My Gypsy heroine: Lola Flores

My Gypsy heroine: Lola Flores
Isabel del Rio
Lola Flores

Lola Flores

Lola Flores was born in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain). Of course, nobody knows the year… she was eternally young and eternally lying about her date of birth. A legend is not made of truths.

She also said she was Gypsy. In fact, she was from a middle class family and her parents had a boutique but, well, she wanted to be a barefoot Gypsy girl and… she did. She married a Gypsy singer (El Pescadilla) and they had three Gypsy children, all of them artists: no surprise with such a mother.

Then, although not a Gypsy girl, she is identified with the Spanish Gypsy culture and starting to work at a very young age, she became a famous dancer and singer of Andalusian folklore, performing flamenco, copla or chotis and featuring in films from 1939 to 1987.

When I was a little girl I always said I wanted to be Lola Flores (Flowers, in English). Yes, I know other girls wanted to be

Lola Flores

Lola Flores

nurses, actresses, hairdressers, top models or flight attendants… Boring professions! Lola Flores represented the freedom, the art and the happiness, she represented a lie (I know now) but she is a legend, a beautiful tale, a romantic dream… a generous personality who enjoyed our lives and now, after her death, we miss her.

In 1953, she went to America: Mexico, La Habana, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and New York. She was a success, a complete success received in the airports and theatres as a queen. Afterwards, we called her The Pharaoh. Forty years later, I saw her in Valladolid, in my university, maybe Lola Flores was really old (common sense suggests it) but students were in love with her and they didn’t stop to shout: Pharaoh. She was the Spanish Tina Turner, immortal.

The New York Times wrote about her: “She cannot sing or dance but not miss her, she is a spectacle”.

Yes, because she had art in her veins and the art always triumphs.

Lola Flores died of breast cancer in 1995 and was buried in Madrid. We are still waiting her reincarnation.

**In 2007, the biography “Lola, la pelicula” was made. The movie describes her early life, starting in 1931 until 1958, a hard life she turned into a happy one.

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