Lucía Álvarez Vela is the 3rd generation of a saga of castanet makers. Her grandfather, Manuel Vela Martínez “Filigrana”, invented the fibres for castanets. He was given the nickname shortly after discovering the use of fibre for the manufacture of castanets and these were known as the “Filigrana” castanets. By adapting the fibre to the castanet, “Filigrana” revolutionised the instrument by making the sound of the stick much louder and increasing its resistance.
Nowadays, in the workshop run by Lucía Álvarez Vela, it is possible to buy her products, the famous Filigrana castanets, and learn how to use them. In addition, in the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (Museum of Popular Arts and Customs) of Seville, there is a space where the old Filigrana workshop is located. On the walls you can see photographs of “La Chunga”, Carlitos Fernández Villarín, Luisillo, Juanita Reina, Caracolillo, Manuel Vargas, Merche Esmeralda, Pilar López, Lola Flores, Marienma, Gitanillo de Bronce, Juanita Reina, Rafael “El Negro”.
Thanks to “Filigrana” the castanet made great technical progress and has been used by the great masters of Spanish music.