Juan Moneo Lara (known in the flamenco world as El Torta) passed away at his home in Sanlucar de Barrameda (Cadiz) on December 31, 2013.
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.
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.