Artist Profiles: Dolores La Agujeta

Dolores La Agujeta

Dolores Agujeta is the granddaughter of old Agujetas, an extraordinary flamenco singer that was not a professional performer. He was a blacksmith by trade and a faithful follower of the school of Manuel Torrres, Marrurro, Mojama, Ramirez, Farrabú, Carapiera, among others. It was his son, Manuel de los Santos Pastor “El Agujetas,” who continued and expanded with his style and enormous personality. Today, Dolores Agujetas continues forging the tradition. Hers is a younger voice full of echoes and old memories.

Dolores de los Santos Bermúdez, better known as Dolores Agujetas, was born in Jerez on May 12 of 1960. From a very young age she learned the expressive language of her ancestry within her family of renowned flamenco singers, although her elders did not approve of a woman devoted to singing in public. For that reason she didn’t get on a stage until she was 30 years old.

Her first public performance in 1991, accompanied by guitarist Manuel Parrilla, Juan de la Plata, received rave reviews by the specialized press. From that point she became one of the best performers of her genre.

Dolores Agujetas carries the spirit of flamenco in her veins. Her genes proclaim her daughter of the flamenco spirit, heiress of the pain, of the cry and of the purest sorrow that are found in cante jondo (deep song).

Her voice is a cry for life, the anxiety of the scream turned to harmony, abandonment and the feeling of being a Gypsy. It’s a laceration of old ancestral echoes, wrapped in grief and centuries of persecution.

When Dolores sings, her whole body vibrates and her whole being becomes sound. Her music is an encounter with her ancestors, clamoring for so much grief planted by a people that wants to continue singing. To see this daughter of the flamenco spirit is another drama.

Dolores is the daughter of the darkest and most beautiful flamenco spirit, of the song of those Gypsies that traveled the world, alone with their pain and with their tears. Dolores belongs to the most unusual breed of flamencos geniuses. On her first CD she provides a small sample of authentic love for the songs of her people, sometimes expressed with true rage and bitter mourning.

Her singing is full of substance, touched by the flamenco spirit that she carries in her Gypsy soul from Jerez because Dolores has learned and knows deeply the secrets of deep flamenco singing [cante jondo]. A unique way of singing, inherited from their family, that she reveals, only from time to time, to the true initiatesto the exact rite and the soundest abandonment. Dolores Agujeta, daughter of the flamenco spirit, opens her heart for the first time, surrendering herself in body and soul through her best songs.

In 2009 she released the album “Mujerez” (a mix of words: mujeres = women and Jerez) with Juana la del Pipa, Dolores Agujetas andy La Macanita featuring Moraíto and Dieguito Agujetas on guitar.

Vivo, released in 2012, was a live album recorded at Peña Flamenca la Bujería during the Festival Internacional de Flamenco de Jerez. She was accompanied by her son, Agujetas Chico on guitar.

Original biography by Juan de la Plata. Expanded and edited by Angel Romero

Discography:

Hija del Duende (Fonoruz, 2000)
Dolores la Agujeta y Parrilla de Jerez (Bujío Producciones, 2004)
Mujerez, with Juana la del Pipa and La Macanita (Bujío Producciones, 2009)
Vivo (2012)
Agujeta Cantaora, with Manuel Parrilla (2016)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV 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 albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.
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