It is difficult to make a list of the best flamenco guitarists without forgetting any of them. But here is a small selection of some of the most popular and talented musicians in history.
Paco de Lucia
Francisco Sanchez Gomez, better known as Paco de Lucía (Algeciras, 1947-2014) is considered the greatest flamenco guitarist of all time. He was a unique and unrepeatable musician and composer, a true virtuoso of the guitar, who left us great songs such as Entre dos aguas. He has shared the bill with great artists such as Camarón, Carlos Santana, Tomatito or John McLaughlin. He is considered responsible for spreading flamenco art internationally, thanks to its fusion with new rhythms such as jazz, bossa nova and classical music.
Pepe Habichuela (Granada, 1944) is the artistic name of José Antonio Carmona Carmona, a Spanish gypsy flamenco guitarist of great talent and refined technique. He belongs to a flamenco dynasty that began with his grandfather, known as Habichuela el Viejo, through his father Tío José Habichuela, his brothers, and continues today with his son Josemi Carmona and his nephews, members of the musical group Ketama. A family of artists who carry flamenco in their blood.
Pepe Habichuela has collaborated with such renowned figures as Juanito Valderrama, Camarón de la Isla and Enrique Morente. The albums he recorded with the latter artist, Homenaje a D. Antonio Chacón and Despegando, are considered flamenco classics and indispensable for those who want to get started in this type of music. His awards include the “Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts” in 2018.
Tomatito is another great master of the Spanish guitar. His real name is José Fernandez Torres (Almería, 1958) and he comes from another gypsy dynasty of flamenco artists. He learned to play the guitar from his father, known as “Tomate”, and his grandfather “Miguel Tomate”. His artistic career began in 1970 when he moved to Malaga, performed in tablaos and met Camarón de la Isla. In fact, in Camarón’s album La leyenda del Tiempo, the guitar playing belongs to Tomatito. Other artists with whom he has shared the stage are Diego el Cigala and Enrique Morente. Tomatito is one of the great “tocaores” of his generation.
Vicente Amigo Girol (Guadalcanal, Seville, 1967) is one of the best Spanish flamenco guitarists. He plays the guitar with great virtuosity. At the age of 8 he already started learning to play the guitar when he was given the first guitar of his collection. El Tomate and Manolo Sanlucar were some of his teachers. This musician has released eight solo albums, but has also published others with prestigious artists such as José Mercé, Del Amanecer, an album composed and performed on guitar by Vicente Amigo.
Vicente Amigo has been awarded the prizes for Best Flamenco Author and Best Flamenco Composer, granted by the AIE and SGAE, in 1999.
Manuel Serrapí Sánchez (Seville, 1904-1972), better known as Niño Ricardo, was a famous Spanish guitarist, currently considered the precursor of contemporary flamenco guitar playing. He created his own style and new playing techniques, breaking away from the canons and revolutionizing the guitar with his own compositions. At the age of 14 he began to perform in flamenco tablaos, where he would meet great singers that he would later accompany on his tours in Spain and other countries.
He was also the teacher of many renowned flamenco guitarists such as Paco de Lucía, Enrique de Melchor, among others.
Diego del Morao
Another great artist is Diego del Morao (Jerez de la Frontera, 1978), who is part of the renowned lineage of guitarists Los Morao. He is one of the best flamenco guitarists today. He learned to play the guitar at the school of El Carbonero. He has recorded several albums playing the guitar. Some examples are: Confí de fuá with José Mercé, La Rosa Blanca with Montse Cortés and No hay quinto malo by Niña Pastori.
Manuel Muñoz Alcón, better known as Manolo Sanlucar (Sanlúcar de Barrameda, 1943-2022) was a Spanish guitarist and composer. He also worked as a teacher, sharing his instrumental knowledge through courses at the Menéndez y Pelayo University in Seville. This artist lived surrounded by flamenco since he was very young, since his father was a music lover and took him to Jerez de la Frontera to learn to play. When he was only 8 years old, he was already performing in musical events, festivals in the surrounding towns, and even in radio programs. He became so popular that when he was 13 years old, Pepe Pinto, a flamenco singer, sought him out and asked him to be part of Pepe Marchena’s show, another famous artist.
He has received several awards throughout his artistic career: Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts in 2015, Favorite Son of the Province of Cadiz in 2016 and International Flamenco Award in 2021.
Daniel Casares (Estepona, 1980) is the youngest guitarist and composer in this list of prestigious flamenco artists. At his young age he has already recorded 8 solo albums: Duende Flamenco, La Madrugá, Corazón de tu alma, Caballero, El Ladrón del Agua, Picassares, La luna de Alejandra, which includes his interpretation of the Concierto de Aranjuez (with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga) and his latest album Guitarrísimo.
He has played accompanying great singers such as Pitingo, Chucho Valdés, Miguel Poveda and Alejandro Sanz. He also scored the Spanish film El Discípulo.
Casares has won several awards: winner of the First National Guitar Competition in Jaén, best artist of the year 2000 award by Thomson Music, Ace Award from the New York Show Writers Association in 2004.
These are some of the best flamenco guitarists in history. Do you think we have forgotten any of them?
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