Her name is almost a synonym to Spain - you can’t pretend to admire the Spanish culture without knowing who she was.
21st January this year was the centenary of the birth of Lola Flores, unarguably one of the greatest entertainers in modern Spanish history. We’re still not too late to join the celebration.
Born in 1923 as María Dolores Flores Ruiz, her immersion in artistic life started in the cradle of flamenco, Jerez de la Frontera. Growing up dancing and singing, her extraordinary talent was publicly discovered at the age of 16 in the show ‘Luces de España’ by Custodia Romero at Villamarta Theatre in Jerez, which opened the doors for her to move to Madrid to seek bigger artistic opportunities.
One of her best known songs, ‘El Lerele’ became a hit in 1942 when she was working for the company of Mari Paz in Madrid:
Her celebrated partnership with the great cantaor Manolo Caracol bloomed in 1943 from the spectacular show ‘Zambra’, a grand theatrical showcase incorporating flamenco and copla. Although their success continued in films such as ‘Embrujo’ in 1947 and ‘La Niña de la Venta’ in 1951, they eventually decided to go separate ways.
La Niña de la Venta
As a single grand artist, she continued to appear in numerous films and made tours in American continents, including Mexico where she was received with huge enthusiasm and given the iconic name ‘La Faraona’. She enchanted the whole of Spain and Spanish speaking communities with her irreplaceable personality, captivating charisma and exquisite artistry.
She married Antonio González ‘El Pescaílla’, a musician who was especially known for his contribution to Rumba Catalana. Passed away on 16th May in 1995, her artistic gene survives through her children. Although her son Antonio, also a singer and actor himself, sadly died only 14 days after his mother’s death, the daughters Lolita Flores and Rosario Flores are still active respectively as beloved singers in Spain. While her grandchildren pursue the career in performing arts too, Lola was also an aunt to an ex-footballer and football manager Quique Sánchez Flores, whose mother is Carmen Flores, a respected copla singer and actress like her sister Lola.
Lola Flores y Familia Flores - 'Pan y Chocolate’
Her heritage lives on not only at the biological level but also more communally, widely and internationally. Even until now, Lola Flores still remains one of the most famous, the most influential, the most admired cultural icons of Spain.
To celebrate her centenary, many cultural bodies in Spain have organised tribute events and presentations to commemorate her unfading singing voice and immortal presence on TV, radio, articles and other formats. In Jerez, though the exact date is undecided, the museum dedicated to her is expected to open this Spring. We’re fortunate to breathe and appreciate the eternal richness of her artistic legacy for more years to come.
‘Pena, Penita, Pena’ por Lola Flores
El Museo de Lola Flores en Jerez abrirá esta primavera