Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

La Unión, El Cante de las Minas

La Unión is an unremarkable town in Murcia. They used to mine lead, silver and pyrites there and as the miners worked they sang a sort of Flamenco - the song of the mines.

Nowadays the town hosts a Flamenco festival each summer that is famous enough to merit TV and radio mentions every day that it's on. The professional Flamenco dancers, singers and guitarists run for a week but for the last four days there is a competition in each of the three disciplines for newcomers. The overall winner picks up 12,000€, a trophy in the shape of a miner's lamp and almost certainly a professional career.

We went to one of the semi-final days. The event is held in an old "Victorian" cast iron and glass market hall with plastic chairs arranged in rows for the audience. It starts at 10.45pm (Spanish time) and goes on for about 3 hours. Not bad value for 8.50€ and even though I don't like Flamenco much it was impressive stuff.

This man, Juan Pinilla, won the lamp

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