Text: Estela Zatania
MANUEL MAIRENA (1934-2013)
The youngest member of the flamenco cante dynasty of Mairena, Manuel Cruz García, has passed away in Seville at the age of 78.
Despite living under the shadow of his illustrious brother, Antonio Mairena, winner of the Llave de Oro del Cante 1962, and of the eldest brother of the three, Curro, an admirable singer, Manuel was known by flamenco fans as a specialist in the so-called basic forms: soleá, siguiriya and tonás, in addition to being an accomplished singer of saetas, a form he recorded in an anthology of fifteen saetas.
Manuel was the recipient of important honors and prizes such as the Joaquín de la Paula prize of Córdoba, la Saeta de Oro of Radio Nacional and in 1984, the prestigious distinction “Compás del Cante”. The thirteenth Potaje Gitano de Utrera held in 1969 was dedicated to him.
Although the three Mairena brothers left no singers in the family, the influence of what has come to be known as “Mairenism”, changed the history of flamenco singing forever. Manuel followed the example of Antonio in his unfailing dignity, and his interest in the preservation of traditional forms. It is a heritage which will not be lost because it has left a profound mark on a great many of today’s singers.
Manolo Mairena made several solo recordings in addition to participating in anthologies.