El Torta was born in Jerez de la Frontera (Cadiz) in 1952. He grew up in La Plazuela, in the San Miguel district of Jerez, one of the great cradles of flamenco. His specialty was soleares and bulerias.
El Torta’s family, the Moneo dynasty, is an eminent group of flamenco artists. El Torta’s brother Manuel Moneo, his nephew “El Barullo,” and his niece Macarena Moneo are all well-known flamenco singers.
In 1972 El Torta was awarded the Soleares award at the Concurso de Mairena del Alcor. In 1985 he performed at Tablao Los Canasteros and Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. He later joined the El Duende tablao (nightclub) in Jerez.
He recorded four albums: Luna Mora. (Dro East West, 1989), Colores Morenos. (Audivis Ethnic, 1994), La Plazuela de los Moneo (Mercurio, 1999) and Momentos (Juglar Recordings, 2007). He also appeared in Carlos Saura’s celebrated Flamenco film.
Although El Torta performed traditional flamenco at flamenco peñas (flamenco fan clubs), he also collaborated with rock musicians, such as Jerez flamenco rock band Mixtolobo.
“We highlight the artistic relevance of Juan Moneo Lara ‘El Torta’, who was born in the 1950s in La Plazuela, as well as his professional contribution to flamenco singing. From the City council we emphasize the contribution of artists like Juan Moneo Lara ‘El Torta’ and the Moneo family in the promotion of Jerez on an international scale as the cradle of flamenco,” said a Jerez city government press release.