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10 April 1908: Birth of Malaga singer Miguel de Molina

Molina had a unique personality and a voice suited to copla.  SUR
Molina had a unique personality and a voice suited to copla. SUR
  • The controversial singer and actor began working as a cleaner in a brothel and went on to become one of Spain's most celebrated 'copla' singers

Born in Malaga on 10 April 1908, Miguel Frías de Molina, artistically known as Miguel de Molina, was a Spanish 'copla' singer and actor who made his name in the 'tablaos' (flamenco clubs) and theatres of Madrid during the early 1930s. His big break came in 1933, when he participated in a production of El Testamento Gitano alongside Soledad Miralles, a Gypsy dancer who, at that time, was enjoying an intense career on both sides of the Atlantic. However, his career in Spain would come to a grinding halt during the Spanish Civil War, and he was eventually forced into exile in Buenos Aires in 1942.

Miguel de Molina was raised by his mother and four aunts, and from an early age he began to develop homosexual orientation. During his teenage years, Molina moved to Algeciras and began working as a cleaner in a brothel, and later, as a PR for a flamenco tablao. It was at this time that he realised his own artistic potential. The young singer possessed a unique personality and a voice that was perfectly suited to the Spanish 'copla' songs.

Molina headed to Madrid, where he gained a reputation for popularising songs such as La Bien Pagá and Ojos Verdes, the latter being one of the most famous Spanish coplas.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the controversial singer showed an allegiance to the Republicans, which made him a target of the regime. Following his arrest, the singer was imprisoned because of his association with the Loyalists, and for his homosexual tendencies, which he openly flouted. On his release from custody, Molina headed to Argentina, where he became a success of the stage and screen, although his homosexuality would eventually see him banished from the country. He set up home in Mexico, but returned to Argentina after a pardon from Eva Perón, and continued to enjoy a successful career there until he retired in 1960.

Miguel de Molina never returned to live in Spain. He died in Buenos Aires in 1993.