Lola Flores

María DoloresLolaFlores Ruiz (21 January 1923 – 16 May 1995) was a Spanish actress, bailaoraand singer. Born in Jerez de la Frontera, Flores became interested in the performing arts at a very young age. Known for her overwhelming personality onstage, she debuted as a dancer at age sixteen at the stage production Luces de España, in her hometown. After being discovered by film director Fernando Mignoni, Flores moved to Madrid to pursue a professional career in music and film, with her first gig being the lead role in Mignoni’s Martingala (1940). Flores succeeded as a film and stage actress. In 1943 she obtained her breakthrough role in the musical stage production Zambra alongside Manolo Caracol, in which she sang original compositions by Rafael de León, Manuel López-Quiroga Miquel and Antonio Quintero, including “La Zarzamora” and “La Niña de Fuego”, mostly singing flamenco music, copla, rumba and ranchera. She then started to receive widespread media coverage.

In 1951, Flores signed a five-film contract with Suevia Films for a value of 6 million pesetas, which became the largest contract for a performing artist in Spanish history. Under that contract she starred in major productions like La Niña de la Venta (1951), ¡Ay, Pena, Penita, Pena! (1953), La Danza de los Deseos(1954) and El Balcón de la Luna (1962), among many others, which spawned the signature songs “A Tu Vera” and “¡Ay, Pena, Penita, Pena!”. Since then, she was popularly dubbed as La Faraona. During her life, Flores performed in more than 35 films, pigeonholed, in many of them, in Andalusian folklore. As a bailaora, Flores enraged several generations of continents, although she distanced herself from flamenco canons. She also recorded over twenty albums, which she toured through Europe, Latin America and the United States.

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