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Jazz, flamenco and piano stars complete Nerja Cave Festival line-up

70 years old: Paquito D'Rivera will celebrate his birthday alongside the Pepe Rivera Trío.
70 years old: Paquito D'Rivera will celebrate his birthday alongside the Pepe Rivera Trío. / SUR
  • Soprano Barbara Hendricks, clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, pianist Javier Perianes and flamenco dancer Manuel Liñán will all perform

Nerja Cave Festival will include a gospel singer who has won the Príncipe de Asturias award for arts, a flamenco dancer who won the latest National Dance Prize, a Manuel de Falla recital by a nationally-renowned artist and a jazz performance by a fourteen-times Grammy winner.

The International Nerja Cave Festival this year celebrates its 59th anniversary with a line-up of renowned artists, including American soprano Barbara Hendricks, the dancer Manuel Liñán, the pianist Javier Perianes and the Cuban clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, with a local flavour provided by the Malaga Province Symphony Orchestra, directed by Salvador Vázquez.

The event, organised by the Nerja Cave Foundation, will take place in three separate locations. Last year, the organisation decided to limit the number of acts that took place within the cave itself in order to make sure that it was conserved for future generations. Last year, only one show took place among stalactites and stalagmites. This time round, in accordance with expert advice, two shows will take place in the intimate natural setting: the opening and the closing act.

Barbara Hendricks, the first North American musician awarded the Príncipe de Asturias award for arts, in the year 2000, will evoke, through gospel, blues and spiritualism, the fight undertaken by slaves for their liberty and the end of racial segregation led by Martin Luther King. A Hammond organ and a guitar accompany 'The road to freedom', a performance that will open the event on 16 June.

The festival will close on 19 July with a performance from Javier Perianes (National Music Award), a very popular pianist who sells out venues wherever he plays. The music of Claude Debussy and Manuel de Falla will resonate around the cave.

Only 525 people will attend these concerts; a few years ago the capacity was reduced by removing an annex structure for conservation purposes.

For the second year, the gardens that surround the cave will be open to visitors who want a break from the cave's dark interior, and can instead enjoy the natural beauty of the natural formation, which has been declared an Asset of Cultural Heritage and aspires to one day be granted World Heritage status.

Outside the cave, the capacity is 1,200 people. In this space Manuel Liñán's company - which last year received the National Prize for Dance - will perform 'Nómada' on 29 June, which won the Max prize for best performance.

On 13 July, the Cuban saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera will celebrate his 70th birthday. The multiple Grammy winner and cofounder of the legendary music group Irakere alongside Chucho Valdés will be accompanied by the Pepe Rivera Trío.

The Nerja Cave Festival will also continue its tradition of offering a free performance in the Plaza de España, which this year will be delivered by the Malaga Province Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Salvador Vázquez and featuring the pianist Antonio Ortiz. This will take place on 5 July from 10pm.

Miguel and Francisco, who famously discovered the cave as young boys, will attend all of the events and celebrate the discovery of a cave of incalculable scientific and cultural value.