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Latin Grammy nominees to perform free concert at UNG

This image from the Grammy-nominated CD "Jugar con Fuego" shows flamenco singer Juan Pinilla, left, and Dr. Fernando Valverde, right.

Two artists nominated for a Latin Grammy – flamenco singer Juan Pinilla and Dr. Fernando Valverde, visiting professor at the University of North Georgia (UNG) – will be performing at the university on Nov. 18, days before flying to Las Vegas for the awards show.

Valverde and Pinilla, friends who both hail from Granada, Spain, will perform selections from "Jugar con Fuego," or "Playing With Fire," an album that features Valverde reciting his poetry as Pinilla plays flamenco-style guitar, beginning at 8 p.m. in the Hoag Auditorium on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. The concert is free and open to the public.

The album is nominated in the "Best Flamenco Album" category. Other nominees include Juan Carmona, Paco de Lucía, Enrique Morente and Rosario La Tremendita.

Pinilla currently is on a world tour, with performances in New York, Seattle and Mexico City slated just before the UNG performance with Valverde. Both will fly to Las Vegas for the 15th annual Latin Grammy Awards show on Nov. 20.

According to Pinilla's blog, he and Valverde met in 2003 while working as journalists in the culture section of La Opinion de Granada. Both artists have won a plethora of international awards in their respective disciplines.

Valverde is teaching two Spanish classes at UNG and has invited many world-class Spanish poets and writers to UNG to talk about their work, providing students a unique opportunity to polish their knowledge of the language and culture.

Valverde's books have been published across Europe and North America and translated into various languages. He has been recognized with important accolades such as the Emilio Alarcos award from the Principality of Asturias, the Federico García Lorca award and the Antonio Machado award. At age 24, he became the first author younger than 30 with two publications in the prestigious Visor publishing house. His best-known books are:  "Reasons to Flee from a Cold City" (Visor, 2004), "The Eyes of the Pelican" (Visor, 2010) and "The Insistence of Harm" (Visor, 2014). He holds a doctorate in literature and a master's degree in Hispanic language and culture.

He has worked for a decade as a journalist for El Pais, the largest-circulation daily newspaper in Spain. He directs the International Festival of Poetry in Granada that has hosted Nobel Prize laureates such as Derek Walcott, Wole Soyinka, Hertla Muller, and Mario Vargas Llosa.

In 2013, Valverde's poem "Celia" was selected as Spain's best poem of the year, for which he received the Train Prize. Celia has been translated into more than a dozen languages and has been printed more than 100 times. The Latin American Writers Institute of the University of New York has named his latest book, "The Insistence of Harm," Book of the Year in 2014.

Pinilla, a flamenco singer, writer and journalist, has won many awards, including the 2007 Festival del Cante de las Minas with the prize Lampara Minera, considered the most important flamenco prize. He has performed around the world, including Europe, Asia and the Middle East. "Jugar con Fuego" is his fifth album.

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