Flamenco is the historic folk music of the Andalusia region in southern Spain. It is known for its use of the guitar, cajón, castanets, and clapping. Its singing, el cante, is evocative, heartfelt, and profoundly infused with pasión. Originally introduced to a wider audience in the late 1700s, flamenco did not explode unto the modern era till musicians like Paco de Lucía, Camarón de la Isla, and Tomatito brought it to international ears during the 1960s, '70s, and '80s.
Nicknamed the "Norway Lobster" for his slimness as a youth, Diego "El Cigala" Ramón Jiménez Salazar is today's foremost flamenco interpreter and master. His singing has transcended the borders of Spain. And as a musical explorer, noted for his work with Argentine musicians incorporating tango and his Afro-Cuban experiments with jazz legend Bebo Valdés, he has reached a global community of fans that continues to grow.
Now in his mid '40s, El Cigala still seems a young man, filled with ambition and bonhomie, as he continues to explore the nuanced facets of flamenco and the many other forms of music that fascinate him. We here at Crossfade recently had the chance to speak with Señor Jiménez Salazar about pain, pasión, and "the greats."