la voz flamenca
Starting this weekend, our acclaimed original work FRONTERAS goes on tour! The company’s first stops are California, Florida, and Kentucky. Get a taste of the show ahead of time by checking out this never-before-seen video of its premiere at the Joyce Theatre.
Our upcoming April peformance offers a unique chance to witness the work of the next generation of dancers! These up-and-coming artists have been studying in-depth with live musicians through our Cuadro program, part of our network of support for flamencos known as Evolución.
In honor of Women’s History Month, check out this curated compilation by Buscadores Flamencos highlighting some of the strongest women in flamenco history, ranging from rule-breaking Carmen Amaya to genre-defining Manuela Carrasco.
Answer: Manolo Caracol!
In our latest Evolución class, On Flamenco and the Roma, we learned from scholar Clara Chinoy that famed flamenco singer Manolo Caracol was the great grandson of El Planeta, the first flamenco singer recorded in history.
According to writer Serafín Estébanez Calderón’s masterpiece, Escenas Andaluzas (1847), Planeta was a singer who accompanied himself playing. This was all that was known about him until 2011, when flamencologist Manuel Bohórquez published a study revealing more about his life. We learned that Planeta’s name was Antonio Monge Rivero. Born in Cádiz (1789-1856), he was a Giitano (Roma) artist and a butcher by profession. We also learned that Manolo Caracol was his great-great-grandson.
Manolo Caracol is also an important figure in flamenco history. Born in Sevilla (1909 – 1973), Manolo Caracol descended from a long line of flamenco artists including Enrique Ortega, Curro Dulce, El Planeta, and El Fillo. Caracol was the winner (along with El Tenazas) of the first Concurso de Cante Jondo de Granada in 1922, organized by Manuel de Falla and Federico García Lorca. Caracol made a name for himself during the Ópera Flamenca Age, when shows were often musicals set in Andalusian or Gitano contexts, featuring a mixture of Spanish popular songs called Coplas Andaluzas or Canciones Españolas. In 1943, he met Lola Flores, with whom he started an intense professional and emotional relationship. They became the most popular artistic couple in Spain during the forties, spreading their fame throughout Latin America as well. His most popular songs, La Salvaora and La Niña de Fuego, became immensely famous. He also took part in several films with Lola Flores such as Un Caballero Famoso (1942), Embrujo (1946), Jack el Negro (1950) and La Niña de la Venta (1950).
In 1963 he opened the iconic tablao, Los Canasteros, where he dedicated the rest of his life, and where the most outstanding artists of the time performed. Manolo Caracol excelled in a wide variety of flamenco styles, including Martinetes, Seguiriyas, Soleá, Malagueñas (especially in the style of el Mellizo), Bulerías, and Fandangos, among others. His renderings of Fandangos, in particular, were so unique that they have come to be known as Fandangos Caracoleros. Manolo has also influenced generations of artists to come, so much so that “Caracolero” is a name used for anyone who is a fan of Manolo Caracol. Many famous flamenco singers today have been influenced by his style including: Miguel Poveda, El Pele, and Antonio Reyes. Are you a Caracolero?
Further reading/sources below.