Diego El Cigala here in LA on U.S. Tour

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El Cigala,  one of the best and certainly the best-known flamenco singer known outside of Spain, is in the U.S. on a rare tour.  I missed his sold-out show with the redoubtable Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes in Seville at WOMEX (a big world music convention) in 2003,  but caught him and Bebo at the Conga Room a couple of years later.  I tried, while working for the Los Angeles Philharmonic,to get him and Bebo to Disney Hall, but it didn’t pan out.   But now he’s here in the U.S. on tour, and tonight he performs @ 7 p.m. at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.  I look forward to seeing him again.

Funny how flamenco artists—like mafiosos–always have nick names.  In both cases they are named after animals.  Tony the Ant.  Jimmy the Weasel.  Camarón de la Isla (shrimp of the island, the name given to the late-great flamenco artist who died twenty years ago).  And now El Cigala–the grasshopper.  El Cigala is a striking presence, and when you see him you see how the Spanish gypsies came from India, from Rajasthan, hundreds of years ago, trekking all the way to Spain.  He is handsome, tall, and exudes strength.  He has the fine gypsy “rajo” or rasp that characterizes, enhances,  and strengthens vocal delivery in flamenco song.  His guitarist is the son of Moraito, a famous flamenco guitarist.    Here’s info on tonight’s show:


El Cigala’s website:


and check out this great youtubevideo of El Cigala and Valdes performing the great Cuban bolero “Lagrimas Negras” (black tears):