Antonio Nuñez Montoya was born in Jerez de la Frontera in 1931 and as his surname suggests he is related to the great Montoya clan through his mothers side of the family. He was the brother-in-law of the dancer El Farruco and great uncle to Farrucuito.
As a child he went to live in Seville and spent his early days in the Alemeda de Hercules district listening to the flamenco of Tomas Pavon and Manolo Caracol, a man he openly admired.
He appeared in the film Los Tarantos along side the great Carmen Amaya and recorded with such respected guitarists as Niño Ricardo and Melchor de Marchena.
El Chocolate, so called because of his dark gypsy complexion, sang at the ceremony in Cordoba in 1962 when Antonio Mairena was awarded the third golden key of flamenco.
El Chocolate was a singer who preferred the more orthodox styles of the gypsy songs and was at his very best with the siguiriyas, soleares and toñas. He was also a master of the styles of taranto’s made famous by Manuel Torre, another singer that El Chocolate took his inspiration from.
El Chocolate also left an ever lasting impression on the fandangos, which he called the “Carnations of Andalucía”
He had a starry career and worked with some of the biggest names in the world of flamenco, but he was a man who lived for the passionate belief of his peoples music and not the razzmatazz that now goes hand in hand with many singers of his worth.
He was also a much revered singer on the festival circuit appearing at most of the festivals through out his long and dedicated career.
He also appeared along side El Farruco and other family members in the 1995 film Flamenco, which was directed by Carlos Saura.
He was a gentleman singer who was never interested in the commercial world of flamenco that many of his contemporaries fell fowl to.
El Choclate was always immaculately dressed in suit and tie, his silvery grey hair shining against his dark chocolate complexion and his ancient mournful voice, like a stone weeping an age old song.
He was awarded the second Giraldillo del Cante award during the bienal de flamenco in 2002 and he was considered one of the pillars of orthodox flamenco singing, a legend in his own time.
He recorded numerous records with some of the flamenco guitar masters, his last recording Mis 70 años con el cante received a Latin Grammy award in 2003
He preserved and added to the legacy passed onto him by the great masters like Manuel Torre and Manolo Caracol and he was one of the last old traditional voices of flamenco.
In July 2005 El Chocolate was due to perform at the 40th Caracol Festival de Flamenco in Lebrija, but he had to cancel due to ailing health; one week later he died of cancer at his home in Seville on 20th July.
Rito y Goegrafia del Cante Vol 11
Mis 70 años con el cante