Best flamenco singers
Flamenco is one of the artistic representations for which our country is best known. Its long list of artists, such as flamenco singers, testify that this is where the cradle of this musical genre, which is already part of our culture, is to be found.
Although the most colourful thing when you go to see a live flamenco show is usually the dance, it is true that the flamenco singers play a fundamental role during the show, sometimes acquiring their own protagonism (cantes pa’lante or pa´lante´s flamenco songs).
There are many flamenco artists who have gone to a tablao to delight everyone with their power, sometimes up to three or four generations of artists from the same family. Many will escape us, but below you can see a list of the best flamenco singers.
Camarón de la Isla
José Monje Cruz was born in San Fernando (Cádiz) in 1950. His nickname, given by an uncle of his, refers to a small type of seafood that reminded him of: small and thin, with blond hair and white skin. The place name was added by José himself later, due to its origin, since San Fernando is located in the Isla de León, popularly known as the Island. This is how Camarón de la Isla was born.
His professional career began at the age of eight, when his brother took him sporadically to the well-known Venta de Vargas to earn a little money. He made his definitive leap at the age of 16, when he won one of the prizes at the IV Festival de Cante Jondo in Mairena del Alcor. This opened the door for him to participate in the Caracolá de Lebrija alongside El Lebrijano, El Perrate de Utrera and El Turronero, among others.
His career began to flourish, and in 1989 his record Soy Gitano was one of the best-selling albums in the history of flamenco.
He is now considered one of the legends of flamenco, whose influence still lingers on many current cantaores.
Enrique y Estrella Morente
Father and daughter, the Morents have made their art their way of life. Enrique Morente was born in Granada in 1942 and is considered one of the great revolutionaries of flamenco. He started singing as a seise of the Cathedral of Granada, but very soon he went to Madrid to make his way.
The “granaíno”, as he was known there, was one of the revaluators of the figure of Antonio Chacón, known worldwide for his malagueñas, cartageneras and granaínas. He was the first cantaor to adapt lyrics by Spanish poets to flamenco, among others, Miguel Hernández, Lope de Vega, José Bergamín and Jorge Guillén.
His songs are considered transgressive, as he experimented with different instruments and rhythms in his creations, such as the album Omega, with the rock group Lagartija Nick, one of his most revolutionary works.
On the other hand, Estrella Morente, his daughter, was born in 1980, also in Granada. Estrella Morente has flamenco in her blood not only because of her father, but also because of her mother, the dancer Dolores Carbonell, better known as “La Pelota”. At the age of 16 she was already consolidated as an artist and is one of the female cantaoras on the current scene, dominating a great variety of flamenco palos.
He has received numerous awards, including the Ondas Award for Best Flamenco Creation and the Medal of Andalusia, as well as having participated in the soundtrack of films such as Sobreviviré and Volver by Pedro Almodóvar.
Mª del Carmen Pacheco was born in Linares (Jaén) in 1951. Her artistic name is due, as you have probably already guessed, to her origin. Carmen Linares is one of the most outstanding cantaoras today and has always been surrounded by greats.
In 1970 she released her first album with Juan Habichuela’s guitar and was sponsored by “El Fosforito”, from whom she learned a lot of her art. She shared the stage with Camarón, Enrique Morente, the “Perla” and the “Güito”.
One of her most important works was Carmen Linares en anthología, la mujer en el cante, in which she takes a look at all the women who have made flamenco history. Her cante has crossed borders, coming to perform with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center.
Manuel Ortega was born in Seville in 1909. His nickname comes from his father, Manuel Ortega Fernández, better known as “Caracol el del Bulto”, hence he chose Manolo Caracol as his stage name.
That he dedicated himself to flamenco is not surprising, as he comes from a long line of flamenco artists and bullfighters. His family includes, among many others, El Planeta, El Fillo, Manzanita and the bullfighter Joselito el Gallo. In 1922 he won the first prize in the Concurso de Cante Jondo de Granada, with great success.
He was the artistic partner of Lola Flores, with whom he shared the stage throughout Spain, while they shot two films, El Embrujo and La niña de venta.
Before dying in a traffic accident, he opened Los Canasteros, a flamenco tablao where great artists of the time performed.
Diego Ramón Jiménez Salazar was born in Madrid in 1968. His artistic name “El Cigala” comes from the guitarist brothers Losada. He is one of the authors of Lágrimas Negras, together with Bebo Valdés, and produced by Fernando Trueba. With this work he became known worldwide, winning a Grammy, three Music Awards, an Ondas Award in 2004, and filling theatres all over the world.
Diego El Cigala has united flamenco singing with Cuban and Dominican rhythms, the place where he currently lives.
Miguel Ángel Poveda was born in 1973 in Barcelona. He is one of the most prolific flamenco singers of today, although the more orthodox flamenco singers are suspicious of the type of music he makes. Within his artistic career he plays other musical genres, although flamenco is always his base, winning numerous awards with it.
He has participated in numerous festivals throughout his career, such as the Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla, as well as in projects such as recording concerts and live shows. His presence fills the theatres and stages of all the cities where he performs.
José Soto Soto was born in Jerez de la Frontera in 1955. His artistic name comes from when he sang in the children’s choir of the Basílica de la Merced, in his home town.
He began singing very young in the Cádiz tablao La Cueva del Pájaro Azul and in the Jueves Flamencos, although he soon moved to Madrid and went on tour with Antonio Gades, taking part in the film Bodas de Sangre, by Carlos Saura.
His album Del amanecer, produced by Vicente Amigo or Aire, has made him famous worldwide. Subsequently, he has experimented with other musical genres, creating a flamenco fusion with, for example, the blues. He has sold more than a million records.
Flamenco show in Seville with flamenco singers
As you can see, these are just some of the most outstanding names in flamenco singing. We wanted to mix legends that are no longer there, with some current artists that fill the stages of theatres around the world.
They all have one thing in common: flamenco singing. In tablao Cuna del Flamenco we also have cantaores who leave their flamenco lament on stage every afternoon. Among them is Lucas Ortega, a young flamenco artist who is becoming a big name in our tablao.