Thursday, July 7, 2011


Francisca Méndez Garrido, 'La Paquera' was born in Calle Cerro Fuerte, Jerez, in 1934, and spent the last half of the twentieth century at the center of flamenco activity. She became a kind of matriarch of the flamenco of Jerez de la Frontera and spent many years performing in the tablaos of Madrid and Seville. She was born in the neighborhood of San Miguel in Jerez, but it was in Madrid were she was to make her name, rubbing shoulders with the top artistes of the time. 

In 1971 she was awarded the Niña de los Peines trophy at the Cordoba Nacional Concurso de Cante Flamenco. She is one of the most majestic singers to come out of Jerez de la Frontera in the last century and she gained the title of Queen of the buleriás. She was like a volcano waiting to erupt, her soleares and bulerias were performed with fire and deep emotion and her tientos and fandangos executed with that indefinable art of the gypsies of Jerez. Although La Paquera was a cuchichi or half gypsy, she possessed that quality that the gypsies seem to be able to inject into their flamenco, a colourful, exciting flow of rhythm and heart rending song. As a child she would perform the festero styles of Cádiz in the streets of Jerez, which she learnt from artists like her cousin Diego Rubichi.

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