Flamenco 32 – A Few We Couldn’t Leave Out (2)

This is the second of our posts highlighting the work of a number of artists we felt we had to mention before we bring the series to a close. We hope you enjoy it.


The Cantaor Juan Valderrama Blanca was born in Torredelcampo in the province of Jaén in 1916. He started singing whilst still working as a farmhand and made his début in 1935 in the company run by Dolores Alcántara “La Niña de la Puebla” a year before the Civil War started. In 1936 he joined a battalion of the CNT (The Anarchist Trade Union) and spent the war with many like-minded artists providing entertainment for the Republican troops. By the end of the war he had become well known and formed his own company. He made a number of films and enjoyed considerable success throughout the fifties and sixties. He is perhaps best remembered for his melodramatic work of those times but he was a fine singer of Fandangos and other palos. He died in 2004.

Juanito Valderrama-Fandangos de Huelva


The Bailaora Micaela Flores Amaya, La Chunga, was born in Marseilles around 1938. Her family were Andalusian Gypsies that had emigrated to France and moved to Barcelona at the end of the Civil War. She started dancing (she danced barefoot) at a Bodega in Barcelona and quickly built up quite a following. She was championed by writers such as Blas de Otero and Rafael Alberti as well as by Picasso and Dalí. She joined Pastora Imperio’s company in 1956 and thanks to Ava Gardner even took part in a couple of Hollywood films. Here she is in a clip from 1964.

La Chunga – Rumba Flamenca


José Salazar Molina was born in Badajoz in 1924 and died in Madrid in 1977. Porrina de Badajoz is remembered for his exceptional voice and singing style which were quite unlike any of his contemporaries. His strong, unwavering flamenco tones coupled with a crispness and speed of delivery made him almost as unmistakable as his trademark dark glasses, sharp dress sense and his carnation buttonhole did. Being from Badajoz close to the Portuguese border, he had a particular affinity with the music of that country.

Porrina de Badajoz – Tangos Portugueses


Antonio Esteve Ródenas (1936 – 2004) was a dancer and choreographer. He was born in Elda in Alicante although his family moved to Madrid in 1937 after his father, a bricklayer, had joined the Republican army and was sent to fight at the Madrid Front. He started work at the age of ten in a photographic studio and as errand boy at the offices of the ABC newspaper. In 1949 he signed up for dance classes and met Pilar López Júlvez who was impressed by his natural talent and exquisite style. In 1951 he joined her company.
He later went on to form his own company and worked with the film maker Carlos Saura on a production of Lorca’s Bodas de Sangre. Whilst not a Bailaor in the strictest sense – he studied and danced the full repertoire of traditional Spanish dance – there is a strong Flamenco feel to a lot of his work and his stage name “Gades” was chosen in honour of the city of Cadiz.

Antonio Gades – Bodas de Sangre (rehearsal)


Cristina Hoyos Panadero, who was born in Seville in 1946, is a Bailaora, choreographer and actress. She started dancing at the age of 12 in the show “Galas Juveniles” and studied under Adelita Domingo and Enrique El Cojo. In 1969 she joined Antonio Gades’ company and went on to work with him for the next twenty years taking part in the trilogy of films “Bodas de Sangre”, “Carmen” and “El Amor Brujo”. When “Carmen” premiered in 1983 her performance in the lead role was described as the best that had ever been seen. In 1988 she formed her own company – “Ballet Cristina Hoyos” – and debuted her first show, “Sueños Flamencos” in Paris the following year.

Here she is in a scene from El Amor Brujo, dancing with Antonio Gades’ company.

Cristina Hoyos – El Amor Brujo (Manuel de Falla)

And here she is dancing the Danza del Fuego Fatuo with Antonio Gades in the same film.

Cristina Hoyos and Antonio Gades – El Amor Brujo – Danza del Fuego Fatuo


Antonia Hernández Peralta was born in Huelva in 1939. She started singing professionally at the beginning of the fifties and worked with leading artists of the day such as Juanito Valderrama, Manolo Escobar and Lola Flores. She has recorded nearly forty albums and enjoyed considerable success singing both Flamenco and Canción Española. She had commanding stage presence and a powerful, captivating voice. She is now retired and lives in Madrid.

Perlita de Huelva – A mi Puerta (Fandango)


José Zarzana, the son of the Gypsy Cantaor of the same name, was born in Jerez in 1972. He is a teacher at the Manuel de Falla Conservatory in Cadiz. He is a pianist and composer with a passion for Flamenco and is very active both as a performer at Festivals and Galas and as a composer of Flamenco piano pieces. His classical training, he says, “allows me to make sure that everything is in the right place and at the right time whilst never losing sight of the true origins of the art form”. He is currently working on a new show with Rafael Fernández Suárez.

José Zarzana (Father and Son) – Zambra


Joaquín Pedraja Reyes was born in Cordoba in 1969. When he was a child his family moved to Madrid and he started studying dance when he was twelve. He joined the Spanish National Ballet at the age of fourteen and very quickly became a solo dancer. He has performed around the world and at the age of 23 had formed his own company. He needs no further introduction.
Here he is dancing a Martinete, which you will probably remember is a palo sung a cappela and whose rhythms are based on the sounds of the forge.

Joaquín Cortés – Martinete


María del Rocío Trinidad Mohedano Jurado was born in Chipiona in 1944 and died in Madrid in 2006 and was a singer of Flamenco, Copla and other traditional and popular styles. She was best known for her romantic ballads and other more commercial work but had a much wider repertoire than most people seem to remember. We saw her in the Cantes de Ida y Vuelta part of this series singing a fine Colombiana. Here she is again with a much more Flamenco Bulerias

Rocio Jurado and Tomatito – “Bulerias”


The dancer and choreographer Sara Baras was born in Cadiz in 1971 and is the daughter of the dance teacher and Bailaora Concha Baras. When she was eight the family moved to San Fernando just down the road from Cadiz where her father, a colonel in the Marine Infantry was stationed. Her mother opened a dance academy and Sara studied there. Being the teacher’s daughter meant that more was expected and demanded of her than of any of the other pupils. She has lived up to those expectations. She has her own company and is currently a leading figure in contemporary Spanish dance. Here she is with her company dancing a scene from Carmen.

Compañia Sara Baras – Carmen


Manuel Muñoz Alcón was born in Sanlúcar de Barrameda in 1943. He grew up in a Flamenco atmosphere as his father was a true aficionado and arranged for him to study guitar under one of the leading performers of the time, Javier Molina. As Manolo says in his memoirs “Fortunately, that was the decision that would have the profoundest effect on his life and that of his children”. He was a member of a number of different companies until he went solo in 1968. Widely respected by his peers and today’s younger artists, Manolo worked for many years with Enrique Morente as well as enjoying considerable solo success. He has recently worked with Carlos Saura.

Manolo Sanlúcar – Torre Bermeja

One Response to Flamenco 32 – A Few We Couldn’t Leave Out (2)

  1. Pingback: The Flamenco Series « Casa Maki

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