About her, they say that the New York Times once published: “she doesn’t sing or dance, but don’t miss it!”.
But about her they say many things.
Lola Flores, singer and dancer of flamenco and coplas, a hurricane-like species à la Elis-meets-Carmen-Miranda, the greatest icon-diva-legend of Spanish culture, would complete a century of life this Saturday (21).
That is, if a two-decade long battle with breast cancer hadn’t finally sent her dancing on clouds in 1995 at the age of 72.
Born in Jerez, land of the homonymous wine in Cádiz, Andalusia, Lola started early — like many of the metiê, for something between necessity and freedom-of-being, opposite commuting so recurrent in gypsy culture.
By the age of 10, he was already singing in the bars of his hometown, and by the age of 15, he was touring locally with a vaudeville theater. Before the age of 20, she was already in Madrid, the great Artist’s Mecca.
In fact, it was with his suitcase, guide and family, convincing his father to sell the bar he had in Jerez. Such was the head from Lola, who niña already discarded the elongated Christian name, María Dolores Flores Ruiz.
Long nails, kajal-lined eyes and, without a doubt, the voluptuousness with which she threw herself onto the stage and into adventures (both professional and extracurricular) earned her the eternal nickname: La Faraona, The One Who Can Get Anything And Is Above Tutti.
They also called her “Lola de España”, as iconic as El torus of osbornea siesta Or the Paella valencian.
“He was, I believe, one of the most important figures in 20th-century Spain,” says Alberto Romero Ferrer, a professor at the University of Cádiz and author of a book on the artist.
“First, for the depth of her art; and, second, for her popular reach. What she did reached the whole world, it was not something that moved only in the cultural elite or in the lower sectors; her audience composed a social spectrum that it was practically 100% Spanish men and women”.
Throughout his intense life, he had 34847018 torrid novels, to the joy of the press. She hung out with Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra when they were here (even though Sinatra hated Spain, but that’s for another column). In his homes in Madrid and Marbella, he has hosted a thousand famous people, from Sean Connery to Audrey Hepburn. She was a friend of the high and low, spoke thickly in the Andalusian way, eating the last words, and didn’t have a word in her mouth.
To a minister’s emissary spanish who wanted to meet her at a party, they say, would have replied: “tell the Minister that I will continue to be Lola Flores until I die, and that he will certainly not be Minister next year. greetings man, let him come here”.
About Churchill, whom he ran into in Venice, they say he was amazed that he didn’t speak Spanish. After that meeting, he would always comment: if the British Prime Minister, being so smart, didn’t speak his language, neither would she speak his. if non and true, and ben trovato, the Italians would say…
Not even when scandalously denounced for tax evasion, in 1987, did it lose fame and public love. She was Lola, the one who could do anything, the one who put on little private shows for Franco in La Granja, but who, after the dictator’s death, claimed that she belonged to nothing and nobody; she belonged to spain.
Unforgettable, for its presence, talent and mythological audacity.
According to another of his famous stories, a young Almodóvar was turned down by her when he was looking for the protagonist for his second film, Laberinto de pasiones — Princess Toraya, ultimately played by Spanish-German Helga Liné.
The filmmaker and the pharaoh would get closer years later, but they would never reach a concrete collaboration on screen. Too bad, too bad, too bad, since they were made for each other. By the way, Almodóvar (they say, they say) would have once stated that he had admiration for two characters in that vine: Andy Warhol — and Lola.
Lola made records, films, children. The three, artists, including Lolita, a singer and actress, and Antonio, who died a few days after his mother, say, say, out of sadness.
The third generation of Flores also continues in the world of entertainment — like the granddaughter Alba, Antonio’s only daughter, the Nairobi of the Spanish series La Casa de Papel.
The older, the more beautiful Lola was. Stuff from Spanish divas, who here exude wrinkles and the desire to live.
In the reverent footsteps of xxxoven Spanish artists like Rosalía, Nathy Peluso and C. Tangana, it lives on la llama de la niña Pharaona. “There has never been anyone like Lola”, summarizes Rosalía in Movistar’s series of the same name. “Never will be. It was one of a kind.”
At Lola’s wake in Madrid, her face shrouded in white lace, a crowd of more than 100,000 sang “La Zarzamora,” one of her best-known songs, along with “El Lerele.”
About the artist, the acclaimed actor — and friend — Paco Rabal would write a brief obituary in the Spanish newspaper El País: “when Picasso died, I felt as if something that belonged to all of us had disappeared. The same thing happened to me today (. ..) They are symbols, myths of this very individual Spain, from which geniuses are born from time to time”.
Recently, the ombudsman of the same vehicle denied this story in the New York Times, replicated to exhaustion by the press over decades. Who would have invented such a successful rumor? It is not known. But, for those who are myths, everything sticks. Although Lola did dance and sing, and that was a must.
(Follow my profile on Instagram)
I have worked as a journalist for over 8 years. I have written for many different news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN. I have also published my own book on the history of the world. I am currently a freelance writer and editor, and I am always looking for new opportunities to write and edit interesting content.