Monday, October 13, 2014

El planeta. The very first historical flamenco singer.

'El Planeta' (The Planet) is the very first flamenco singer that can be found in historical documents. Of course, there are other singers like "Tio Luis el de la Juliana" from which we only have oral tradition of his existence. El Planeta lived during the first half of the XIX century. We can see his genuine look in the draw above, painted by Lemeyer,

There are not too many data about 'El Planeta'. In a first research Antonio Ortiz (from says that perhaps his name was Antonio Monge Rivero and was born in Cadiz, if we consider as true the story of Manolo Caracol, one of the old greatest flamenco singers. Caracol asseverated to be his great-great-grandson (sic).

Serafin Estébanez Calderón, a contemporary Spaniard writer, described a famous flamenco party where he could listen to the major singers of those years: El Fillo and El Planeta. They sang together in Triana (Seville). El planeta sang whith this guitar (this is usually rare in flamenco). The few existing pictures of ‘El Planeta’ always described him with the guitar.

He was called by his nickname, Planet, due to his lyrics which usually talk about moon, sun, planets, etc. Polos and ancient siguiriyas were his favorite styles.

This is believed to be one of his lyrics:

A la luna le pío,
la del alto cielo.
Cómo le pío, le pío,
que me saque a mi pare
de donde está metío.

The translation is something like this

To the moon I trill
That, above in the sky,
I trill and trill
That she shoul set
my father free
(presumably from the jail)

Nowadays, the search of the documents that can support the 'career' of 'El Fillo' and 'El Planeta' is an obsession for flamenco historians. But, at the moment, El planeta is still more legend that an historical figure.

See you!

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