MADRID, Spain — Spain’s oldest flamenco festival will visit India in 2014, retracing the origins of the classic Spanish musical form, organisers said Wednesday.
The Cante de las Minas festival plans its first overseas event in March in Jodhpur, in Rajasthan state — considered the home of the migrant gypsies from whom southern Spain’s flamenco culture sprang.
“We were inspired by the search for the common origins of flamenco and the music of Rajasthan,” said Francisco Bernabe, director of the festival and mayor of La Union, home to the festival in the Murcia region of southeastern Spain.
“They say that the gypsies from Rajasthan who emigrated to Europe centuries ago brought with them their traditions, culture and music and this music evolved in Spain into what is now flamenco.”
Cante de las Minas is named after a special form of flamenco associated with workers from Andalucia who came to work in the mines of nearby Murcia in the late 19th century.
“The songs of the mines are a special branch of flamenco unique to this area,” said Bernabe.
“They are among the hardest, most serious and most intense and difficult songs,” reflecting the hardship of the miners’ lives, he added.
Highly regarded by purists, the festival has been held 52 times and has hosted some of the biggest names in flamenco.
Bernabe said dignitaries in Jodhpur had proposed setting up a research centre on the common origins of the two regions’ music.
The festival also plans to travel to Japan and the United States.