Friday, 30 January 2009

Queen of Copla

Tomorrow we will be in Spain again, and I can't wait! Even though we do spend the majority of our time doing nothing much in particular (that's what holidays are all about after all...), we have done plenty of exploring, and absorbed some of the cultural influences of that fabulous country over the years.

Not least of those is our enduring love for that most adored of Spanish divas (those that are still with us, that is), the lovely Isabel Pantoja. I am sure I have written about her before, but suffice to say that La Pantoja is to Spain what Liza Minelli is to Broadway - a timeless icon for gays and old ladies alike, her stage inevitably always coated with flowers thrown to her during every performance.

Born in Seville, home of Flamenco, to a family steeped in that tradition, it was inevitable that Isabel would become a performer. She hit the heights in the late 70s/early 80s, her success rivalling other grande dames of Spanish music such as the late Rocio Jurado. And her position as an iconic figure was ensured when - tragically - her husband, top bullfighter "Paquirri" was killed in the ring. Even recent scandals (her current husband the mayor of Marbella was imprisoned for corruption, and Isabel was implicated and later cleared) cannot dent her position as "Queen of Copla", and she continues to sell out massive concert halls and basks in the adulation of her audiences to this day.

So popular is La Pantoja that some of her classics have been remixed for a younger dance audience, and she continues to be played in the gay clubs in La Nogalera in Torremolinos today...


  1. donde este Rocio jurado que se quite la Pantoja!!!

  2. Darling, I think the title of the post is not telling a truth but deh. The true queen of copla is fairly considered to be Concha Piquer. Please read about and see documentaries. And Imperio Argentina also, a refined, classy,clear-voice singer. Artists that did not need to sell their lifes, to play the role of the victim or cry on stage to get pity. The nicest period of Mrs Pantoja is after the death of her husband. The songs are lovely, intepretation ok, and she had a huge marketing at her back which other much better than her did not, including Mrs Jurado.
    But Pantoja's voice got damaged at quite an early age and nowadays she kills some ears, mine included. Anyway, I respect her and her art.

    Rocio Jurado kept her voice and brilliance until the end and left with her head up high. I wish you a fantastic weekend

    1. My friend, you are of course right when you refer to the superior quality of the voices of the lovely Senoritas Piquer and Argentina. Theirs was an art - but to make comparisons is the equivalent in its way to comparing, say, Jessie Matthews to Liza Minnelli. Totally different eras, different audiences, different in every way. But equally admirable.

      I appreciate the sheer campness of Isabel Pantoja, as I do that of Rojio Jurado. The audacia and theatricality is the art-form to which I am paying homage in this instance, not the technical purity.

      That's why this blog is titled "Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle", among other reasons. Jx


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