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Paco de Lucia

Paco de Lucia

Paco de Lucía is an internationally recognized Spanish flamenco guitarist, and leading exponent of the New Flamenco style. He is the son of flamenco guitarist Antonio Sánchez, and brother of flamenco singer Pepe de Lucía and flamenco guitarist Ramón de Algeciras. Paco is considered by many to be the greatest flamenco guitarist of all time. Not only does he dominate in flamenco, he is one of the very few guitarists who is also talented in other genres of music, e.g. jazz, classical, and world music. Paco fluently goes in these territories and plays like no other.

He was born Francisco Sánchez Gómez, in Algeciras, a city in the province of Cádiz, in the southernmost tip of Spain on December 21st, 1947, the youngest of five children. He adopted the stage name, Paco de Lucía in honor of his mother, Lucía Gómez.

Paco De Lucia was born in the suitable atmosphere to be trained as flamenco guitarist, receiving technical knowledge from his father and his brother Ramon since he was seven. He has as mentors, just to name a few, the guitarists, Nino Ricardo, Miguel Borrull, Mario Escudero and Sabicas, however, it is important to make stand out of the figure of his father, Antonio Sanchez who in D. E. Pohren's opinion, Paco de Lucia's biographer, designed a "master plan" to make his son Paco into the history's greatest flamenco guitarist. Constancy in the study and contract with the flamenco world were the basic premises of the plan.
After a training period (1952-58) he plays his first performance in public in Radio Algeciras in 1958. In 1959 he obtains the special award in the Festival Concurso Internacional Flamenco de Jerez de la Frontera. He accompanies on singing to his brother Pepe in the duet "Los Chiquitos de Algeciras" obtaining a special award in Jerez in 1962. He goes on his first tour abroad as guitarist to accompany singing and dance on Josè Greco's Company in 1963.
In New York, he comes into contact with Sabicas and Mario Escudero, however, Paco De Lucia will be considered as part of the Guitarist School on Nino Ricardo, He moves with his family to Madrid in 1964. He records two albums with Ricardo Modrego in 1965, with popular themes from Garcia Lorca and three records with his brother Ramon de Algeciras. His father set up a flamenco club in the basements of Los Gabrieles where Paco de Lucia could listen to the singing of the most outstanding flamenco singers of that period. He records, accompanying singing of A. Fernandez Diaz Fosforito the Seleccion Antologica del Cante Flamenco, accompanying also to Lebrijano and he collaborates on recording with the jazz saxophonist, Pedro Iturralde.
In 1967, he goes on a tour with the Festival Flamenco Gitano, year in which he records his first solo record, La fabulosa guitarra de Paco de Lucia where it can be noticed the influence of Nino Ricardo, Sabicas and Mario Escudero. In 1968, in the Torres Bermejas plank floor he knows Camaron de la Isla with shom he will record more than 10 records until he dies in July 1992. In 1969 he records Fantasia Flamenca which, in some way, defines his style when he was 22. It begins a glorious period for Paco de Lucia that finishes in the huge guitar recitals of the seventies, as the one performed in the Palau de La Musica, Barcellona (1970), and the one at the Teatro Real, Madrid (1975). In 1973 he records Fuente y Caudal included the famous hit "Entre dos Aguas" that will make him famous.

Since 1977 he gets in touch with the guitarists Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Larry Corryell with whom he will give several concerts in that which Paco de Lucia defines as mixing of players but not of musics and they will record two records.
In 1977 he gets married with Casilda Varela, they have three children.
From his contact with jazz, it will emerge a period of searching in the melodies and harmonies developed up to that date without separating for the pure flamingo style. In 1978, he records, accompanied by the group Dolores, a tribute to Falla, being a big significance in the musical circles of the Spanish political transition.
In 1981 he sets up the sextet: Pardo, Benevent, Dantas, de Algeciras and Pepe de Lucia.
He keeps in contact with Chick Corea since 1982, which will be the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between the two players.
In 1986, Paco de Lucia comes into a phase of his career that closes in some way the circle opened since his record tribute to Falla, returning to that music with solo guitar. The sextet won't come back to the spotlight until 1991 including Manuel Soler as flamenco dancer and percussionist. In 1986 he settles a trio with J.M. Bandera and J. M. Canizares that will survive until 1990. With the release of the record Siroco (1987) Paco reaches unsuspected results, since it implies the culmination of his aesthetic ideals. In 1990 he releases Ziryab with the sextet and the collaboration of Chick Corea. In 1991 he records with Orquesta de Cadaques Concierto de Aranjuez from J. Rodrigo. In 1993 he records his second live record with the sextet, titled Live in America.

He has released several albums encompassing both traditional and modern flamenco styles. Through his wide discography he has given rise to a new way of understanding flamenco and has launched his music and his instrument to a level comparable to modern jazz performers.

Being an incredibly talented guitarist, he is known to many as the master of rasqueados and picados. Paco de Lucia has an incredible command of blinding speed on the nylon string guitar. It is said that he is able to play 16th note triplets at 180 bpm. This is fast by anyone's standard. Not only is his speed blindingly fast, he is extremely accurate, and almost never makes a technical mistake.

He is the winner of 2004 Prince of Asturias Awards in Arts.

Until being asked to perform and interpret Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez in 1991, he had never learned how to read musical notes. He learned to play most of the passages in the Concierto simply by listening to previous interpretations. Given the Concierto's great technical difficulty, learning how to play the Concierto by ear is a great undertaking. While learning to play the Concierto, as a flamenco guitarist, where rhythm and pace is essential, he preferred to risk giving the listener a 'dirty' note when being forced to go from a low note to a very high one, rather than to displace the rhythm and pace just to keep the note clean. He felt that as a flamenco guitarist, he could interpret the Concierto in fashion not previously done.

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