Notable flamenco artists

Sunday, November 14, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:15 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Flamenco is more than a music or a dance: It’s an attitude that transcends languages and cultures.

The people who adopt this lifestyle are called flamencos. Here are a few who have made significant contributions to flamenco and helped make it popular around the world.

Paco de Lucía

Arguably the most famous solo flamenco musician. The son of a professional guitarist, he began his career at 13, playing for the professional dance company of José Greco in Spain. It was there that he met his artistic partner, Camaron, a dancer who earned iconic fame as the star of several flamenco films. Paco de Lucía’s desire to explore the possibilities of Flamenco earned him disapproval from the old-guard traditionalists, but his insistence on innovation brought him international acclaim.

José Greco

A legendary dancer, Greco was a native of Italy who moved to New York as a child. He studied and became a flamenco virtuoso in the United States and joined a dance company before starting his own in 1949. In 1971, Greco founded the José Greco Foundation for Hispanic Dance.

Gipsy Kings

Perhaps the most well-known and financially successful flamencos, the Gipsy Kings play modern flamenco rumba, a quicker, livelier song style. The group consists of members of the Reyes and Baliardo families, who each have roots in flamenco music. Like their relatives, these musicians sing in “gitane,” a Gypsy dialect.

Carmen Linares

Born in 1951, Linares is a pillar of contemporary flamenco. The singer learned her craft from her father and began her career as a teenager singing in Madrid’s bar scene. She gradually worked her way from the lower ranks as a group singer to become a top-selling solo recording artist.

Maria Pages

Pages began her flamenco career as a child, studying under dance masters Matilde Coral and Manolo Marin. After a long career with top flamenco dance companies, she formed the Maria Pages Company in 1990. The company is famous for producing innovative shows, one of which juxtaposed classical music with flamenco. Pages has appeared in several films, and in 1995 she became a headliner of the show “Riverdance.”

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