María Dolores “Lola” Flores Ruiz, also known as “La Faraona” (The Pharaoh), was arguably the most important Spanish singer, dancer and actress of all time. Some of her most famous songs are “A tu vera”, “Torbellino de colores”, “Ay pena penita pena” and “La zarzamora”. It might be argued that Lola Flores was not a technically perfect singer, but she more than made up for this with her unique expressiveness, gypsy passion and character. It has been said that Lola Flores was “almost a religion”.
Lola Flores was born in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, on 21st January 1923. Her sister, Carmen Flores, was also a very popular Spanish singer. Although she was thought to be only part gypsy, she strongly identified with the Spanish gypsy culture. She herself said that there was a remote possibility of having gypsy heritage from her grandmother, but was not certain. She became a famous dancer and singer at a very young age, performing flamenco and copla and featuring in films between 1939 and 1987. Her greatest success was in shows with Manolo Caracol, who was her artistic partner until 1951.
The first Lola Flores appearance on the big screen was in Martingala (1939). She then followed this with appearances in Un alto en el camino (1941), Misterio en la marisma (1943) and Una herencia en Paris (1943). Lola Flores continued making films until two years before her death in 1995. Her last films were Juana la loca…de vez en cuando (1983), Truhanes (1983), Los invitados (1986), Sevillanas (1992) and Coraje de vivir (1993). Lola Flores also starred several TV shows and began working as a television presenter in the 1990s. She presented various programmes such as El tablao de Lola on Telecinco (1992), Sabor a Lolas on Antena 3 (1992 – 1993) and Ay Lola Lolita Lola on TVE (1995).
In 1958 she married Antonio “El Pescaílla” González, a guitarist from Cataluña, Spain, and they had three children: singer and actress Dolores “Lolita” Flores, musician, singer and actor Antonio Flores and singer and actress Rosario Flores. Lola Flores died of breast cancer in 1995, aged 72, and was interred in the Cementerio de la Almudena in Madrid. Shortly after her death, her distraught 34-year-old son, Antonio Flores, died of a barbiturate overdose and was buried near her.
Watch some Lola Flores videos with lyrics:
Watch a Lola Flores interview: