Iconic women in flamenco music

In the past, women did not have it easy in the world of flamenco, as society was sexist and their role was relegated to anonymity in the home when they married. However, throughout history, there have been women in flamenco who have contributed with their legacy, despite all the impediments they have encountered throughout their careers. Among them we find excellent singers, dancers and guitarists. 

The most important female singers of flamenco

There were and still are great singers whose name has been engraved in the history of flamenco forever. 

Carmen Linares

Carmen Pacheco, her real name, is a living legend of flamenco. She was born in 1951 in Linares (Jaén), the town to which she owes her artistic name. She has a powerful and unique voice. His work has been recognised with the 2022 “Princess of Asturias Award” for the Arts. Her anthological album “La mujer en el cante”, published in 1996, stands out for its collection of musical themes with which women have contributed to flamenco singing, leaving an indelible mark. 

La Niña de los Peines

Pastora María Pavón Cruz was born in Seville in 1890 and died in 1969. She is considered one of the most important female flamenco singers of all centuries. She came from a gypsy saga, in which her father and brothers were singers as well. She owes her artistic name to some tangos that she sang regularly, which despite the claims of many record labels, she never recorded. She was known for her tangos, peteneras, soleares and bulerías – a style of songs of flamenco music. She was a very complete Spanish singer who performed with former flamenco artists such as Manuel de Falla, Niño Ricardo, Pepe Marchena and Manolo Caracol. 

Fernanda de Utrera

Fernanda Jiménez Peña, was an Andalusian flamenco singer, born in Utrera (Seville). Her artistic name is Fernanda de Utrera. She came from a gypsy family in which practically all of them were flamenco singers. In 1957, the famous musician Antonio Mairena took Fernanda and her sister Bernarda, also a singer, to Madrid to perform in the best tablaos – music stages – of the time. Fernanda de Utrera is known as one of the best singers of soleares – a style inside of the flamenco genre – in history. 

The best flamenco dancers

In flamenco dancing, the art of women has always stood out. The movement of the hands, the arms and the “zapateao” (footwork) captivated those who contemplated this dance. These are some of the female flamenco dancers who have conquered the stages of Spain and other parts of the world:

Carmen Amaya

Carmen Amaya is one of the most popular names among women in flamenco throughout history. Born in Barcelona in 1918, she was a singer, dancer and actress. She grew up in an old gypsy shanty town in Barcelona, known as Somorrostro. At an early age she would go out with her father to sing and dance in the streets and taverns, begging for money. But her life changed when some years later, she would end up performing at the Teatro Español del Paralelo in Barcelona and at the Palace Theatre in Paris. It was at the latter that Carmen Amaya would make the leap to fame, even acting in films. The particularity of this female artist is that she changed the dance as it was at that time, adding expressive and rhythmic strength with her zapateado – a typical movement of foot in flamenco dancing.

Juana la Macarrona

She was an Andalusian bailaora from Jerez de la Frontera born in 1870 who died in Seville in 1947. An artist of gypsy descent, daughter of Juan de Vargas, a guitarist, and Ramona de las Heras, a singer. She began performing at the age of 8 in a well-known Sevillian café, called La Escalerilla. The fame he achieved in those years led her to work in Malaga and Barcelona. Later she made her debut in Madrid at the Liceu Rius, and even at the Grand Théâtre de l’Exposition Universelle in Paris (1889). After this performance in France, she established herself as a great master of flamenco dancing. 

Sara Baras

Sara Baras is a dancer and choreographer from Cádiz (1971) of great international prestige and with a prolific artistic career. She joined the company of Manuel Morao at the age of 14, the famous flamenco guitarist, and performed at the “Festival de Teatro Flamenco Alhambra 89” in Granada. After this performance he was awarded the first prize “Gente Joven” by TVE – a Spanish TV channel. After that tour he continued with his debut at the Eduard VII Theatre in Paris with the same company. He also performed at the “Expo 92”, in the Auditorio de la Cartuja in Manuel Morao’s show. That same year, at the Town Hall Theatre in New York. He has won numerous awards, including the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts. 


Flamenco dancer and singer born in Buenos Aires in 1898 and passed away in New York in 1945. She was the daughter of a Spanish couple who emigrated to Argentina, and who in 1901 decided to return to Spain, fleeing from a scarlet fever epidemic that took two of their children. Encarnación López, her real name, was introduced to flamenco at the early age of 4. She performed for the first time in public at the Teatro Circo in San Sebastián being just a child of 8 years old. She was a friend of the poet Federico García Lorca and recorded with him five records for gramophone in 1931, which brought together popular songs of the time. In these albums, Federico played the piano. Shortly before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, she left Spain to finally settle in the United States, where she became one of the most important representatives of international dance. 

Women guitarists in flamenco

The Spanish guitar has always seemed to be an instrument exclusively for men. However, there have been women throughout history who have stood out for their virtuosity and talent in this musical discipline. Great unknown to many, but great artists who marked the history of flamenco with their way of playing the guitar. 

Trinidad Huertas “La Cuenca”

Trinidad Huertas was a dancer and guitarist from Malaga (1857-1890) of great international renown. She began her career in the cafés of Malaga, where she was called by her second surname, so as not to be confused with a guitarist from Alicante called also Trinidad Huertas.  “La Cuenca” was different from other artists, even with the way she dressed. The press used to say that she dressed like a man: with a jacket, tight trousers and shirts with frills. She was a revolutionary musician who captivated the world with her flamenco art. She owed much of her fame to the bullfighting pantomimes she performed on stage, which attracted the attention of countries such as France and America.  

Aniya la Gitana

Ana Amaya Molina (1855-1933), known as “Aniya la Gitana” or “Anilla de Ronda”, was a Spanish guitarist and singer of gypsy ethnicity born in Ronda (Málaga). She played the guitar and sang at the same time in her regular performances in the cafés of her homeland. She was such a guitar prodigy that she was asked by Queen Victoria Eugenia to perform at a royal family party. Even the famous poet Federico García Lorca quoted her in his conference “Historical and artistic importance of the primitive Andalusian singing called Cante Jondo”. 

Josefa Moreno “La Antequerana”

Josefa Moreno, known as Pepa “La Antequerana”, was a guitarist and singer born in 1889 in Antequera, a town of Malaga. She sang and played the guitar at the same time in her performances. At a very young age she began to perform in bars in Jerez de la Frontera, Tangiers, Melilla, Malaga, Cordoba and even Madrid. Years later, she burst into the press at the time, and finally made the leap abroad with her performances. His popularity even reached America, debuting in New York, Cuba and Mexico. In the 1960s, despite her fame, she was forced to stop singing due to bronchopneumonia, which forced her to retire from the stage. The exact date of her death is unknown, but it is believed that she passed away in Madrid in the 1960s, where it is said that she used to sing in the streets in exchange for money. Like many other flamenco women artists, she ended her last days in oblivion and poverty.  


These were some of the most famous women of flamenco. Women who have left a legacy in this musical genre so expressive and exciting. Would you add any more artists to the list?