, moreover, the gypsy ethnic group, both for its creative capacity and for the interpretive qualities of the rituals that stage petitions, weddings or baptisms, in all very close to flamenco».

Porrina from Badajoz. /

TODAY

Badajoz High Square

The first and most important flamenco forms arose around what seems to be the focus and epicenter of the genesis of Extremaduran flamenco singing: the Plaza Alta de Badajoz and its surroundings.

Extremadura cante, and especially its most characteristic styles, that is, jaleos and tangos, are transmitted and sung by a few families known and recognized by the group. The report for the BIc SE statement refers to the family of Tío Juan Tomá, married to Tía Ana –Porrina’s parents–, that of La Hipólita, with their two sons, El Romillero and Alejandro Vega, and their granddaughter Remedios Amaya. Another flamenco family is that of Alejandro, father of La Marelu, La Jorobita and El Pepe. We cannot forget the family of El Musiquina, father of El Guadiana and Ramón El Portugués.

The singers ‘El Madalena’ and María de los Ángeles Salazar ‘La Kaita’, together with the bailaor Antonio Silva ‘El Peregrino’, in a performance at the Town Hall of Badajoz. /

TODAY

Within these families or in the heat of their influences, interpreters such as La Kaita, La Negra, Domingo Rodríguez de la Concepción (El Madalena), etc. are born. But, without a doubt, he is José Salazar Molina, Porrina de Badajoz, the emblematic and fundamental singer on the Extremaduran flamenco scene. ‘El Porras’, behind his heterodoxy, treasured a strong cantaora and creative personality. This, together with a beautiful and powerful voice that reached very risky registers, and a ductility that made her transform and cultivate a gold and silver bajini, make her be considered the leading figure of flamenco inside and outside of Extremadura.

Creators of fandangos or tarantas

Extremadura not only provides good interpreters. It also has creators who have contributed to enriching the flamenco tree: ‘Manolo de Fregenal’, creator of three forms of fandangos; Pepe ‘El Molinero’, from Campanario, creator of a taranta; or José Pérez de Guzmán, from Jerez de los Caballeros, creator of an “abandolao” fandango.

Flamenco in Extremadura has permeated socially and culturally. In the 21st century, the regional Administration considers that we live in an important moment of it. In Extremadura there are artists who have won awards and such a presence and projection, even outside our region, that makes them a benchmark in the current flamenco scene. «Our autonomous community has names of prestigious researchers, also recognized at a national level, whose contributions have contributed to making our flamenco better known and to recognizing our particular contribution to the general tree of cante».

Celia Romero at the Badass Festival. /

TODAY

Currently there are multiple flamenco events that take place throughout Extremadura, as well as the efforts and support of the different administrations and the necessary organization around flamenco associations and clubs.

As examples of the support and protection that Flamenco receives in Extremadura, it is worth mentioning the celebration of outstanding activities such as the Porrina Festival in Badajoz, the nights of Santa María in Plasencia or Badasom.


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