Although his full name is Diego Ramón Jiménez Salazar, contemporary flamenco enthusiasts know him by the nickname “Diego el Cigala,” which means “the Little Prawn” in Spanish. José Monje Cruz, also known as “Camarón,” gave him the nickname.
El Cigala started singing in flamenco enthusiast clubs in Madrid’s El Rastro district. Later, he was hired to accompany many of Flamenco’s most famous dancers. With the guitarist Antón Jiménez backing him, Diego started his career in 1994. A steady stream of hit albums made him famous in the flamenco community. Also, the 2004 release Lágrimas Negras, with Cuban jazz pianist Bebo Valdés, brought international acclaim. Two years later, his Sony BMG release, Picasso en Mis Ojos, won the 2006 Latin Grammy for Best Flamenco Album. Given the album’s success, his label followed up with the compilation Cigala in 2008.
Dos Lágrimas was issued in 2009 and featured three charting singles: Dos Gardenias, Maria de la O, and Historia de un Amor. The artist, restless as ever, decided to investigate Argentinian Tango next. He traveled to the country and recorded a live concert at the historic Gran Rex in Buenos Aires. Released only in Spain in June 2010, Cigala & Tango sold 74,000 copies in its first week. By October, it achieved gold status. and won the Latin Grammy for best tango album.
El Cigala went on a world tour to promote his album for two years. During this time, he also recorded Romance de La Luna Tucumana in 2013, which blended classic Andalusian song, tango, and rock in an innovative way. The album was recognized with another Latin Grammy award for Best Tango Album.
During his tour, El Cigala performed a live tribute to Paco De Lucia by singing Vuelve el Flamenco. The performance was recorded in Barcelona, and Diego Morao accompanied him on guitar and a cajon. In 2014, Cigala moved to the Dominican Republic, where he continued to tour with Cuban legend Omara Portuondo. Meanwhile, his wife, Amparo Fernandez, was fighting cancer. Sadly, she passed away while Cigala was in Los Angeles. Despite this tragic event, he decided to continue with the concert as a tribute to her. After taking a short break, Cigala returned to the road and recorded an album called Cigala Canta in Mexico. In 2021, he released a new single called Quien Dijo, a collaboration with Jose Aguirre and Cali Big Band.
On Friday, October 13, 2023, Diego El Cigala will perform songs from his album Obras Maestras at Town Hall in NYC. For more information and tickets, visit the event website HERE.