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A new festival honoring flamenco icon Camarón de la Isla will take place on Dec. 5, his birthday, in San Fernando, the town in Southern Spain where the famed singer was born and raised. Widely ackowledged as the greatest flamenco singer of all time, Camarón pioneered a modern flamenco sound along with guitarist Paco de Lucia. With the release of the groundbreaking 1979 album La Leyenda del Tiempo he was compared to a rock star, an image of the indelible artist that persists until this day.
“Camerón is a legend of flamenco and an international legend,” Fusión X Camarón producer Javier Vázquez Selvático tells Billboard. He describes the festival as carrying on the innovation embodied by Camarón, who died in 1992. Fusión X Camarón will feature 14 hours of music by artists of several generations with diverse styles. “He was a pioneer in fusing flamenco with other kinds of music. He wasn’t afraid to mix flamenco with other genres.”
The festival line-up includes former Camarón collaborators Raimundo Amador and Kiko Veneno, who both went on to create flamenco-rooted, genre-bending music that has brought them cult followings; Diego Carrasco, another artist who has been key to the evolution of flamenco; psychedelic flamenco rockers Derby Motoreta’s Burrito Kachimba, Maka, who mixes flamenco and rap; and singer María José Llergo, who some have called “the next Rosalía.” Tomasito, Maloko & the Carrasco Family, Nani Cortés & Lin Cortés and Alba Molina are also set to perform.
“Every kind of music fits here in fusion with flamenco,” says Vázquez. “This isn’t just a tribute or a pure flamenco festival. It’s a festival that sounds of today.” Camarón’s widow, “La Chispa,” and his children will also appear at the festival, which will include a guided tour of Camarón’s home, his gravesite and other emblematic sites in San Fernando.
“Camarón had an incredible influence,” Vázquez says. “If he put on a bracelet, soon everyone would be wearing the same one. And he is still an incredible influence on young people today. Camarón is one of music’s greatest legends.”
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