There is no doubt that García Lorca (1898-1936), among the so-called 'cultured poets', is the one who has had the strongest link with flamenco. His interest was so great that he dedicated his volume Poema del cante jondo ( 1921) to this art form, in which he captures the feeling of seguiriyas, soleares, saetas and peteneras, all of which are musical and literary genres of flamenco.
In Romancero gitano ( 1928), although there are no direct references to flamenco, Lorca is inspired by the 'jondo' and the gypsy.
Such was his involvement that Federico García Lorca organised two conferences, Importancia histórica y artística del primitivo canto andaluz, llamado cante jondo (1922) and Juego y teoría del duende (1933), through which he developed his own aesthetic belief in the 'jondo'.
As a consequence of this link between the Granaíno poet and the 'jondo', the world of flamenco has always been attracted to Lorca's texts. This interest was born with the recording of popular songs by 'La Argentinita' with Federico himself, some of which were later adapted by Pepe Marchena or 'La Niña de los Peines'. But the artists who have drawn most from Lorca's source are undoubtedly Enrique Morente and Camarón de la Isla.
Camarón adapts several poems by Lorca in La leyenda del tiempo: Mi niña se fue a la mar, Romance del Amargo, Homenaje a Federico, Nana del caballo grande and the title track. Following the trend, Soy Gitano includes Romance de Thamar y Amnón, Casida de las palomas oscuras and a new version of Nana del caballo grande. In Calle Real he adapts Romance de la luna, luna.
Enrique Morente, back in 1972, adapted fragments of Doña rosita la Soltera into tangos in his work El lenguaje de las flores. Later, in Omega and Lorca, he adapted texts from Poeta en Nueva York. Por bulerías, in Negra, si tú supieras, and so on and so forth. Morente became a great genius and renovator of cante jondo.
From a very early age, Lorca was linked to flamenco. At his home in Fuente Vaqueros, Granada, he listened to the singing and foot tapping of the "jondo" art. His grandfather Baldomero García, a great flamenco enthusiast, was a keen flamenco fan, and he began to sing jabeas, a palo related to the malagueñas, as well as popular Andalusian songs.
Federico's musical training began at the hands of his mother and his aunt Isabel, who had great musical talent: she sang, accompanied by the guitar with great intonation and a delicate voice.
In the Vega Granaína, Lorca learnt popular songs related to agricultural work and country festivals, and from the nannies he learnt lullabies and other popular music. This awakened in the young Federico a great interest in the musical culture of the time, and popular music became a determining factor in the poet's work. Federico García Lorca took the popular as his essence and magnified it through his own artistic creation. The beginnings of Lorca' s relationship with flamenco and popular songs leave their mark in poems that would later be used in Poema del Cante Jondo and Romancero Gitano.
In 1909, Federico began his musical training with the professional pianist and organist Eduardo Orense. Later, he became friends with Manuel de Falla, who settled in Granada in love with the romanticism of the city and the Alhambra. Falla was researching the Spanish musical tradition, adapting it and introducing it into his work, as in Amor brujo. At the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, where he studied law, he met personalities from the cultural world of the time such as Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, Pedro Salinas and Maruja Mallo.
But, without a doubt, his greatest research work came from the hand of Ramón Menéndez Pidal. In 1920, he arrived in Granada and initiated Federico into taking notes on the oral romances that were still alive among the city's gypsies. This contact with the gypsies of the San Cristóbal and Albaicín neighbourhoods of Granada led Loca to take an interest in cante jondo and to begin his own research into this art form, which led him to write Poema del cante jondo (Poem of cante jondo).
It was on a trip with Manuel de Falla to Seville and Cádiz that Lorca met Pastora Pavón and Manuel Torre, and from there came the idea of organising the Concurso de cante jondo de Granada, although they later realised that the Sacromonte of Granada was not the birthplace of 'cante jondo', nor was there much enthusiasm for it.
In short, Lorca' s interest in flamenco throughout his life led him to draw inspiration from this art form, just as various artists of song and dance have been inspired by this poet in the creation of their work.