Rosario Flores is a Spanish singer who blends traditional music, such as flamenco and gypsy tunes, with a variety of pop influences. She has appeared in numerous Spanish television shows and films, as well as the internationally successful film Talk to Her, directed by Pedro Almodovar. Her album Muchas Flores won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album in 2002.
Born on November 4, 1963, in Madrid, Spain, Rosario was the youngest member of a highly musical family. Both of her parents were famed and influential musicians and her siblings, Antonio and Lolita, also pursued musical careers. Her mother, Lola Flores, grew up in a poor family in Jerez de la Frontera; as a child, she often earned pocket money by singing in local bars. By the age of 15, Lola was appearing on a variety show, Mary Paz, and two years later she convinced her father to sell the family’s bar and move to Madrid so she could pursue a singing career. This launched her into a lifetime of singing, during which she produced about 50 records and became a legendary and charismatic figure in Spain. She was called “la Faraona,” the “Queen of Flamenco,” and was known for her extravagantly feminine persona. Rosario’s father was Antonio “el Pescailla” Gonzalez, a well-known Spanish guitarist who is credited with creating Catalan rumba-pop, a genre made internationally popular by the French group the Gypsy Kings.
As Rosario’s official website notes, everyone in her family “learned to dance before they could walk and to sing before learning to speak.” As a child, she accompanied her parents to musical gatherings, hearing gypsy songs and flamenco guitar from her earliest years. When she was five, she appeared in a Spanish television series, El taxi de los conflictos, and from 1980 onward, she appeared in many more television series and films in Spain. The most notable of these were Eloy de la Iglesia’s Colegas (1980), Francisco Regueiro’s Diario de invierno (1988), and Felix Rota-eta’s Chatarra (1991).
In the early 1990s, Rosario decided to concentrate on a singing career, and began recording in 1992. Her first three albums sold over a million copies in Spain alone. Her music blends the traditional sounds of her heritage, gypsy and flamenco music, with, as her website notes, “her favorite music: Lenny Kravitz, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Eagles, Prince, Carole King, etc…. [She combines tradition with] the blues, the soul, the bossa nova, the funky, the salsa and the current pop music.” In the Houston Chronicle, Ramiro Burr wrote, “Rosario possesses one of Latin music’s most distinctive voices, a plaintive, almost childlike alto that occasionally recalls Carole King.”
In 1995 Flores’s mother died of cancer. Mourners crowded the streets of Madrid, waiting for her coffin to pass in procession, singing her favorite song, “La Zarzamora.” Flores’s brother, Antonio, was very close to her and was devastated by her death. He had been troubled by drug addiction for several years and died soon afterward from an overdose. Before his death, he had been considered “the poet of the family,” according to Rosario’s website, as well as Rosario’s “twin soul.” These two losses colored Rosario’s next work, Jugar a la Locura, which was released in 1999. The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award.
In 2002 Flores appeared in the Sony Pictures Classics film Talk to Her, directed by Pedro Almodovar. She played Lydia, a bullfighter who is having trouble with her boyfriend, and who turns to an Argentine journalist, Marco, for solace. In Daily Variety, Jonathan Holland wrote that Flores’s “rough-hewn features ooze charisma.”
In the film’s production notes, posted on the WBLI website, Almodovar described why he chose Rosario for this role: “In Rosario I looked for strength of character and those sad, innocent eyes which go so well with a character defeated by abandonment. I also looked for and found a body which was both athletic and feminine. Dressed in the revealing bullfighter’s breeches, Rosario looks like a bullfighter in the style of Manolete. And poured into a design by Dolce and Gabbana, she is a stunning woman. Of all the female artists I know, Rosario is the only one who, dressed like a bullfighter, looks like a bullfighter. Even the hat suits her.” He also commented, “She has given Lydia’s character authenticity, naturalness and a style which will
Born Rosario Flores on November 4, 1963, in Madrid, Spain; daughter of Lola Flores (born Maria de los Delores Flores Ruiz; a singer) and Antonio “el Pescailla” Gonzalez (a guitar player).
Appeared in numerous films and television series, 1969–; began singing career, 1992; released De ley, 1992; Siento, 1994; Mucho por vivir, 1996; Jugar a la locura, 1999; Como quieres que te quiera, 2001; and Muchas Flores, 2002.
Awards: Latin Grammy Award, Best Female Pop Vocal Album for Muchas Flores, 2002.
Addresses: Record company —BMG Ariola Studios, Steinhauser Strasse 1-3, 81677 Munich, Germany. Website—Rosario Official Website: http://www.rosario-flores.com.
undoubtedly be more appreciated by those who don’t know her.”
In that same year, Rosario released another recording, Muchas Flores. The album included eleven tracks, blending rock and Latin music. She named the album for her mother, celebrating her famous heritage and her mother’s influence. Rosario wrote or cowrote six of the songs on the disc, including the romantic samba “Como quieres que te quiera” and the tropical ballad “Buscame,” in which she serenades a lover. The album also features notable guest musicians, including Raimundo Amador playing gypsy guitar, the Carmona brothers on guitars and palmas, Diego Carrasco on vocals and palmas, and flamenco guitarist Juan Maya. Although the album received a lukewarm review from All Music Guide’s Chris Nickson, who called it “relatively straightforward Latin pop” and “pleasant enough, but without too many sparks flying,” Muchas Flores won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album in 2002.
Rosario planned to do an American tour if Muchas Flores sold well in the United States. She told Ramiro Burr in the Houston Chronicle, “Rootsy, cultivated music is harder to market, but we’re trying to bring it to the whole world.” Of her singing career, Rosario told Burr that she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. She commented, “It’s easy for me because I feel like I was born to do it.”
De ley, Sony, 1992.
Seinto, Sony, 1992.
Mucho por vivir, Sony, 1996.
Jugar a la locura, Sony, 1999.
Como quieres que te quiera, Sony, 2001.
Muchas Flores, BMG/Ariola, 2002.
Daily Variety, March 20, 2002, p. 12.
Houston Chronicle, July 12, 2002.
“Lola Flores: People of Anadlucia,” Andalucia.com, http://www.andalucia.com/history/people/lolaflores.htm (March 27, 2003).
“Movie Production Notes: Talk to Her,” WBLI, http://www.wbli.com/common/movies/notes/32096-i.html (April 3, 2003).
“Rosario,” All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (July 2, 2003).
“Rosario Flores,” Filmbug, http://www.filmbug.com/db/342918 (March 27, 2003).
Rosario Flores Official Website, http://www.rosario-flores.com (March 27, 2003).
ROSARIO , second-largest city in Argentina, comprises the second-largest Jewish community in the country: according to data of Vaad Hakehilot, there were some 1,600 Jewish families out of a total population of about 1,012,000 (2000). The first Jewish families settled in Rosario in 1887. Several years later their number was increased by the arrival of immigrants who had failed to adapt to the conditions in the Jewish agricultural settlement Moiseville, as well as by new immigrants, both Ashkenazim and Sephardim. A group of 28 persons established the Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia on Sept. 6, 1903, to attend to religious and welfare needs. Acquiring the first Jewish cemetery in 1909, the Asociación Israelita gradually became the central organization for both Ashkenazim and Sephardim in Rosario. In 1909 the total number of Jews in Rosario was 3,059. By that time the community already had a Zionist center (founded 1904) as well as a Talmud Torah which served as the foundation for the large Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik School. Both the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim established their own synagogues apart from the one belonging to the Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia. A socialist workers' organization, founded in 1909, opened the Yiddishe Arbeter Bibliotek in the same year. In 1919, during the pogroms in *Buenos Aires (the "Tragic Week," January 7–13; see also *Argentina), the Jews in Rosario were identified with "Russians" and "Bolsheviks," and popular incitement against them reached such intensity that only the timely intervention of the authorities averted serious damage and disorder.
Between the two world wars, Rosario's Jewish community increased in number; in 1943 its population was estimated at 10,000. As a consequence of this growth, new community organizations were formed and the older ones were enlarged; the Po'alei Zion party was founded (1919), as were wizo (1926) and committees for Keren Hayesod and the Jewish National Fund, while the Zionist movement grew more influential. Welfare organizations and activities also became more diversified. The first women's welfare organization, founded in 1909, was augmented by Hakhnasat Orḥim and Bikkur Ḥolim, which assisted poor immigrants and organized medical services for the needy. In 1924 the library maintained by the left-wing workers, whose organization had become communist, was supplemented by the facilities of the Ateneo Juventud Israelita, an organization for Spanish-speaking youth, and by the athletic facilities of the Maccabi sports club. As a result of Aaron Schallman's initiative, the Yiddish weekly Rosarier Lebn began publication in 1924, and it continued to be published in Spanish and Yiddish at least until 1968. It was the only Jewish newspaper in all the cities of the Argentine interior which was published periodically.
During the inter-war period, the Jews were engaged principally as peddlers and businessmen. The Jewish community's tendency toward cooperative organization created important financial institutions, some of them continued to function until the end of 20th century, including the Banco Cooperativo (founded 1926); the Cooperativa Mutual Fraternal (founded 1927), a business cooperative for peddlers; and the Banco Comercial Israelita (founded 1921), which was owned by central community institutions and has become an authorized bank. Amid this institutional diversity, the Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia continued to serve as the central Jewish organization. Although the Sephardim established separately such communal institutions as Eẓ Ḥayyim (1916), for Spanish-speaking Jews from Turkey; Shevet Aḥim (1924), for Syrian Jews; and the Confraternidad Israelita Latina (1924), for Moroccan immigrants, they continued to share the cemetery and the educational facilities with the Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Asociación expanded, built a large central building, and developed communal services with special emphasis on education, but refused to support leftist, anti-religious schools.
In 1971 the Asociación comprised 2,585 families of which only 168 were Sephardim. Its building houses both a large synagogue and the Bialik School. The latter contains a preschool class, a kindergarten, an elementary school, and a secondary school offering both the general curriculum and Hebrew courses. As part of its cultural program, the Asociación maintains a full schedule of conferences, concerts, plays, and celebrations of Jewish holidays. In addition, it supports the activities of youth groups, administers the cemetery, and takes part in such community matters as the fight against antisemitism. Like the kehillah in Buenos Aires (*amia), but on a much more modest scale, the Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia serves as the central organization of the Jews of Rosario. Nevertheless, there are various other social-cultural organizations such as the Círculo Sefaradí, Hebraica, political organizations, youth movements, and welfare organizations. Social life is also enriched by the Aḥad Ha-Am Library and the Sociedad Hebraica. Many Jewish students attend the Universidad Nacional del Litoral, whose main faculties are located in Rosario.
Jewish Colonization Association, Rapport (1909); Boletín de la Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia, no. 49 (1966); Idishe Tzaytung Spetsyeler Khanukas ha-Bayit (Apr. 1928). website: http://www.kehilarosario.com.ar
Rosario, fourth-largest city of Argentina (906,004 as of 2001 census), located on the bank of the Paraná River, 190 miles upstream from Buenos Aires. It has been the major city of the province of Santa Fe since 1852. Established in 1689 by Luis Romero de Pineda as a fortification against the Indians, it was no more than a port of export for mules and tobacco in colonial times. During the struggle for independence and the wars fought in its aftermath, Rosario was severely affected by the strife between federalists and unitarians. Although it was almost totally destroyed in 1829 by gunboats from Buenos Aires, Rosario opposed the rule of Manuel de Rosas and sent troops to battle the dictator at Caseros (1852). During the presidency of Bartolomé Mitre, the Central Railroad was built between Rosario and Có rdoba, which along with fluvial navigation facilitated the migration of many foreign immigrants from Buenos Aires to Rosario. The city rapidly developed as an exporter of grain and beef, and metal industries, breweries, grain mills, leather-processing establishments, textile industries, and chemical works widened the industrial base of the city. In 1919 the National University of the Littoral was founded there.
The city of Rosario expands along the western bank of the river for nearly 25 miles and reaches its greatest extension at the intersection of the highway (connecting Buenos Aires and Córdoba with that leading to Santa Fe). Railway lines of the Bartolomé Mitre system secure communications with Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and Córdoba, making Rosario not only a fluvial center but also a hub of overland communications. The Fisherton airport has several daily flights to Buenos Aires and to Posadas, Corrientes, and Resistencia.
See alsoArgentina, Geography .
Consejo Municipal, Rosario: Esa ciudad. Rosario: Editorial Biblioteca, 1970.
María M. Enríquez, El puerto de Rosario. Buenos Aires: Imprenta de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, 1979.
Dalla Corte, Gabriela; Piacenza, Paola. A las puertas del Hogar: Madres, niños, y damas de Caridad en el hogar del huérfano de Rosario, 1870–1920. Rosario: Prehistoria ediciones, 2006.
Karush, Matthew B. Workers or Citizens: Democracy and Identity in Rosario, Argentina (1912–1930.) Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2002.
CÉsar N. Caviedes