Flamenco is classical & gypsy folk music from Andalusia, Spain. The genre’s acknowledged master & most creative innovator was Carlos Montoya (1903-1993). Montoya had parents who came from gypsy parents, making him “gypsy on all four sides” as the saying goes. He always insisted that was required in order to play in true flamenco style.
The goal of life is to create yourself a soul. –Alejandro Jodorowsky
Carlos Montoya was a prodigy from the start, then was disowned by purists who claimed he broke too many rules. Montoya mesmerizes in his speed, precision & dexterity. He did it with ease, and lasted forever. He played a sold-out Carnegie Hall on his 80th birthday, and his last public performance was at age 85. Here’s a final brief interview, describing himself & his life:
Eddie Van Halen is rock music’s hailed guitar master, and he acknowledges Carlos Montoya as “an inspiration & genius.” 
Montoya was unpopular among aficionados because he abandoned the compás (strict time signatures) which had evolved within flamenco over hundreds of years. Montoya typically does not keep perfect tempo, but speeds up & slows down on feel. The speed & precision of his picados is breathtaking & hypnotic, and his pace & stamina are superhuman. This is All-Universe on guitar:
For non-musicians information, it’s much harder to perform acoustically. Electronic amplification, sound processing & effects are all modern advents, which have made recording & live performance much easier for musicians. That’s why everyone uses it. Carlos Montoya plays under the strictest restrictions, performing with an unplugged acoustic guitar.
He creates the sound of at least two guitarists at most times and will often accent that with rhythmic tapping of his fingers, palms & heel stomps. That’s three musicians in one. No one else has ever approached that level of guitar mastery.
The first Carlos Montoya album to discover is Flamenco Fire (1958), probably the greatest post-war record of the genre. This is flamenco in its pure gypsy essence, with half of the eight songs played solo, and the other four accompanied by Tere Maya on vocals, heels, hand-claps & castanets.
No photos are to be found on the Internet of this gypsy woman, who was an artistic equal to the flamenco guitar master.
Malaguena (1961) is a concert recorded in NYC. Listeners are flabbergasted during every performance, only to erupt into uncontrolled applause immediately after. Wait in vain for the flubbed note or missed string during every difficult run, strum or transition– IT NEVER HAPPENS.
From St. Louis to Seville (1959) is an amusing record, in that it is a really bad idea to have any other guitar player with Carlos Montoya. As discussed above, Montoya sounds like a band all by himself, and there is simply no need for another (clearly inferior) guitar player cluttering up space which Montoya can use more creatively & effectively.
Whomever the ‘other guitarist’ is, he gets schooled early and after about two minutes of trying (hopelessly) to keep up, resigns himself to the background for most of the rest. In the middle of side two, Montoya starts a song and the drummer starts in with a bass beat, which quickly is cut-off, as Montoya starts with his percussive tapping & footwork. This automatically keeps the bass & ‘other guitar’ out, and it becomes the most amazing song on the album.
Hey Ric Size, wanna perform with Carlos Montoya?
NO! I just wanna watch & listen.