One of Spain’s finest guitarists died today at Hospital General de Jerez de la Frontera of lung cancer. Moraito Chico was one of the leading exponents of the Jerez school of Flamenco guitar. He will be laid to rest tomorrow at noon at Jerez de la Frontera’s Municipal Cemetery.
Manuel Moreno Junquera, better known under his artistic name Moraito Chico, was born on September 13, 1955 in Jerez de la Frontera’s barrio de Santiago (Santiago district) in a renowned Gypsy musical family. His uncle was the well known Flamenco performer Manuel Morao and his father was guitarist Juan Morao.
At 10, Moraito Chico started performing at ‘Jueves Flamencos’ (Flamenco Thursdays) in Jerez. During the 1980s he worked at Madrid’s leading flamenco nightclubs such as Los Canasteros and La Venta del Gato.
Although he accompanied some of the leading flamenco singers throughout the years, he was known as the habitual guitarist that performed with renowned Flamenco singer José Merce.
Moraito Chico released two solo albums: Morao y Oro (Auvidis, 1992) with Juan Moneo El Torta (vocals) and Chicharrito (palmas, jaleo and cajón); and Morao, Morao (Mercurio, 1999) which featured La Venta, Navajita Plateá, Luis ‘El Zambo’, María Vala and Los Marismeños.
Moraito Chico’s guitar appeared on many albums by Niña Pastori, José Mercé, Juncales de Jerez, Jose Soto “Sorderita” and Jerez canta a Manuel Alejandro.
Moraito Chico received many awards, including two national guitar awards, the 1984 Copa Jerez, the Charles Cros award (1993), Premio de la Asociación Nacional de Críticos de Arte Flamenco (1999), and best guitar accompanist in 2001.
Moraito Chico’s legacy continues with his son, Diego del Morao, who has become a reputable Flamenco guitarist.