Voice of the streets

<strong>Flamenco Legend: in search of Camarón de la Isla</strong>

Marcos <em>NPI Media, 288pp, £1

Camarón de la Isla is revered in Spain as flamenco’s greatest singer for his remarkable vocal talents

and mastery of improvisation. Since his death in 1992, at the age of just 41, the gypsy Camarón has been idolised, credited with rescuing flamenco from General Franco’s clutches and with having returned this extraordinary and bewitching music to the streets.

The mysteriously named “Marcos” – himself a distinguished flamenco musician – journeys through southern Spain to unravel the real story of the virtuoso singer. A drug addict who died of lung cancer, Camarón gained far greater fame after his death than he ever experienced in life. Critics slated his later performances, and his concerts became notorious for scenes of racially motivated violence against gypsy clans. Flamenco Legend takes a deeper look at the historical context of the singer’s life, as well as the culture and perception of gypsies in Spain.

The author’s passion for flamenco and extensive knowledge make this a captivating read. As Marcos comments, his search for the real Camarón is "inconclusive", and yet, far from leaving the

reader disappointed, this makes the tragic tale of the artist all the more poignant.