Flamenco 31 – A few we couldn’t leave out (1)

As our series on Flamenco draws to a close we are going to round it off with a couple of posts in honour of the artists we have perhaps only mentioned in passing or missed out altogether. It doesn’t feel right to finish without mentioning them. Some of them are artists from a long time ago and despite being an integral part of the history of the genre have only a limited presence on-line. Others are still active. This is the first of two posts, the second will be next Friday (16th December). We will be doing a special post for Christmas Eve and finish the series the following Friday (30th December) with a look at the history and origins of the genre. We hope you have enjoyed the series.


Pastora María Pavón Cruz, “Niña de los Peines”, (1890 – 1969) was born in Seville. She is widely considered to be the best Cantaora in the history of Flamenco. She was known as La Niña de los Peines because of the lyrics of one of the songs she sang: “Péinate tú con mis peines; / mis peines son de canela…” (“Comb your hair with my combs / my combs are made of cinnamon”). She sang a wide range of palos and all of them to perfection. García Lorca was fascinated by her – he considered her to be the paradigm of the Cantaora with that rarest and hardly definable quality – “duende”.

La Niña De Los Peines – Alegrías


María Dolores Flores Ruiz was born in Jerez in 1923 and died in Madrid in 1995. She was a singer of copla as well as Flamenco, an accomplished and dramatic Bailaora as well as an actress. She was known as La Faraona – a nod in the direction of those who consider that the Gypsies reached Spain via Egypt in the Middle Ages. She formed a duo with her husband Antonio González “El Pescaílla”. Their three children Lolita, Antonio (died 1995) and Rosario have carried on the family tradition.

Lola Flores – Bulerías de Año Nuevo


Manuel Ortega Juárez, born in Seville in 1909, was a Gypsy Cantaor and is considered one of the best of all times. He came from a long line of Flamenco artists and was the great-great-grandson of “El Planeta” one of the first Cantaores of whom records exist. He was particularly famous for his show Zambra in which he starred with Lola Flores. His Fandangos were so personal that his style, which is imitated to this day, was given the name “Fandangos Caracoleros”.

Manolo Caracol & Melchor de Marchena – Fandangos Caracoleros.


Arturo Pavón (1930 – 2005) was a pioneer in the use of the piano in Flamenco. He came from a long line of Flamenco artists – his father, Arturo, was a Cantaor and his mother, Eloisa Albéniz, a Bailaora. Pastora Pavón was his aunt.
Arturo Pavón was married to the Cantaora Luisa Ortega, Manolo Caracol’s daughter.


Luisa Ortega Gómez, is a Tonadillera (singer of traditional Spanish songs) and Cantaora, the true heir to the legacy of of the Ortega saga. She bears a strong resemblance to her father, Manolo Caracol, both physically – being tall and having strong Gypsy looks – as well as artistically – having inherited his strong voice, its pitch and personal style.

Luisa Ortega y Arturo Pavón – Ay Pena, Penita, Pena (Zambra)


Rafael Farina was born in Salamanca in 1923 to a Gypsy family that made its living from cattle trading. He started singing for tips with his elder brother, El Calderas de Salamanca, in the bars in the red light district of the town at the age of six. His big break came when he joined Concha Piquer’s company and toured Spain and Latin America. He later starred in a number of films and worked with Antonio Molina.
His familiarity with La Copla (traditional Spanish music hall songs) led to his creation of a new paloCopla Flamenca. Diego “El Cigala” is his nephew.

Rafael Farina – Fandangos Puente de Coplas


The Bailaora Josefa Bastos Otero was born in a village near Seville in 1954. Her parents ran a grocery store in the town of Dos Hermanas and she spent her free time practising her dancing in the storeroom. She made her début at the age of seven and at the age of 13 took part in a Flamenco Gala in the town organised by the painter Juan Britto. She was soon invited to dance by the leading artists of the day and the list of artists she has worked with is a veritable Flamenco roll of honour: Juan Valderrama, Pepe Marchena, Pepe Pinto, Antonio el Sevillano, Antonio Mairena and Juan Talega, to name but a few.
Here she is accompanied by her husband, the guitarist Ricardo Miño, with a fantastic interpretation of a Caña Flamenca.

Pepa Montes – Caña


María Jiménez Gallego, who was born in the Triana neighbourhood of Seville in 1950 and is a singer and dancer who became famous for the “liberal” (read: “spicy or piquant”) content of both her songs and performances. She performed Rumbas at Tablaos such as Las Brujas in the mid seventies as Spain and its artists were throwing off the shackles of forty years of dictatorship and enjoying the freedoms of the new-found democracy. She has enjoyed something of a return to popularity in recent times working with younger artists.

María Jiménez – Se Acabó (Rumba)


Juan Carmona was born in Granada en 1933. He belongs to a long saga of Flamenco guitarists descended from the nineteenth century guitarist Habichuela el Viejo. He started out as a Bailaor but soon took up the guitar, studying under his father and other guitarists in Granada such as Ovejilla. He moved to Madrid while he was still very young and worked at different tablaos, accompanying Gracia del Sacromonte and Mario Maya.
He went on to work with a number of different companies accompanying, among others, the Cantaores Manolo Caracol, Juan Valderrama, Fosforito, Rafael Farina and Enrique Morente. He now works with Estrella Morente. His son and nephew are the backbone of the group Ketama. His grandson, Juan, is carrying on the saga and is currently working with Enrique Morente junior.

Juan Habichuela – “Granaina”


María Dolores Amaya Vega was born in Triana in 1962. She was one of Camarón de la Isla’s favourite Cantaoras. She is perhaps best known for her calamitous appearance in the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest where she picked up a traumatic “nil points”. This is something that has marked her career and is both unfortunate and unfair. A fine singer of the more upbeat palos such as Rumbas and Bulerías, she has enjoyed modest commercial success. Her voice is very well suited to these styles and she has always enjoyed the respect of both critics and her Flamenco peers.

Remedios Amaya – Fiesta por Bulerías


The Flamenco guitarist, composer and Cantaor Diego Carrasco was born in Jerez in 1954. He started out as “Tate de Jérez” accompanying famous Cantaores and Bailaores of the time such as Alejandro Vega and Antonio Gades.
His rebelious nature led him to experiment with rock fusions, most notably with the singer Miguel Ríos and the group Guadalquivir. From the early eighties onwards he has worked as a solo artist marrying his Flamenco roots with a more rock oriented style. He is particularly respected for his use and mastery of rhythm and beat.

Diego Carrasco & Guadalquivir – Bulerias del Siete


The Cantaor Miguel Ángel Poveda León was born in Barcelona in 1973 and started performing in the different Flamenco Peñas in his native Catalonia. In 1993 he won the Lámpara Minera at the Festival Nacional del Cante de las Minas de La Unión, as well as three other prizes in the individual categories of Soleá, Cartagenera and Malagueña. He turned professional that year.

Miguel Poveda – Tres Puñales (Copla Flamenca)

And to end a collaboration from 2010 between these last two artists that really know how to unite two generations of Flamenco with spontaneity and joy. Two artists who are always at hand to perform at fund raisers and tributes to other artists.

Miguel Poveda & Diego Carrasco “Alfileres de Colores”

One Response to Flamenco 31 – A few we couldn’t leave out (1)

  1. Pingback: The Flamenco Series « Casa Maki

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