“The guitar and singing have to maintain a dialogue.”
Manuel Serrapí Sánchez was born in Sevilla on July 11, 1904. He inherited his stage name, Niño Ricardo from his father Ricardo Serrapí Torres, also a guitarist and responsible for bringing his son into the world of guitar and the flamenco culture. As it were, the protégé would surpass his teacher by a long shot, developing a unique style that would later greatly influence a multitude of artists that followed. When he was only 14, he had his debut at Javier Molina’s flamenco tablao. On his grave, at the San Fernando cemetery in Seville, a monument of an angel raising a guitar towards heavens can be seen.
Niño Ricardo is hands down one of the most important artists of the genre because of his strength, personality, his impeccable work and showmanship. All this lead to the formation of a ‘school’ of sorts that defined certain lines within flamenco that would later nurture great guitar players such as Paco de Lucía.
Ever since he arrived to Madrid, guided by his passion for the flamenco guitar, Niño Ricardo embarked on a great friendship with Faustino and Mariano Conde who built many guitars for him. He was always faithful to the sound of our guitars and played on different guitars that marked each epoch of our history beginning with the Viuda y Sobrinos de Esteso era of the 1940’s and the 1950’s.
The guitar that was dearest to him was one from the Conde Hermanos era which had an especially designed headstock, now lost to history. Niño Ricardo had many concert and studio guitars alike. He especially liked a certain studio guitar equivalent to today’s FP14 which he valued not for its category, but for its playability and sound quality.