Ray Heredia

The gypsy prince

his extravagant style and the genius of his compositions make him an essential reference in gypsy music.

RAY HEREDIA was one of the most talented composers in Spain. Also on an aesthetic level he has left a very big mark and broke the mold. He dressed like a gypsy prince. As a singer-songwriter edit only one album “Who doesn’t run flies” in 1991 and died days after the album was released. His songs endure over time and every day it is clear that he was a genius with pioneering songs that will never go out of style. Ray Heredia barely had time to leave behind a work that is as scarce in songs as it is immense in value and repercussion.


An extravagant style

His name was actually José Heredia Bermúdez. His mother was a gypsy from Barcelona and his father was the Alicante-born bailaor Josele Heredia. “But he was already born in Madrid,” explains his daughter Triana, “We lived in the Rastro neighborhood.” With Sorderita and Juan Carmona he founded the group Ketama, whose debut Cardalda also produced and after which he decided to launch his own career within the same crucial record label, Nuevos Medios. It is not an exaggeration to also claim a place for him in that imaginary pantheon that houses the memory of figures such as Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. He is the prince of the movement baptized as ‘new flamenco’. Gypsy genius always with one foot in pop music. As an irony of fate, his only masterful album was titled ‘Who doesn’t run, fly’.

Founding member of the group Ketama, in this group he is a singer and guitarist, in addition to being in charge of percussion and composing many of the songs. Due to his ability to play practically any instrument, he was known by the nickname “El Prince Español”. After participating in Ketama’s first album, titled Ketama (1985), Heredia left the band to start his solo career. in 1991, with the album Who doesn’t run, fly. The album was published the previous month, on June 6, 1991. Heredia died a few days later, on July 17, 1991.

Ray Heredia, in 2021 it will be thirty years since his premature death, just one month after he released his first (and only) solo album. His great anthem, almost a farewell song, What will be inside of me, Heredia sings and wonders over and over again between claps in what should have been a hit, but today it is still just a classic for connoisseurs, despite the tribute albums, with versions by Alejandro Sanz or Andrés Calamaro. For the new flamencos in Madrid, Ray was their tragic star, their Jimi Hendrix, their offering to the 27-year-old club. “Young gypsies who want to be Prince”, that very Madrid rock and with Flemish roots.

Ray Heredia invites us to continue searching and searching for that Joy of Living to which we can at least sing, thanks to the son of bailaor Josele, a unique artist who left behind just one album before leaving. Who does not run, flies, is the name of that debut and farewell. It will have been a matter of flying, then.


All the hits of Ray Heredia


Listen to some of their hits