Tuna Femenina of the University of Medicine of Granada: Renewed Tradition

The history of the Tuna Femenina of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Granada (UGR) is short as well as extensive. The idea came about on April 17, 2015, although several attempts had been made before. “Finally, it was achieved,” explains Blanca Lucio, head of Tuna. In a telephone conversation from Madrid, where she practices as a doctor, Lucio explains why the female prickly pear was created.

The concern to form this group was born out of interest in the musical aspect. “Sometimes the prickly pear is not usually associated with music, but with leisure.” Among the group of pioneers were Samay Campos, Sol Mochón, Rosalia Amor, Elena del Águila and Adriana Martínez-Castroverde, Lucio Lists. They wanted to recover the Spanish musical tradition, at first in a tunable, non-professional way.

To do this, they got the help of Male Tuna from the same faculty, the Faculty of Medicine. “They were the ones who helped us, they were our godfathers,” recalls the current head of the Female Prickly Pears. “We were not alone.” The idea was to form a mixed group, but it did not come to fruition. Each prickly pear, male and female, ultimately has its own performance and unique characteristics.

There is a minefield in this case of being a prickly pear. Lucio says that there are twelve people who have “recently joined” and who wish to receive their schism, the symbol that certifies that one has the necessary experience to become a Tuna. “They’re learning to live here,” he says of the journey these recent incorporations will follow. There are 33 in the group.

“You have to work at it,” he says of what he thinks about being a prickly pear. They take part in activities such as welcome days for students in the University Hall at every start of the course, women’s races or solidarity against cancer and sporting events, food collections or visiting residential centers at Christmas to sing Christmas carols. “We like that.”

And what does it take to become a prickly pear? Blanca Lucio summed it up this way. “In principle, willingness and commitment.” “I came in without knowing anything about music and now I’m the chief bandurian,” he says of his career. Lucio learned from another prickly pear, who was later taught by another classmate. Most of its activities are carried out in Grenada, but the group is defined as diverse and even geographically dispersed, although the majority of its members are in Grenada. “This is what makes our prickly pear magical. Even if some of us are out, we continue. We don’t stop,” says the head of the association.

To cope with activities such as participating in prickly pear competitions – the next competition is in La Linea de la Concepción – they set in motion the machinery to raise money. These activities “unite us.”

Besides being part of a group with similar interests, prickly pear also has other effects on its members. In the particular case of Blanca – who came to Granada from Cantabria to study medicine – “she helped me a lot.” Even in the preparation stage of MIR. “On Sundays I used to go out with prickly pears,” he remembers. This helped the young doctor not to give up during the intense months of work before the exams.

Relations between the group and the University of Granada are “very good”. The institution cooperates in the transfer or financing of vacant spaces. “It makes us feel quite wrapped up.”

The Tuna Femenina de Medicina has several means of contacting the association. He has the email tunafmedicinagranada@gmail.com and the Instagram account @tfmgranada.


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