Probably the most recognisable singer in flamenco,
José Monge Cruz “Camarón” born in San Fernando (Cádiz) in 1950. The artistic name was due to his blond hair color though he was a gypsy singer. From very small he sang in sales near San Fernando, especially the Sale Vargas – and private parties.
He began his professional career at age 16 with the Flemish companies Miguel de los Reyes and Dolores Vargas. After one season in the tablao Torres Bermejas (Madrid), he recorded his first album with the guitar of Paco de Lucía. He had a tremendous impact on flamenco music and was hired to perform at the most important flamenco festivals in Andalusia as its’ first figure.
During his time at Tablao Torres Bermejas, he met Paco de Lucía, with whom he recorded nine albums between 1969 and 1977. The two toured extensively together during this period. As Paco de Lucía became more occupied with solo concert commitments, Camarón worked with the flamenco guitarist Tomatito.
Many consider Camarón to be the single most popular and influential flamenco cantaor (singer) of the modern period. Although his work was criticized by some traditionalists, he was one of the first to feature an electric bass in his songs. This was a turning point in the history of Flamenco music that helped distinguish Nuevo Flamenco. In later years, his health deteriorated due to heavy smoking and drug abuse. In 1992, José Monje Crúz died of lung cancer in Badalona, Spain. It was estimated that more than 100,000 people attended his funeral.
With Paco de Lucía
- Al Verte las Flores Lloran (1969)
- Cada Vez que Nos Miramos (1970)
- Son Tus Ojos Dos Estrellas (1971)
- Canastera (1972)
- Caminito de Totana (1973)
- Soy Caminante (1974)
- Arte y Majestad (1975)
- Rosa María (1976)
- Castillo de Arena (1977)
- Camaron en la Venta de Vargas (2006)
- La Leyenda del Tiempo (1979) (Released as a solo album)
- Soy Gitano (1989) (Released with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with guest appearances by Tomatito)
(Little help from Google Translate)
Does Camarón de la Isla define flamenco singing for you?
Many people disliked his work in the direction of Neuvo Flamenco…