Dolores Jimenez Alcantara
Madrid- Dolores Jimenez Alcantara, a blind singer who was one of Spain's leading flamenco artists, died June 14 in a hospital in Malaga. She was 90.
Onstage, Ms. Jimenez wore dark glasses and typically performed while standing, supporting herself with one hand placed on the back of a chair. She performed publicly until the late 1980's under the stage name La Niña de la Puebla (The Girl From the Village) and was best known for her rendition of the "Los Campanilleros" (The Bell Ringers), a popular Spanish ballad about children's folkloric choirs.
The daughter of a singing barber from Seville province, Ms. Jimenez was born on July 28,1908, in La Puebla de Cazalla, which gave rise to her nickname. She had an eye infection when very young, and improper treatment caused permanent blindness.
Ms. Jimenez began musical instruction at age 8 when her family moved to Madrid. She warmed gradually to flamenco, received her first contract at 14 and gained a following after a successful performance at a festival in Moron de la Frontera, southeast of Seville, at 20.
In 1931, she made her debut in Seville and a year later, in Madrid. She took "Los Campanilleros" and moved it definitively into the realm of flamenco. The song became her trademark, and she performed it with traveling troupes known as flamenco operas, which appeared in bullrings and theaters.
She spent decades fashioning other songs in a style that flamenco experts often describe as dulce, or sweet. She was comfortable performing much of the flamenco repertory and it's multiple forms of haunting melodies and staccato laments.
In 1934 she married a fellow singer, Lucas Soto Martin, known professionally as Luquitas de Marchena. He died in 1965. Their five children-two of whom, Adelfa and Pepe, are professional flamenco performers-survive her.
Ms. Jimenez had been scheduled to receive a gold medal from King Juan Carlos I for Merit in Fine Arts. The authorities will now deliver the award to her family.
New York Times
From the San Francisco Chronicle 6-22-99
Madrid, Spain-One of flamencos leading singers, Dolores Jimenez Alcantara, better known as "La Niña de la Puebla" (The girl from Puebla) died Monday June 14th in a Malaga hospital. She was 90.
Ms. Jimenez suffered a brain hemorrhage during a performance last weekend in the southwestern town of Huelva.
She was to have received Spain's Gold Medal for Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos I next week.
The singer was given her stage name in recognition or her birthplace, Puebla de Cazalla, just outside Seville.
Blind from childhood, Ms. Jimenez dedicated herself to music from her early years.
She captured the hearts of flamenco artists and fans in the 1960's and 1970's. Admired for her ability to sing in a wide range of styles, she was probably best known for popularizing the Spanish traditional song "Los Campanilleros"( The Bell Ringers)
From the San Francisco Chronicle 6-16-99
Additional information from " Diccionario Ilustrado de Flamenco" :
She appeared in her first motion picture "Madre Alegria" in 1933. She is
survived by her daughter Adelfa Soto who like her mother is a cantante.