He was a star of the Catalan rumba. Bambino is the protagonist of a new RTVE series and, with him and his fateful fate, we look back at those forgotten flamenco artists who did a lot but got very little.

Bambino. Flamenco-rumba

Bambino, rey de la rumba-pop

Bambino is all the rage today, in the middle of 2023. Who knew! He lived fast and died young after leaving his mark on the world of flamenco rumba. In 2021, a documentary directed by Paco Ortiz (“Algo Salvaje”) rescued his figure; Today, it’s public television. But he wasn’t so lucky in life…

We talk about him, and other forgotten flamingos despite their relevance, in this post.

Bambino: King of Rumba-Pop

This Utrera-born Miguel Vargas hit the nail on the head when, in 1961, he covered a song called “Bambino Picolino” by Renato Carosone. And his fame was immediate.

Bambino’s contribution was to adapt the Italian song to the flamenco festival, but also rancheras or boleros, which were played in him by bulerías or rumba. Bongos and guitar were their accompaniments and brought flamenco to new audiences.

The 60s and part of the 70s were his in the tablaos and on the shelves of the music sold in Spanish gas stations. One day, at a performance in Rota, he lost his voice.

He continued to sing, but only in private. He died of throat cancer at the age of 59 (in 1999).

Bambino. Movie
La Campanera

La Campanera: dance teacher

Her name was Amparo Álvarez and they called her La Campanera. He was born, no less, in La Giralda in Seville. That was in 1928.

Manuel Bohórquez says of her that she was “the first professional teacher who had the dance of Seville”. He was key in the development of the Sevillian bolero school and the training of artists through his Aurora academy. For example, José Otero Aranda or Ángel Pericet Carmona. For example, José Otero Aranda or Ángel Pericet Carmona. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 67 in Huelva.

The Girl with the Swing: The “Other” Girl with the Combs

She was the only singer and dancer who could have put up some competition with the greatest, Pastora Pavón, the Niña de los Peines. Her name was Inés (Cádiz, 1892), she was from Cádiz and it is said that she sang the bamberas (flamenco style based on a children’s game) even better than Pastora herself. When his son was shot in the Civil War, he became ill with grief. He died in 1956 in his homeland.

Swing Girl

La Perrata: voice of Utrera

María Fernández Granados (1922-2005), singer from Utrera, better known as La Perrata. it collected all the flamenco legacy of Utrera and Lebrija. It was in his blood. She was related to almost all the flamenco gypsies of the region of Utrera and Lebrija, names such as Perrate, Fernanda and Bernarda de Utrera, Pedro Bacán, Pedro Peña, Inés Bacán, Gaspar de Utrera, Turronero or Dorantes are some of her family ties and echoes that sound in her voice, because listening to La Perrata you can see that in her voice something of all of them sounds.

She married Bernardo Peña Vargas at a very young age, who took her away from the profession, although she could be heard at family gatherings. However, much of this union of the cante of Utrera and the cante of Lebrija is due to her.

El Sernita: father of today’s flamenco

José Manuel Gamboa, a flamenco expert, wrote a beautiful book called “Sernita de Jerez ¡Vamos a olvidarnos!” which explains the importance for flamenco of this singer from Jerez with a gypsy caste, family of artists and natural talent.

Sernita’s name was Manuel Fernández Moreno (1921-1971) and Gamboa says of him that he is “the father of contemporary flamenco”. He was important as a singer for the dance, which allowed him to work with Antonio El Bailarín, among others. He died ill and without recognition of his contribution because they said at the time that he sounded like a Gachó.