Emilio Caracafé

The Flamenco Guitar Concerts at Casa Museo Don Bosco are performed by “Emilio Carafé”. A self-taught guitarist of renowned prestige, nationally and internationally. An exceptional musician who wholeheartedly loves his homeland, Andalucía, and the Art of Flamenco. He is also musical director and board-member of the foundation “Alalá“.

Early Life

Emilio Fernández de los Santos (stage name “Emilio Caracafé) was born in Huelva on 7 May 1960. He grew up in Seville, in the neighbourhood “Tres Mil Viviendas”, one of the centres of population with the highest poverty rate in Spain. Emilio is of Gypsy origin and one of more than 10 siblings. In the home of the large family, “flamenco” was always very present. There was a lot of artistry, partying and liveliness. That is where Emilio’s love of music began. As a child, he was captivated listening to “Paco de Lucía” and “Camarón de la Isla” and dreamed of becoming an artist himself. For a long time he insisted that he wanted a guitar and eventually he convinced his father to buy one for him.

Emilio auditioned to study at the conservatory and got into the superior degree of music. However, due to circumstances, he was unable to continue with the course and therefore he started training on his own. He had no teachers or tutors, but he did have examples of flamenco artists in the street. Moreover, for years he went to the taverns and bars of Seville, Huelva and Cádiz with his brother, who was a flamenco singer. During this time Emilio saw many guitarists, whom he listened to and observed intensely. He imitated their techniques and practised with all of his effort and discipline. Gradually, Emilio developed his unique way of playing and found his musical personality.

Career

At the age of 18/19, Emilio started recording in studios and performing concerts. He collaborated closely with Rafael and Raimundo Amador of the group “Pata Negra” and toured with them lots of times.

Throughout his professional career Emilio has worked with Camarón, Niña Pastori, Manuel Molina, Manzanita, Pepe de Lucía, Juana La del Revuelo, Paco Ortega, Israel Galván and Mariana Heredia amongst others.

Apart from the great artists of the Spanish flamenco scene, Emilio has also shared the stage with musicians of other styles and has performed in theaters in many countries.

Furthermore, as a composer he recorded 3 soundtracks for the films “Pleno al quince” (1999), “Sobreviviré” (1999) and “Báilame el agua” (2000). He has also appeared as actor/musician in “Vengo” (2000) and in the documentaries “Polígono Sur” (2003) and “Alalá” (2016).

Recent Years

For the last 10 years, Emilio has mainly been dedicated to teaching children and teenagers in his neighbourhood (the “Tres Mil Viviendas” in Seville). He decided to help young people by offering them musical training and thus give them more opportunities for the future.

The project soon received social support and in 2014 a foundation was created with the name “Alalá“, meaning “joy” in Caló (Spanish Romani). Emilio is on the board and he is the musical director of the school of art and culture. In addition to offering singing, guitar, dance and percussion lessons, the foundation focusses on human values and social integration.

The 2016 documentary “Alalá” shows how the foundation uses the power of flamenco for transformation. The documentary is available on Netflix and GuideDoc with English subtitles.