La Copla Española – Lola Flores

María Dolores Flores Ruiz, better known by her stage name of Lola Flores, was born in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) on 23rd January 1923. She was a singer of Copla and Flamenco, a bailaora and actress and was known as “La Faraona” (The Pharaoh Queen, more or less).
Over the decades her personality, character and performing style were described variously as racial, temperamental, authentic or genius.

Limosna de Amores

She was married to the guitarist Antonio González “El Pescaílla”, with whom she had three children, the singers Lolita Flores (Dolores González Flores), Antonio González Flores, who died very shortly after she did, and Rosario González Flores “Rosario”.

Ay Pena, Penita, Pena

Between 1939 and 1995 she appeared in countless films and television series in which she used to play the part of a gypsy. Among them the 40’s classic Embrujo stands out. In this musical drama directed by Carlos Serrano de Osma, she stars opposite her artistic and romantic partner of the time, Manolo Caracol.

El Lerele

Amongst the films she made in the fifties the standout is Morena Clara (1954), a remake of the classic 1934 film starring Imperio Argentina, in which she starred opposite Fernando Fernán Gómez. Others are El Duende de Jerez (1953) and María de la O (1959), her first film with Antonio González “El Pescailla”, who would later become her husband. She also starred in a remake of Imperio Argentina’s Hermana San Suplicio as well as the Mexican dramas La Faraona (1955) and Sueños de Oro (1958).

La Zarzamora

She starred alongside Carmen Sevilla and Paquita Rico in the 1952 film El Balcón de La Luna and their close, lifelong, friendship led them to share numerous tours of Latin America over the years. In the seventies and eighties she made a dozen or so more films as well as TV programmes with the leading Flamenco artists of the time.

A Tu Vera – from the film “El balcón de la Luna”

She received several tributes during her lifetime but, perhaps, the most spectacular was in Miami in 1990, with the participation of several of the leading artists of the time such as José Luis Rodríguez El Puma, Rocío Jurado, Celia Cruz and all her family. She performed with them all. Here she is in a performance at the Florida Park sala de fiestas. During one of her performances there she lost an earring that had cost a fortune and stopped the show (on live TV) to ask the audience and the show’s producers to help her find it because it had cost her “a lot of hard work and effort” to make the money to be able to buy it.

Ojalá que te vaya bonito – Rumba

Lola Flores had a captivating, overwhelming and explosive personality and her life was liberally sprinkled with anecdotes, both comic and extravagantly melodramatic, and memorable moments and, it is rumoured, more than a few affairs. It was also said that she couldn’t sing or dance in the conventional sense but that she had what the Flamenco world calls “duende” and that when she was on stage the audience couldn’t take their eyes off her. Because she knew how to hold an audience.
Here is a clip of her reciting the lyrics to a Flamenco number, she was terminally ill with cancer when this was recorded but the strength, power and captivating charisma just blow you away. Mesmerising stuff.


In 1994 she received her last televised tribute, to which she was invited but at which she didn’t perform. She just enjoyed the performances of both her family and friends and was heard to say at the end: I can die happy now.

Somos dos Caminantes – Duet with Julio Iglesias

Lola Flores died on 16th May at the age of 72 at her family home “El Lerele”.

4 Responses to La Copla Española – Lola Flores

  1. Hoshino Sakura says:

    This is a great post Mak ! ! ! I really enjoyed it – I think my favourite was A Tu Vera ! ! !

    I am going to explore this more and catch up on the other posts ! ! !

  2. Very interesting. What intrigued me was that you said that she couldn’t dance or sing in the conventional sense. What did you mean by that? She sounded fine singing with Julio.

    Thank you for this,

    • maki says:

      She was very prone to doing her own thing. She hadn’t had any formal training and as a result broke a lot of the rules when singing or dancing certain styles (especially Flamenco) which upset the purists. Her disregard for the established canons led more than a few to criticise her performances. Sour grapes, really, because she was quite brilliant.

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