fourth golden key award for song: flamenco prizes llave de oro del cante camaron de la isla
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la llave de oro del cante - fourth golden key award for song

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continued from llave de oro del cante part 3



fourth golden key award 2000

Jose Monje Cruz - Camaron de la Isla



















The date 5th December year 2000 was chosen because it fell exactly 50 years after his birth.

Every few years nostalgia for Jose Monje Cruz - Camaron de la Isla - wells up and this time the Cadiz local government (la Diputacion de Cadiz) felt pressured to put together an exhibition of photos, posters and personal memorabilia. It coincided with the public release of a second CD of unedited recording of Camaron. Doubtless the discography company saw another commercial potential and wanted Camaron to receive the Golden Key Award so that more CDs could be sold. Anything to keep him in the public eye.

The trophy was "registered" officially by the Andalusian government, but it is still not clear what that meant, since its role as prizegiver was neither inherited nor voted. Nevertheless the Andalusian government maintained it made the award for the singer's uniqueness - "por la singularidad del cantaor". They considered it to be not a prize, rather an exceptional recognition, perhaps equivalent to the MBE for the Beatles. Politics has certainly taken over the Llave de Oro!

The Cultural section of the government say it should be generous where talent is evident and so not close the door to further awards of the Llave de Oro just because it was awarded to a previous singer. A spokesperson for the Consejeria de Cultura andaluza said: "No es bueno que nos quedemos parados pensando que como ya lo tiene alguien no lo puede tener nadie mas, hay que ser generosos y respetuosos con quienes fueron geniales."

This opens up the field for the future. Perhaps we can expect to see the Golden Key Award to go to other worthy singers such as Antonio Chacon, Silverio Franconetti, Pepe Marchena, Terremoto de Jerez or even the truly famous Niña de los Peines.

Where does this leave us? History has shown that no consistent set of rules were applied to the four Golden Key Awards and in the last case there was not even a competition. Consequently it cannot be called a prize. Now it is in the hands of politicians who can turn it into a capricious award for the future.

If the Llave de Oro is to be seen as the ultimate accolade in flamenco song, then it must have a consensus of regulation about its status. Its authenticity becomes questionable when other true competition prizes and awards exist, such as the Concurso Nacional de Arte Flamenco de Cordoba (every three years), the Bienal de Sevilla (every two years) and the Premios Nacionales de la Catedra de Flamencologia de Jerez (occasional awards in recognition of brilliant work.)

One suggestion is to set up an independent committee to draft a suitable set of rules acceptable to the Presidents of the Federation of Peñas Flamencas. Who should appoint the committee - the government?! The whole idea breaks down because flamenco is by nature very individual, even anarchical. There is no national curriculum of flamenco dance, let alone song. Who is to say that one singer is the best of all? Or will the trophy degenerate into a publicity match between commercially backed stars, just like the Oscars... Please no!

The Golden Key Award will continue to hold a controversial position in flamenco and survive precisely because the Andalusians love prizes.

Jose Monje Cruz - Camaron de la Isla

Content flamenco prizes golden key award © Simon Zolan 2001




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