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The taranta is part of the cantes de Levante category in flamenco and within that belongs to the cantes de las minas forms (songs from the mines) and also include cartageneras, mineras, murcianas, granaínas and media granaínas. The taranta originates from Almería and then was also sung in other mining areas such as Jaén and Murcia, where La Unión is situated; there are regional differences. 

Donn Pohren gives us an example of a taranta verse in his book called The Art of Flamenco:

Clamaba un minero así                          A miner cried out

en el fondo de una mina;                      at the bottom of a mine;

¡Ayy en qué soleá me encuentro!           ayy what lonliness I have!

y en mi compaña un candil                    and although I have a lamp

y yo la salía no encuentro.                     I cannot find my way out.

Since 1964 the city of Linares in Jaén has organised a competition dedicated to tarantas and other cantes libres, in order to keep the mining roots of their cities alive. In August 2010 the XLVI Concurso Nacional de Tarantas ‘Ciudad de Linares’ was held. 

46_concurso_cante_por_tarantas

Of the 52 singers who entered, six finalists were chosen: Juan Fuentes Pavón from Linares, Álvaro Díaz Carrellan from Bollullos del Condado in Huelva,???José López Fernández from Cullar Vega in Granada, Antonio Haya Morales from Cañete de las Torres in Córdoba, Adriana Rivas Fernández from Adra in Almería and Domingo Herrerías Pozo from Córdoba.

First prize was awarded to Álvaro Díaz Carrellan from Bollullos del Condado in Huelva.

© 2010 Thérèse Wassily Saba

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