Saturday, July 31

Between La Zarzamora and “I have more strength than Chernobyl”: how Lola Flores became ‘La Faraona’

Lola Flores. The art of living (Lunwerg, 2021), the illustrated biography signed by the cartoonist, musician and skater professional Sete González (Madrid, 1976), reminds us that La Faraona would get on stage and fill the pages of gossip magazines with the same pose, Elf and grace. The famous phrases of Lola Flores are part of the popular bitterness: “I have more strength than Chernobyl”, “And how would I be amazed at them”, “If you love me, go away”, “Do you know why I am so beautiful? Because the brightness of the eyes is not operated ”. And his verses, soundtrack of the cradle and house of several generations: ‘Ay pena, penita, pena’, ‘Limosna de amores’, ‘María de la O’ or ‘La Zarzamora’.

From ’empowerment’ to power: the secrets of the campaign that ‘resurrects’ Lola Flores

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Her granddaughter Elena Furiase tells us in the prologue of the book that when they were little she and her cousin Alba Flores called her ‘Oleole’, “because whenever Oleole saw us she would cheer us up moving her hands and clapping to the beat of an ‘ole ole ‘. So this nickname was earned by herself, freehand ”. He also writes that on Sundays at Lola Flores’s house they ate Madrid stew and adds: “It’s funny, she from Jerez and he from Barcelona, ​​but yes, they gave us stew. When we arrived in the morning, I would run up to her room and there she was, like a Solomonic queen, sitting on the bed surrounded by clothes, shoes and accessories ”.

As you already did in Shrimp. The legend of time (Lunwerg, 2020) Sete González has captured the life of the bailaora in his illustrations. ‘Lola Flores. The art of living ‘was born from the success of the previous book, in which Lolita signed the prologue where she recounted the close relationship between her mother and Camarón. Sete González explains to us that it was at the presentation of Camarón’s book that he came up with the idea of ​​making Lola’s illustrated bio. “To document myself, I spoke with Lolita. She provided me with a crossed-out, written and handled copy of ‘Lola en carne viva’ (Temas de Hoy, 1990), the biography that Tico Medina wrote. By the letter I would say that they were annotations and underlined by Lola herself ”. The illustrator also affirms that the Antena 3 docuseries ‘El Coraje de vivir’ (1994), in which the artist narrates her own career, has also been crucial in tracing her history.

The life of Lola Flores has a lot of literature: María Dolores Flores Ruiz was born in the mythical flamenco neighborhood of San Miguel, in the municipality of Jerez de la Frontera, on January 21, 1923. “Her mother was the granddaughter of a gypsy. Lola, despite herself, only had a quarter of gypsy blood. That is to say, it was what Calé is usually called quadroon”Says Sete González, who assures that she grew up among gypsies to the rhythm of clapping and bulerías, and mounted on the tables of the tabanco run by her father. Lola Flores was always aware of racist prejudices, and in her words: “Gypsies were accused of everything and at that time, if there was a crime, they were accused first and in order to survive they ended up making baskets in the rivers. Some have a sixth sense, if they had had the same opportunity as the payos, they would have gone very far ”.

Tour of America

Her debut as a cantaora and bailaora was just after the Civil War at the Villamarta Theater in Jerez in which the poster read: “Lolita, imperio de Jerez: Joven canzonetist and dancer ”. The show was Lights of Spain, dthe one that was also part of Manolo Caracol, who was captivated by her there. In 1940 Lola traveled with her mother to Madrid to record the first film, Martingale, and he has already stayed in the capital to receive classes at the academy of teacher Quiroga. The beginnings were not easy, and even Concha Piquer herself closed the door in her face when the young Lola tried to greet her in her dressing rooms.

But, according to Sete González, in 1943 he was already eating the stage: “Lola launched the show ‘Zambra’ together with Manolo Caracol, who was already a recognized cantaor and his partner at the time. She boasted of being the one who had hired the divo, and not the other way around ”. That is why in the posters of the show the name of the woman goes first. The most important numbers of ‘Zambra’ were the songs composed by Quintero, León and Quiroga: ‘La Niña de fuego’ and ‘La Zarzamora’, which gave them so many joys and projection.

“When people from abroad came to visit Spain, Franco called Lola to act. Franco always wanted to show a good flamenco show ”, affirms the illustrator, who in the book tells how before the cameras of NO-DO Lola Flores signed a multimillion-dollar contract with the Spanish production company Suevia Films to act for America and record films. In 1952, she crossed the pond to Mexico and recorded there Oh grief, grief, grief! film and song that catapulted her to world fame and stardom. Her stay in America was decisive for the artist, in fact, one of her most recognized nicknames, ‘La Faraona’, comes from the title of a film she starred in Mexico in 1956.

The author says that when she returned from America she was received with honors and as an international star: “In the fifties the myth of Lola Flores was consolidated in Spanish society and abroad. The artist had a frenzied activity, made numerous trips to America and had an intense love life ”. Until it appeared The Pescaílla, the gypsy from the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona, ​​and according to Sete González: “One night he got very serious and said: – Lola, you are not going to laugh at me, as you have done with everyone. I give you twenty days. Either you marry me or this is over ”. They were married in secret, at 6 in the morning, in the Royal Monastery of El Escorial on a snowy October 27, 1957.

One of the scenes that is most graceful and remembered is when in TVE’s ‘Esta noche fiesta’ Lola rumbera lost an earring, and while the guitar and the clapping continued to sound, she began to search the stage: “Sorry, but I have dropped a huge earring. I don’t know, but you can’t miss it. Well, you are going to give it back to me because my little job cost me ”. And she kept dancing with the strength and fury so characteristic of the “whirlwind of colors called Lola Fores”.

Sete González concludes: “She was art, the art that walks through life free and unprejudiced. Lola lived as she wanted: with art, without scripts, without barriers and improvising everything, but knowing how to savor the honeys of success with her feet on the ground. Lola is pure feeling, pure corporal expression, she is the dance without prejudice and the song of a country, a captivating sorceress that reached the depths of the public. Someone from another planet, as she used to say ”.

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