If I ask you about a flamenco artist, who’s the first to come to mind?
Spain can boast of having the best flamenco artists in the world!! And let me tell you, finding a trajectory in the field of our contemporary popular music is not easy!
Flamenco is undoubtedly the most representative genre in our country for years.
Sadly, we can no longer enjoy the new songs of some great flamenco artists such as Lola Flores, Paco de Lucia, and Camaron de la Isla. Still, we are lucky to be able to continue enjoying the art they left! These talented artists left an indelible mark and have served as an example for many.
If you are a flamenco lover or have never heard of flamenco before, don’t worry; you are in the right place!
Are you ready for a flamenco concert??
Just one little thing before you read on! This list is ordered from the most current artists to the oldest. Now let’s get started!
Meet the 7 Spanish flamenco artists that will bring out your most passionate side!
7. Estrella Morente
The elegant Estrella Morente! (1980)
Estrella Morente is a spectacular flamenco and Spanish singer born in Granada, Spain. She’s the daughter of the famous singer (“cantaor”) Enrique Morente and the well-known dancer (“bailaora”) Aurora Carbonell. So we can tell a bit where she gets that flamenco vein from!
Don’t think that every children will inherit the flamenco art even if it has been present in the family. This doesn’t always happen. BUT this is not Estrella’s case, she was already born with the art of singing and astounding everyone who listens to her!
She has always been surrounded by artists, so this art came to her from a very young age.
The voice she has leaves everyone in love! Her privileged voice, rhythm, passion for all her songs, and curiosity to incorporate new nuances into her style make her one of the significant flamenco figures.
You have to listen to some of her songs to see what I mean!
6. Niña Pastori
The popular Niña Pastori! (1977)
This Gatidano singer and songwriter has been connecting with the public for 25 years, having incredible success. Something that today is not easy at all! It’s actually quite challenging to stand out from the crowd.
It’s funny because at only 8 years old, she got on stage for the first time! I couldn’t even get up there now!
The famous Camaron de la Isla (who we will talk about later) discovered Niña Pastori’s talent when she was only 12 years old! Camaron already knew the girl’s power and that she would go far. So today, we can confirm that he was totally right!
Niña Pastori has created her own sound with a characteristic rhythm that makes you recognize her voice without seeing her.
In each song, she proves that you can constantly innovate no matter what genre you are into. Her undisputed talent has left its mark on several generations, and she has become one of the most respected artists in the music of our country.
Not all flamenco artists have been able to take advantage of his voice or adapt to new musical trends. Still, Pastori has managed to do it with art like no one else. Her simplicity, unconditional love, and passion for her craft make her an inspiration for all her followers and admirers.
5. Rosario Flores
The talented Rosario Flores! (1963)
You are in front of the great Rosario Flores! A world-famous Spanish singer, composer, and actress of gypsy origin, born in Madrid.
We could say that much of her talent was inherited from her family. She’s the daughter of Antonio Gonzalez, known as “El Pescadilla” and our beloved Lola Flores, known as “La Faraona.”
Rosario rose to fame in 1984 with her song “Vuela la Noche,” but when she really triumphed was with her famous album “De ley.” Please, do yourself a favor and listen to some of the songs when you finish reading this post because it’s spectacular!
It’s a very emotional album because her brother Antonio Flores wrote many of the songs on it. I say emotional because her brother’s death significantly impacted Rosario.
Rosario and Antonio used to sing together many times, transmitting unique energy together. In fact, the song “No dudaria” was composed by Antonio and sung by Rosario so listening to that song gives you goosebumps… It’s truly a beautiful song!
Rosario is a stage artist; she’s not made for recording studios. Her thing is to dance and sing live!
4. José Mercé
The passionate José Mercé! (1955)
José Mercé was born in Cádiz, in Jerez de la Frontera, and is one of the great Spanish flamenco singers of gypsy origin.
The artist inherited part of his art from his family, being the great-grandson of Paco de la Luz, nephew of Manuel Soto Monje, and cousin of Vicente Soto Sordera, the most extended flamenco saga!
In Madrid, he recorded his first album accompanied by two significant flamenco figures, Manolo Sanlúcar and Paco de Lucía. During all the years of his career, he has maintained his essence. He has mixed flamenco versions with other great artists such as Serrat, Victor Jara, and Manu Chao.
If you ask any Spaniard about José Mercé, I’m sure a hefty percentage will tell you that he’s a key artist in Spanish music. He has even crossed borders, bringing his music to a younger audience.
José Mercé rose to fame along with Manuel Sánchez Pernía becoming a very influential artist with the album “Verde Junco.”
I can assure you that this icon of flamenco music will not leave you indifferent!
3. Camarón de la Isla
The legend Camarón de la Isla! (1950-1992)
Did you know that Camarón de la Isla’s real name is José Monje Cruz? I just discovered it!
Well, I think the first thing to know is that, like most of the artists discussed in this post, this great artist is also from Andalusia, specifically from Jerez de la Frontera.
This incredible artist has been considered the best flamenco singer in Spain. You only have to listen to any of his songs to realize it.
Camaron and flamenco are two words that always go together. Camaron created a unique style and managed to cross borders taking flamenco to all corners of the world.
Listening to his mother singing when he was little helped him to create art later. Camaron had no shame at all! At only 7 years old, he could be seen singing in the buses that went from the island of San Fernando to Chiclana or Jerez.
I would have loved to have seen him perform at that time! It must have been a great show!
Undoubtedly his album “Soy Gitano” was an absolute success that even led him to win the Gold Record.
Camarón de la Isla managed to make flamenco a universal art and was admired and listened to all over the world! Sadly we stopped enjoying his art in 1992 when he died of throat cancer. But he left an incredible repertoire that we can still listen to and enjoy today!
Fun fact: As you already know, everyone knows José Monje as Camarón de la Isla. This nickname comes because his uncle called him shrimp which means “camarón” in Spanish. His nephew’s appearance, with white skin, blond hair, and skinny, reminded his uncle of the typical shrimp. And the word “island” (“isla”) came from where he was at that time, the island of León, in Spanish, “la Isla de León.” Although in this case, it was Camarón himself who decided to join it to his nickname, thus creating his artistic name.
2. Paco de Lucía
The OG Paco de Lucía! (1947-2014)
Meet Francisco Sánchez Gómez, better known as Paco de Lucía,composer, Spanish musician, and the best flamenco guitarist in history.
“The guitar has offered me the ability to be able to express myself to the rest of the world without using words.” Paco de Lucía
Let’s see if you can guess where Paco de Lucía was born? I think you won’t be surprised… Of course! He was born in Cadiz! As you can see, flamenco art is more concentrated in the south of Spain. Most of the good artists come from the region of Andalusia.
Since he was a little boy, he was always surrounded by flamenco music; in his house, someone was always playing or singing. So as you can see it was difficult for him not to get caught up in this art!
He was already playing the guitar since he was 6 years old with the help of his father since they couldn’t afford to pay for school, so he learned everything at home. He had to work very hard at the same time to be able to help out at home. Paco de Lucia didn’t have it easy!
He was such an icon and a good artist. Everyone used to fall in love with his music. He used to make magic!
But without any doubt, his best time was the one he spent with his great friend Camarón de la Isla. Paco remembers it as the best time of his life when they spent the day playing and singing non-stop. They even became an artistic couple signing several albums together, which was a spectacular success! These two figures used to create magic together and they marked the history of flamenco as no one has ever done before!
Paco de Lucia opened flamenco to jazz and the blues. But not only that, he marked a before and after in flamenco guitar after his rumba “Entre dos Aguas.” You have to listen to it!
The guitarist received the 2004 Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, in addition to winning two Latin Grammy Awards during his career.
Camarón and Paco de Lucía were two genius united by and for flamenco. These two icons left a significant mark on the history of flamenco.
1. Lola Flores
The one and only Lola Flores! (1923-1995)
As expected, our beloved and famous Lola Flores, known as “La Faraona,” was also born in Jerez de la Frontera, in Cadiz.
You’re in front of a great reference of flamenco music, who wasn’t just a singer but also a spectacular Spanish actress and dancer.
Lola Flores started in the genre of “copla,” which, if you are not familiar with the word, is an artistic genre of Spanish music that mixes music, lyrics, and interpretation. Besides the “copla,” she also sang many “rumbas” and “rancheras,” which had incredible success!
As an actress, she participated in more than 35 movies! This woman was out of this world; no one could stop her!
Lola Flores became a role model for many women in the post-war period in Spain. She was one of the first women to speak freely about taboo topics, such as prostitution, violence against women, and extramarital affairs, which most women preferred to avoid at that time.
Lola Flores had her audience totally in love! I think it will leave you speechless too!
The great artist became a symbol for Spain in the 20th century and still is even years later. Although we can no longer enjoy her new songs, all the Spaniards still remember her with great affection.
Have you felt like singing or dancing after reading this post while listening to some of their songs? Listening to these fantastic flamenco artists brings a smile to my face!
Which one did you like the most? Please leave it in the comments!