La Paquera de Jerez

[from the ap wire]

MADRID, Spain (AP) Flamenco star La Paquera de Jerez, known for her fiery temperament and powerful voice which allowed her to sing without a microphone in bullrings, died in her hometown of Jerez. She was 70.

La Paquera, whose real name was Francisca Mendez Garrido, died Monday of thrombosis a month after being admitted to a hospital, said Jose Alberto Rodriguez of the Jerez-based Andalusian Center of Flamenco.

Her death was front-page news in Jerez where she was considered a legend.

“The aficionados will always remember that formidable flow of voice that was almost frightening, her powerful presence on stage, her bravado and her rhythm, that made her an indisputable flamenco star,” said Madrid daily El Pais.

La Paquera, whose father was a gypsy, started singing professionally at 17.

She rose to fame in the 1950s singing in flamenco clubs known as “tablaos” in Madrid and her native Jerez. She worked with other well-known flamenco artists such as Matilde Coral and Porrina de Badajoz.

She made several records in the 1960s and was famous for her “bulerias,” a flamenco rhythm with a particularly vigorous beat.

Apart from singing, she also appeared in Carlos Saura’s film “Flamenco” in 1994 and more recently in Toni Gatlif’s “Vengo,” a documentary on flamenco.

During her career she was awarded important flamenco prizes including the Nina de los Peines award in Cordoba, and the Copa de Jerez.

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