Born Rosario Flores on November 4, 1963, in Madrid, Spain; daughter of Lola Flores (born Maria de los Delores Flores Ruiz; a singer) and Antonio "el Pescailla" Gonzalez (a guitar player). Addresses: Record company--BMG Ariola Studios, Steinhauser Strasse 1-3, 81677 Munich, Germany. Website--Rosario Official Website: http://www.rosario-flores.com.
Rosario Flores is a Spanish singer who blends traditional music, such as flamenco and gypsy tunes, with a variety of pop influences. She has appeared in numerous Spanish television shows and films, as well as the internationally successful film Talk to Her, directed by Pedro Almodovar. Her album Muchas Flores won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album in 2002.
Born on November 4, 1963, in Madrid, Spain, Rosario was the youngest member of a highly musical family. Both of her parents were famed and influential musicians and her siblings, Antonio and Lolita, also pursued musical careers. Her mother, Lola Flores, grew up in a poor family in Jerez de la Frontera; as a child, she often earned pocket money by singing in local bars. By the age of 15, Lola was appearing on a variety show, Mary Paz, and two years later she convinced her father to sell the family's bar and move to Madrid so she could pursue a singing career. This launched her into a lifetime of singing, during which she produced about 50 records and became a legendary and charismatic figure in Spain. She was called "la Faraona," the "Queen of Flamenco," and was known for her extravagantly feminine persona. Rosario's father was Antonio "el Pescailla" Gonzalez, a well-known Spanish guitarist who is credited with creating Catalan rumba-pop, a genre made internationally popular by the French group the Gypsy Kings.
As Rosario's official website notes, everyone in her family "learned to dance before they could walk and to sing before learning to speak." As a child, she accompanied her parents to musical gatherings, hearing gypsy songs and flamenco guitar from her earliest years. When she was five, she appeared in a Spanish television series, El taxi de los conflictos, and from 1980 onward, she appeared in many more television series and films in Spain. The most notable of these were Eloy de la Iglesia's Colegas (1980), Francisco Regueiro's Diario de invierno (1988), and Felix Rotaeta's Chatarra (1991).
In the early 1990s, Rosario decided to concentrate on a singing career, and began recording in 1992. Her first three albums sold over a million copies in Spain alone. Her music blends the traditional sounds of her heritage, gypsy and flamenco music, with, as her website notes, "her favorite music: Lenny Kravitz, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Eagles, Prince, Carole King, etc.... [She combines tradition with] the blues, the soul, the bossa nova, the funky, the salsa and the current pop music." In the Houston Chronicle, Ramiro Burr wrote, "Rosario possesses one of Latin music's most distinctive voices, a plaintive, almost childlike alto that occasionally recalls Carole King."
In 1995 Flores's mother died of cancer. Mourners crowded the streets of Madrid, waiting for her coffin to pass in procession, singing her favorite song, "La Zarzamora." Flores's brother, Antonio, was very close to her and was devastated by her death. He had been troubled by drug addiction for several years and died soon afterward from an overdose. Before his death, he had been considered "the poet of the family," according to Rosario's website, as well as Rosario's "twin soul." These two losses colored Rosario's next work, Jugar a la Locura, which was released in 1999. The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award.
In 2002 Flores appeared in the Sony Pictures Classics film Talk to Her, directed by Pedro Almodovar. She played Lydia, a bullfighter who is having trouble with her boyfriend, and who turns to an Argentine journalist, Marco, for solace. In Daily Variety, Jonathan Holland wrote that Flores's "rough-hewn features ooze charisma."
In the film's production notes, posted on the WBLI website, Almodovar described why he chose Rosario for this role: "In Rosario I looked for strength of character and those sad, innocent eyes which go so well with a character defeated by abandonment. I also looked for and found a body which was both athletic and feminine. Dressed in the revealing bullfighter's breeches, Rosario looks like a bullfighter in the style of Manolete. And poured into a design by Dolce & Gabbana, she is a stunning woman. Of all the female artists I know, Rosario is the only one who, dressed like a bullfighter, looks like a bullfighter. Even the hat suits her." He also commented, "She has given Lydia's character authenticity, naturalness and a style which will undoubtedly be more appreciated by those who don't know her."
In that same year, Rosario released another recording, Muchas Flores. The album included eleven tracks, blending rock and Latin music. She named the album for her mother, celebrating her famous heritage and her mother's influence. Rosario wrote or cowrote six of the songs on the disc, including the romantic samba "Como quieres que te quiera" and the tropical ballad "Buscame," in which she serenades a lover. The album also features notable guest musicians, including Raimundo Amador playing gypsy guitar, the Carmona brothers on guitars and palmas, Diego Carrasco on vocals and palmas, and flamenco guitarist Juan Maya. Although the album received a lukewarm review from All Music Guide's Chris Nickson, who called it "relatively straightforward Latin pop" and "pleasant enough, but without too many sparks flying," Muchas Flores won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album in 2002.
Rosario planned to do an American tour if Muchas Flores sold well in the United States. She told Ramiro Burr in the Houston Chronicle, "Rootsy, cultivated music is harder to market, but we're trying to bring it to the whole world." Of her singing career, Rosario told Burr that she couldn't imagine doing anything else. She commented, "It's easy for me because I feel like I was born to do it."
by Kelly Winters
Appeared in numerous films and television series, 1969-; began singing career, 1992; released De ley, 1992; Siento, 1994; Mucho por vivir, 1996; Jugar a la locura, 1999; Como quieres que te quiera, 2001; and Muchas Flores, 2002.
Latin Grammy Award, Best Female Pop Vocal Album for Muchas Flores, 2002.
- Selected discography
- De ley , Sony, 1992.
- Siento , Sony, 1994.
- Mucho por vivir , Sony, 1996.
- Jugar a la locura , Sony, 1999.
- Como quieres que te quiera , Sony, 2001.
- Muchas Flores , BMG/Ariola, 2002.
- Daily Variety, March 20, 2002, p. 12.
- Houston Chronicle, July 12, 2002.
- "Lola Flores: People of Anadlucia," Andalucia.com, http://www.andalucia.com/history/people/lolaflores.htm (March 27, 2003).
- "Movie Production Notes: Talk to Her," WBLI, http://www.wbli.com/common/movies/notes/32096-1.html (April 3, 2003).
- "Rosario," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (July 2, 2003).
- "Rosario Flores," Filmbug, http://www.filmbug.com/db/342918 (March 27, 2003).
- Rosario Flores Official Website, http://www.rosario-flores.com (March 27, 2003).