It is my duty to tell you the anecdote of the sardines; you all know that I must talk about it. Carmen Amaya was walking in New York City when she passed before a fish shop where they were selling sardines and bought 2 or 3 kilograms and took them to the presidential suite of the Waldorf Astoria, the best hotel in New York where she was staying. It is said (I want to think that it is not true) that she took a metallic mattress base and used it as a grill breaking a couple of night tables valued at more than 900 euros (they needed some wood to burn) and they roasted the 2-3 kilos of sardines which were delicious in the very same imperial suite of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York! It is said that the entire hotel smelled to sardines and everyone was shocked wondering what was happening there.

She was so great!

I don’t really know if it is true what some biographers say about her, that the president of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, was in love with her. I don’t know. The true is that Roosevelt invited her to perform in a party in the White House, the house in which the power of the world resides. And the gypsy went there. Roosevelt gave a bolero jacket as a present to her with encrusted medallion which she tore apart in 30 pieces and gave one to each member of her company.

It is said that when the president of the United States sent his private plane to pick her up in New York and bring her to Washington she, and all her cousins, parents, uncles…because she always travelled with her family (sometimes they were even forty people) they were afraid to travel by plane. You must think this was in 1941…I wasn’t even born! I was born a little bit later. Well, the gypsies were afraid and her cousins got closer to the plane, touched it and said “this is too soft”. I don’t know what kind of plane Roosevelt sent to Carmen Amaya but the true is that almost all the biographers coincide in saying that in order to get on the plane and go to the White House chloroform had to be used on some of them.

It is not surprising, dear friends, that, after that, the magazine Life, the famous Life whose cover has always been reserved to the most famous artists, scientists, researchers…published a cover in honour to our great Carmen Amaya.

Source 1st Conference “With Carmen Amaya in the Memory” in Tablao Flamenco Cordobes