Manitas de Plata
He was born in a Gypsy (Gitano) caravan in Sète in southern France. He became famous by playing each year at the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Gypsy pilgrimage in Camargue, where he was recorded live by Deben Bhattacharya. Manitas de Plata only agreed to play in public ten years after the death of Django Reinhardt, unanimously considered the king of gypsy guitarists. One of his recordings earned him a letter by Jean Cocteau acclaiming him as a creator.
Manitas de Plata became really famous only after a photography exhibition in New York, organized by his friend Lucien Clergue. He had recorded his first official album in the chapel of Arles in France, in 1963, for the Phillips label. It was also later re-released, in 1967, by the Connoisseur Society Label and sold through the Book of the Month Club. This was a popular LP that brought him to the attention of an American audience. An American manager obtained a booking for him to play a concert in Carnegie Hall in New York in December 1965.
Despite the fact that Manitas de Plata was famous, he was also known for disrespecting certain rhythmic rules (compás) that are traditional in flamenco.
Manitas de Plata is the father of Jacques, Maurice, and Tonino Baliardo and uncle to Paul, François (Canut), Patchaï, Nicolas and André Reyes (the sons of renowned flamenco artist Jose Reyes), all members of the world-famous Rumba Flamenca musicians, Gipsy Kings. Australian multi-instrumentalist Chris Freeman, his student in 1971, acknowledged de Plata's influence and teachings.
- Juerga! (1963, Philips, 844 535 PY) (re-released by Connoisseur Society in 1967 as CS2003)
- Flamenco Guitar (1965)
- Flamenco Guitar
- Manitas de Plata - The world's greatest living flamenco artist (1966, Phillips, BL 7787)
- Manitas de Plata et les siens (1967, Columbia Records, FL 363)
- The Art of the Guitar (1968, Everest Records, SDBR 3201)
- La guitare d'or de Manitas (1970, Columbia Records, S 63915)
- Et Ses Guitares Gitanes (1972, CBS, S65020)
- Excitement of Manitas De Plata (1973, RCA Camden, CDS 1139)
- Hommages (1973, Embassy Records, S EMB 31003)
- Soleil des Saintes-Maries (1978)
- Feria Gitane (1994)
- Olé (1994)
- Manitas de Plata at Carnegie Hall (1995)
- Flaming Flamenco (1997)
- Manitas de Plata (1998)
- Camargue de Manitas (1999)
- Guitare D'Or Manitas de Plata (1999)
- Flores de mi corazon (1999, Troubadour Records)
- Guitarra Flamenco (2001)
- Manitas de Plata y los Plateros (2004)
Note: Juerga! was recorded in Arles, France, in October 1963, and featured Jose Reyes and Manero Ballardo, and the gypsies of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. Producer E. Alan Silver; recording Engineer David B. Jones. A Connoisseur Society Recording.