San Fernando Flamenco

There is a strong tradition of flamenco music in San Fernando which may easily be traced back to the years leading up to the Napoleonic-led invasion of Spain by France. At that time, San Fernando was known as the Isla de Leon and it is known that the first isleño flamenco singer juan de Dios was born in the town in 1809 later in 1831 he would perform with other well known flamenco artists, including el Planeta and El Fillo. Although no records exist to support the presumption there seems little doubt that the deeply rooted flamenco tradition in San Fernando goes back much further.

The history of the style of flamenco singing in San Fernando is similarly well documented from roughly the same time. The gypsy singer Maria Fernandez known as Maria Borrico was the first in a family dynasty of outstanding flamenco performers including el Borrico el Viejo de la isla and la Bizca, whose reputation for singing seguriyas was renowned. Their highly distinctive renditions spawned many and varying interpretations from numerous other local flamenco singers in subsequent generations. The Fernandez family were famed for the purity of their style of singing which retained the fullest force of its expression even in the shortest songs. This type of seguiriya was referred to as cante corto de la isla.

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