Artist Profiles: Ramón El Portugués

Ramón El Portugués – Photo by Mario Pacheco

Ramón Suárez Salazar, better known as Ramón El Portugués, was born in Mérida (Badajoz province), Spain in 1948. He is the nephew of the legendary singer Porrina de Badajoz.

Ramón El Portugués is specialized in cantes extremeños (Flamenco songs from Extremadura, a region in western Spain), such as tangos and jaleos. The jaleos are thought to be one of the oldest forms of Flamenco, a primitive form of the alegria.

Although born in Mérida, Ramón El Portugués is known in the Flamenco circuit as El Portugués because his region, Extremadura, borders Portugal.

Ramón El Portugués has taken part in most relevant flamenco festivals and has proved to be a “live” artist rather than a recording artist. He has recorded very few albums during his musical career, the first one in the early 1970s.

On his second album, Gitanos de la Plaza, he was accompanied by some the finest flamenco guitarists: Juan Habichuela, Pepe Habichuela, Tomatito and El Bola. His own son, Paquete, and El Negri, also collaborated, both being members of La Barberia del Sur. Therefore, Gitanos de la Plaza brought together several flamenco generations with the fabulous voice of Ramón El Portugués.

In 2009, top flamenco artists participated in a tribute to Ramón El Portugués’ 50th anniversary as a singer. Pepe Habichuela, José El Frances, Los Chunguitos, Juan Carmona and others got together in a series of fundraising concerts to pay for knee surgery.

Discography

* Gitanos de la Plaza (Nuevos Medios, 1992)
* Canta Ramón El Portugués (2006)
* Archivo De Flamenco Vol.17, Aires Flamencos De Extremadura Con El Indio Gitano Y * Ramón “El Portugués” (2007)
* Jaleo, with Guadiana (Karonte, 2014)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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