We have already learned that Granada is a city steeped in rich history and one that has often taken centre stage in conflicts since the eighth century, but did you know Granada is also a city to have spawned many great artists across many fields? Granada’s incomparable location has always attracted painters, poets and writers from all corners of the globe and has even been the birthplace of some extremely talented individuals throughout time.
One of Granada’s most famous sons was Alonzo Cano who lived from 1601 to 1661. Cano has a flair for sculpting, painting and was renowned for his architecture work. Perhaps his finest work was the façade of Granada’s cathedral. Cano was commissioned with this in 1652, although his design was not erected until after his death.The Museum of Fine Arts in Granada houses some of Cano’s finest work, but you will have to travel to Seville to see what is regarded as his most important sculpture, “Madonna and the Child,” as it resides in the church of Lebrija there.
Federico Garcia Lorca was born a few kilometres outside Granada in 1898 and moved to the Granada capital when he was 11-years-old. Lorca was an amazing poet who began taking his writing seriously after meeting world famous artist Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel at the University of Madrid when Lorca was aged 20. Lorca released a book of poems in 1928 called “The Gypsy Ballads” and it brought him fame all over Spain. Sadly, Lorca was murdered in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. Folklore states Lorca died somewhere near Granada, although his body and grave have never been found.
A more recent Granada artist only died in 2010. Enrique Morente, born in 1942, was a flamenco singer. Morente was born in the Arabic quarter of Granada, which is an area steeped in flamenco tradition. In the 1960s and 1970s, Morente released his first recordings and as they adhered to the traditional forms of flamenco, they were widely praised. Later in his career, however, Morente began experimenting with flamenco, much to the dismay of purists. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a 1996 record called “Omega” that was made in collaboration with an alternative rock band called Lagartija. This somewhat tarnished Morente’s reputation, yet he is still revered in Granada.
Morente had a daughter, Estrella Morente, in 1980 and she has followed in her father’s footsteps in regards to flamenco. Estrella Morente released her first album, “Mi cante y un poema” in 2001 and was married to Javier Conde, a high-profile bullfighter.
It is a little known fact that Estrella was the signing voice for Penelope Cruz in the 2006 film “Volver.”
Finally, a mention of David “EL Fandi” Fandila, a now 37-year-old bullfighter who is consistently ranked as one of Spain’s best. Whenever Fandila performs, he draws huge crowds. Fandila became Spain’s number one matador in 2005 when he performed in more than 100 bullfights in a single season. His achievements were captured by Nina Seavey and Stephen Higgins in a filmed entitled “The Matador.”
Fandila’s first fight saw him perform with a broken elbow and since then he has earned a reputation as a visual performer with the brightly colored barbed sticks, known as banderillas, during the second stage of a bullfight.