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Diego el Cigala

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Biography

His full name is Diego Ramón Jiménez Salazar, but to contemporary flamenco fans he's known as Diego el Cigala, or "the Little Prawn." The famous flamenco singer José Monje Cruz gave him the nickname because of Diego's small size and the enormous passion that pours out of him (although, it is also a reference to Cruz's own nickname, "Camarón," which is Spanish for "shrimp"). Singing in flamenco enthusiast clubs in Madrid's Rastro district came first, and then Diego was hired to accompany many of flamenco's most famous dancers. With the guitarist Antón Jiménez backing him, Diego went "in front" — flamenco slang for having your own career — in 1994. A steady stream of hit albums made him famous in the flamenco community, while the 2004 release Lágrimas Negras with Cuban jazz pianist Bebo Valdés brought international acclaim, with both The New York Times and BBC Radio fawning over it. Two years later, his Sony BMG release Picasso en Mis Ojos would win the 2006 Latin Grammy for Best Flamenco Album.

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