Along with its Spanish origins, Gypsy, Byzantine, Sephardic and Moorish elements have often been cited as influences in the development of flamenco. It has frequently been asserted that these influences coalesced near the end of the reconquista, in the 15th century. The origins of the word flamenco are unclear – it was not recorded until the late 18th century.
Carlos Montoya was born in Madrid, Spain, into a Romani family, on December 13, 1903. As the nephew of renowned flamenco guitarist Ramón Montoya he seemed to have been born to play Flamenco, but it was his uncle who would be his biggest obstacle, as he refused to teach Carlos the tricks of the trade. He began studying the guitar with his mother and a neighboring barber, Pepe el Barbero, a.k.a. Pepe the Barber. By the time he was 14 years old he was accompanying dancers and singers in the cafes of Madrid, Spain.