Carmen Pacheco Rodríguez, whose artistic name is Carmen Linares, was born in Linares, Jaén (Spain), in 1951. Her father was an amateur guitarist and always supported his daughter’s passion for the art of flamenco, which was not very common at that time in Spain. “If God has given you that gift, you have to use it”.

Carmen Linares, biografía
Carmen Linares, bio

In 1965, he settled in Madrid, where he came into contact with his first teachers: Juan Varea, el Gallina, Pepe el de la Matrona and la Perla de Cádiz, among others. At the age of 15, he won the first prize for flamenco singing on Radio Madrid.

He made his recording debut in 1970 with the guitar of Juan Habichuela. She was sponsored by Fosforito, whose singing appeared in Carmen’s voice in an obvious way, as this had been her main source. In 1972, he joined Torres Bermejas. Later, in the Café de Chinitas.

A gypsy singer, she lived a magical period in flamenco, being a companion of artists such as Camarón de la Isla, Tomatito, Paco de Lucía, Enrique Morente and José Mercé, many of them during her youth in Torres Bermejas.

Her talent and artistry have made her the teacher and voice of young cantaores such as Miguel Poveda, Marina Heredia, Arcángel and Estrella Morente.

Carmen Linares’ style

“If you don’t have deep roots and a strong base in flamenco (…) you get lost”, he said, speaking of the usual controversy between the purest, most classical flamenco and the most permeable to innovation. Linares’ voice and timbre are rooted in gypsy cante jondo, and his gestures and staging, very emotive and expressive, reaffirm this. But she is also very creative, and some of her albums have been criticised by purists for departing from orthodox canons.

According to flamenco experts, one of the palos he masters best is the seguiriya. He spoke about it in a conference: “You need that magic moment that may or may not happen. That moment that could be called duende: feeling good, connecting with the cante, with the guitarist, with the audience, feeling that this rapport has been achieved”, because otherwise, he explains, he wouldn’t dare with this palo.

But, really, this artist is capable of performing any part of the extensive flamenco repertoire with mastery. And even to give voice to the most important Spanish poets of all times, such as Federico García Lorca, Juan Ramón Jiménez and Miguel Hernández.

Carmen Linares, bio


Where were you born?

Linares (Andalucía)

Date of birth

25 February 1949

A career of success and awards

A life dedicated to flamenco is enough for a lot of records (the first one, in 1970, with Juan Habichuela) and performances, but it is worth mentioning in his career that is among the first flamenco artists to take the stage at the Lincoln Center in New York (USA), specifically, with Amor Brujo, Manuel de Falla.

It is also a pioneer in supporting women in the traditionally male-dominated art of flamenco. Her album Antología de la Mujer en el Cante (1996) was the first album in the genre to compile music composed or sung by female flamenco singers. It features figures of the stature of La Niña de los Peines, La Peñaranda and La Antequerana. The artist herself has defined this album as his best work.

The important thing is to transmit and excite. What I like is for people to remember that emotion and for it to touch their hearts.

But it was not, a priori, a feminist album. In fact, is what he famously said about women and flamenco: “I believe that women have not been discriminated against in the world of flamenco. There have been very good women singers, and the artists themselves and the aficionados have listened to them with all the affection in the world”. Other relevant albums are Oasis Abierto, Ensayo Flamenco, Remembranzas, Encuentro and Cu4tro.

She is the only woman in flamenco to win a National Music Prize for Performance in 2011. He also holds the Silver Medal of the Junta de Andalucía, the National Music Prize, the Mediterranean Music Award of the University of Berklee and the Gold Medal of Fine Arts (2006). In 2022, he was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts along with María Pagés. Flamenco has a lot of quality but we also evolve with our time and with life”, she told TVE after the award. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Seville in 2023.

Poetry and Carmen Linares

It has become a classic for Carmen Linares to interpret Spanish poets, and inVerso a Verso, very recently, she gives voice to the beautiful texts of Miguel Hernández. And she does so accompanied by a great cast of artists, such as the quintet Camerata Flamenco Project (CFP), the guitarists Salvador Gutiérrez and Eduardo Pacheco and the pianist and composer Pablo Suárez.

Her live performances on the occasion of the album in 2019 were accompanied by musical and dance masterpieces, and were a true tribute to poetry in her personal voice.

1988 – Cantaora. Flamencos Accidentales (3 versions)
1991 – La Luna en el Río. Auvidis Ethnic (2 versions)
1994 – Spain: Desde el Alma ‎(CD, Álbum) Network Medien
1996 – Antología La Mujer en el Cante. Mercury (2 versions)
1996 – Su Cante ‎(CD, Álbum, RE) Hispavox
2000 – Manolo Sanlúcar Con Carmen Linares – Locura de Brisa y Trino ‎(CD, Álbum) Mercury
2002 – Carmen Linares Con Gerardo Núñez Trío – Un Ramito de Locura. Mercury (3 versions)
2003 – Latin Essentials ‎(CD, Album, RE) Warner Music Latina
2007 – Antología. La Mujer en el Cante (Limited Edition 10th Anniversary 1997-2007) (2xCD, Album, RE+ DVD + Box, Ltd) Universal Music Group

2008 – Carmen Linares & Juan Carlos Romero – Raíces y Alas ‎(CD, Álbum) Salobre, Salobre
2011 – Remembranzas ‎(CD, Álbum, Dig) Salobre
2017 – Verso a Verso

Biography of Carmen Linares
Carmen Linares and Paco de Lucía

Carmen Linares y Paco de Lucía

Singles and EPs

1996 – Antología (CD, Single, Promo) Mercury

2000 – Carmen Linares, La Susi & Remedios Amaya – Las Reinas ‎(CD, Comp) Altaya
2010 – El Flamenco es… Carmen Linares (Vive El Arte Y El Sentimiento) ‎(CD, Comp) Universal Music Group
2014 – Lo Mejor de… Carmen Linares ‎(CD, Comp) Universal Music Group
2015 – Antología ‎(2xCD, Comp) Universal Music Group

Anthology of Carmen Linares