picture of Miguel Ramos
Miguel Ramos
(a.k.a. Virginie Morgan)
Miguel (* around 1910 in Madrid) studied piano with Julia Parodi and José Tragó and in 1915 he already won a first prize at the Madrid Conservatory.
 
In the newspaper "La Voz" of 07 July 1926 we read: "At the Conservatory of Music and Declamation, the first piano prize has been unanimously awarded to the outstanding student Miguel Ramos Echapare, aged sixteen. The exercises were brilliant and received with great applause." A year later he won the first prize for chamber music, also at the Madrid Conservatory. In 1928, referring to some concerts organized by the International Chamber Society, the press highlighted Miguel Ramos above all, for his "extraordinary conditions shown in his interpretations of Falla, Chopin and Debussy", and at that time it is common to find in the press praiseworthy references to their interpretations.
 
But he soon became interested in jazz and light music, an area in which he also immediately began to stand out. He himself published an article defending these styles against the prejudices then existing against them; for him there was only good music, and he said he saw no difference between jazz and classical music.
 
At the beginning of the 1930s he often performed with various groups such as the "Orquesta Humorist-Jazz" and the "Orquesta los Axejos"; he also began to stand out as a composer. With her orchestra "Los Axejos" he accompanied Josephine Baker on her tour of Spain in 1930, and with this popular singer he visited several European countries. This successful career was interrupted by the start of the war in 1936. His European contacts made it easier for him to start a long exile in France, where he should also, like so many Spaniards, endure the difficulties of World War II.
 
But very soon it became a mainstay of radio broadcasts, recordings, jazz sessions and popular music; "Michel Ramos" (Ramitos) appears as a performer, arranger and author in hundreds of performances and recordings, and many musicians of the time active in France, very popular in turn, who mention him with affection and admiration. He composed soundtracks and recorded numerous albums under the name of Michel Ramos, "Le Mag'net Quartet", "Les Careno Cuban Boys" and, demands of record companies, such as "Virginie Morgan" and "Patricia Lamour". At that time, electric organ players were in fashion and a photo of a model sold more than his own; it would take time to discover that the very popular Virginie Morgan was Michel Ramos, and even longer that he was not French, but Spanish.
 
In the mid-1960s he returned to Madrid; when taking charge of Hispavox, Rafael Trabucchelli counted on him as one of his two main arrangers; the other was Waldo de los Ríos. He made numerous arrangements for artists from that great "pop" team (and even taught other musicians to perform such arrangements) and recorded a long series of LPs playing the Hammond organ and leading his orchestra. He was also a frequent conductor at light music festivals and worked as a pianist and organist on countless recordings and on television shows such as "Galas del Sábado", in which he discreetly appears as another musician in the orchestra, before the piano or the organ, normally under the direction of Rafael Ibarbia.
 
He also gave organ recitals (pipes and electric) in various Spanish cities and in Madrid churches; he interpreted, on the organ of the Teatro Real, the Eurovision anthem when the Festival was held in Madrid in 1969. In 1967 he aspired, without success, to the position of pianist of the National Orchestra of Spain.
 
One of his last activities that I have been able to locate took place in 1978; he was in charge of putting music to the play "The Blue Prince", a children's story performed at the Cultural Center of the Villa. He must have died that same year or very shortly after; the great percussionist Enrique Llácer, "Regolí", told me that he had died of a heart attack not long after Waldo de los Ríos committed suicide (1977); but I have not located any mention of his passing. All who knew him and worked with him agreed to point out his great gifts as a musician and as a person, his characteristic humor and his enormous simplicity.
 
© José Miguel Muñoz de la Nava Chacón, art historian. The above article (in Spanish) was released @ https://artedemadrid.wordpress.com
contact:
homepage: virginie-morgand.com

 

Discography
Harmonica Et Orgue
Ducretet Thomson LM 8851
Originally issued in France around 1952
Dany Kane, harmonica
Virginie Morgan, organ
no further details known

 
Sound Samples
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