Malaga (Spain), Feb 18 (IANS/EFE): Spanish copla singer Marife de Triana died Saturday in the southern province of Andalusia, according to government officials in the Mediterranean town of Torremolinos where she lived. She was 76.
The singer and actress, whose real name was Maria Felisa Martinez Lopez, had been admitted on an unspecified date to the Xanit International Hospital in the nearby town of Benalmadena.
A funeral chapel was installed at Torremolinos' city hall as an official expression of affection and respect for the artist.
Born Sep 13, 1936, in the southern town of Burguillos, Martinez Lopez's family moved to Seville when she was less than one year old and settled in the neighbourhood of Triana, which later became part of her stage name.
She later studied voice in Madrid and began her career at age 11, touring for the first time as a professional in the northwestern province of Galicia at age 12.
Her concert tours also took her to Latin America, where she returned in the final years of her career and was one of the best-known Spanish singers.
Marife de Triana's repertoire included Andalusian coplas - ballads that combined zarzuela, Andalusian folk songs and flamenco, usually with orchestral accompaniment - and numerous songs of South American origin.
She also recorded several ranchera (a folk music of Mexico) albums.
Her debut album in 1956 contained the hit tune "Torre de arena" (Tower of Sand), which remains to this day one of the classics of the copla genre.
A series of hits followed, including "Vendo la sombra", "La loba", and "Maria de la O".
Critics of the time called her the "actress of song" because of her dramatic performances of the numbers she sang, some 400 of which were recorded.
She also appeared in two films of little artistic merit: "Canto para ti", which was shot in 1958 and tells of the rise to fame of a young copla singer; and "Bajo el cielo Andaluz".