He had nothing going for him. Nothing, none of the pieces that made up the young life of the child born at the beginning of the 20th century in the Capuchinos neighborhood of Malaga – at that time, one of the most humble in the city – seemed ready for him to become a star. More so, in a revolutionary. Or, perhaps, precisely the very poor circumstances in which he was born, the poverty, the abandonment of his father and the popular and mischievous Andalusian environment in which he grew up were, in reality, the only possible ones to create the perfect broth, the ideal mixture. —Magical— that builds a phenomenon. Ángel Ruiz, also an artist, also from Malaga and also talented, wrote a delightful monologue in which he himself plays the coplist. On Miguel de Molina naked (Max Award for the best leading actor, among others), Ruiz, only accompanied by a pianist, at the time César Belda, narrates Miguel’s entire career as if he himself had traveled to our time. A time in which, in the words of Ángel Ruiz, “there is no doubt that Miguel de Molina would have dedicated himself to singing and dancing, he would be an artist”, but “also an activist who would have been on the street protesting Samuel’s death and fighting for freedom. ”
Miguel de Molina was born on April 10, 1908. Ruiz tells how from a very young age he entertained the rest of the children in his neighborhood with small shows in the neighborhood corralas. His father had left, leaving Miguel, his mother, and his brothers in an even more difficult situation. “The coins they gave Miguel for those entertainment for the children,” says Ángel Ruiz, “he put in his mother’s purse without her noticing.” At that time, the future coplist had the need to smell the stage, to immerse himself in all those arts. “But he didn’t have money to pay for the entrance to the shows,” warns the actor, “so it was common for him to even sneak into the Cervantes Theater in Malaga to see everything that was going on there and, in those days , what I found between the walls of the theater were numbers of varieties. ”
At fourteen, he packed his bags. He still didn’t know it, but, in the words of Ángel Ruiz, he had started the path that would make him a star. He didn’t know it, but he did want it. “We can’t say that he looked for his way,” she says, “because he always knew he wanted to dedicate himself to the show.” And he also knew — or sensed — that, unlike other great artists, he was going to have to travel a much longer road to achieve his goal. He had been born in the underworld. From Malaga he went to Algeciras. There he met Pepa ‘la Limpia’, who gave him a job in the brothel she ran. The courage that had led him to leave home when he was fourteen was equal to his intelligence. “What stands out the most about him is precisely that,” Ruiz corroborates, “he had the ability to notice everything around him, he was an absolutely intelligent and awake person.” For this reason, those close to three years that he worked as a ‘boy for everything’ in the brothel were not in vain. He learned and met different people and different ways of doing things.
Also there, as he himself recounted, he got to know himself a little more. “One night he was a little sick,” says Ruiz, “one of the girls from the mancebía entered his room to take care of him. Suddenly, she took off the garment that covered her body, she was naked and she came on. ” Years later, he explained that it was at that moment that he made sure that he did not like women because he did not feel any desire for her.
A coffee with Lorca
After the stage in Algeciras, Miguel de Molina spent time in Granada, where he had already attended the Cante Jondo Festival organized by Federico García Lorca and Manuel de Falla thanks to the invitation of his friend Rafael ‘el Corcho’. There Miguel fell in love with flamenco and was fascinated by the art and personality of the Granada poet and, especially, his Gypsy romance. In Granada he walked from stage to stage participating in shows for young men and tourists until a Sevillian farmer convinced him to move to Seville, where, according to the man told him, he could better develop his talent. And so it was, at least, during the summer that the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 lasted. At that time, Miguel de Molina was known as Miguela and it was not until he had arrived in Madrid that he definitely became Miguel de Molina. It was in the great capital where he began to frequent the copla – despite the fact that it was understood as an eminently feminine gender – and to receive the interest of great figures such as Soledad Miralles or Antonia Mercé, who called him to dance the Witch love in Barcelona, a show directed by Manuel de Falla.
That poor boy from the Capuchinos neighborhood, that ‘boy for everything’ from a brothel, that Miguela always against the current had built his name. He had built the star.
During his days in Barcelona, he was able to fulfill one of his big dreams: meeting Lorca. It was at the Café de la Granja de Oriente. Miguel was invited by his friend Rafael de León and in that small gathering of three the coplist got Rafael de León to grant him the honor of singing the new song he was composing, Green eyes, which would end up being one of his great successes. With the passage of time, Miguel de Molina always remembered that evening with Federico García Lorca with great affection. And also that time, before the arrival of the Franco regime ruined everything. They did not throw him out of Spain, but he had to leave because he needed to continue with his shows and here it was completely impossible.
“To Miguel de Molina,” concludes Ruiz, “must be remembered as a milestone. He is the first male figure to appear in a gender relegated to women and with an identity of his own. ” Brave, talented and intelligent, the singer from Malaga was also a revolutionary.