This year’s Halloween night will remain in the memory of many flamenco fans, although not because of costumes or scares. A tribute to Juanito Villar at the Palacio de Congresos de Cádiz has brought the audience to its feet and has left the height of this artist of the local styles powerful.

Juanito Villar. Fiesta de la Parpuja

We had already announced it: Juanito Villar has received a tribute in Cádiz in style. Rancapino Chico, Caracolillo de Cádiz and Antonio Canales have been on stage giving their best art to this singer from Cádiz who has shared unforgettable moments with figures such as Camarón de la Isla. But not only.

Throughout his career he has been in Japan with the dancer José Miguel, Blanca del Rey, Yoko Komatsubara (ambassador of flamenco in Japan), and the guitarists Víctor Monje Serranito and Curro de Jerez, son of “Sernita”.

He has toured abroad with Paco Cepero, touring Germany, France (where he participated in the Paris Flamenco Singing Festival) and Holland, among other European cities.

Now it’s his turn to collect, festival after festival, in his Peña Flamenca Juanito Villar or in this Palacio de Congresos, those tributes to a successful and very “hard-fought” career… This is how a lecture by Antonio Barberán sums it up.

A journey through the life of Juanito Villar

Juanito Villar (Cádiz, 1947), in his first steps in the artistic world, called himself “Juanito el de La Jineta”. At the age of 14, “Caracol de Cádiz” led him to sing for the first time at the Balneario de la Palma, the Cortijo de los Rosales and many private parties in Cádiz.

At the age of 18, she joined the flamenco group of the women’s section with guitarists Pepe Ruso, Santi and José Herrera.

After completing his military service, he was hired for the inauguration of the Tablao de Cádiz, in an event in which “Los Gitanillos de Cádiz”, Juan Villar himself and the guitarist “Niño de los Rizos” participated.

Landing in Madrid

With the help of Lorena, a flamenco fan but related to the world of bullfighting, he made the leap to Madrid to try his luck. He connected with Francisco Manzano Heredia “Faíco”, a talented flamenco dancer from Madrid from the “Pelaos” family. His first tablao in Madrid was the legendary “Villa Rosa”, thanks to the intervention of Amina, a native of Cadiz raised in Morocco and daughter of the guitarist Juan el Ciego.

During that time, he alternated his performances in the Villa Rosa group with sporadic appearances in Valderrama’s “Las Cotorritas de Filipinas” and with the Cadiz carnival groups that were on tour in Madrid at that time.

It is not unusual for a singer to participate in the carnival, as did Camarón, Pericón, Juan Silva, Niño de la Leo, Adela la Jacket and many other flamenco artists.

An anecdote is recalled from when Juan was 13 or 14 years old, a carnival author from the neighborhood of La Viña expelled him from his group alleging that he did not know how to sing. Fortunately, he couldn’t have been more wrong.

Juanito Villar at the Cadiz Biennial

King of the tablaos

In the 70s, Juan lived in the Tirso de Molina neighbourhood of Madrid, where most of the flamenco artists working in the capital stayed.

It should be remembered that, at that time, there was an incomparable generation of singers who would soon become the leading figures of flamenco, such as José Mercé, Pansequito, Camarón, Lebrijano, Paco Cepero, Paco de Lucía and his brother Ramón de Algeciras, Turronero, Chiquetete, among others.

In 1972, he recorded his first album with Triumph (also with Polygram) with Ramón de Algeciras on guitar. In addition, he had recorded with Paco’s father, “El Chato de la Isla”, and “Juan Cantero”, among others.

He also worked at the Tablao de “Los Canasteros” owned by Manolo Caracol. There she sang for Manuela Carrasco’s dance, while continuing to perform as a headliner at the most important festivals in Spain. There is a documentary from that time that shows a young Juan Villar singing for the renowned dancer.

A chronicle of the First Cultural Week of Flamenco in Seville in 1974 predicted a great future for him, and he was not wrong. Juan began a successful artistic career in which he was requested as a leading figure in all the main festivals in Spain.