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Manitas De Plata - The legendary master of flamenco and flamenco guitar will be 80 years old on 7 August 2001
Regensburg, Germany (ots) - Pablo Picasso heard the French-born gypsy Ricardo Baliardo at a bullfight one evening and proclaimed "This man is of greater worth than I am!" He engraved a drawing in Baliardo's guitar, baptising a new legend, Manitas De Plata, and cementing a close friendship that would endure until Picasso's death. Born in Sète in 1921, Ricardo Baliardo soon came to be known as Manitas De Plata. He stood out from his colleagues at each of the annual pilgrimages to Saintes Maries. Manitas filled the gap left by Django Reinhardt when he finally agreed to perform in public. One of his first recordings prompted a letter from Jean Cocteau, who called him a true musical creator. Other recordings, the first in 1963, earned him the title "King of the flamenco guitar". For days on end, his performances sold out in many of the world's most renowned concert halls, including the Royal Albert and Carnegie Halls. Unfortunately, this honourable but illiterate gypsy was unable to read the sensational announcements and rave reviews of his concerts.
His success earned him a whole host of admirers, including Marlon Brando, Brigitte Bardot, Salvador Dali, Jeanne Moreau, Klaus Kinski, Jean Cocteau, his closest friend Picasso, and many more. Above all, the glamorous St Tropez jet set of the Sixties adopted him as their troubadour without marring the Catalonian's simplicity. His love for señoras and señoritas was already ripe before fame struck.
The past few years have also seen a series of triumphs. Today, at
80 years of age, he is taking things a bit easier, giving only the
occasional concert with his sons Fernando and Manero and his nephew
Chico. Manitas is taking a rest this year, celebrating his birthday
in suitably lavish style. Next year, however, he will be back to his
old form, delighting audiences and concert halls the world over.
His new studio CD is entitled "Flores de mi corazón"
There aren't many true musical legends left ...The Legend lives!
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