It’s a landmark in maestro guitarist Paco de Lucía’s personal history, and also for flamenco history. On May 8th, this internationally renowned artist will be vested as Doctor Honoris Causa by the Berklee Collage of Music, a private university in Boston, Massachussets (USA). Those responsible for awarding this great academic distinction believe that “his music and artistic vision has influenced several generations of musicians and have contributed to the transmission of flamenco to an international public”.
Francisco Sánchez Gómes, known artistically as Paco de Lucía, was born in Algeciras (Cádiz) in 1947, where his internationally renowned career began decades ago, when flamenco was no longer a music for private parties and began to be performed in tablaos around Spain and throughout the world.
Paco de Lucía’s tremendous success isn’t due solely to his work as a flamenco guitarist, but also because he has influenced other styles of music, and this award in particular has expanded his sphere of influence from the purely musical and comercial to the academic, wrapping this flamenco musician’s work in a nimbus of respect even more grandiose than before.
The son of a Spanish father and a Portuguese mother, this is not the first distinction De Lucía has received. In Spain, he has received every award an artista could deesire: National Flamenco Art Prize for Guitar, Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts, Honorary Distinction in the Music Awards, Prince of Asturias Prize for the Arts and Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Cádiz.
Thanks to his talent and work, De Lucía has displayed his virtuosity in front of all types of audiences, and the latest example of how successfully he draws in the crowds was seen on March 22 , when tickets went on sale for the recital he’s performing on October 9th to close the XVI Edition of the Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla. In less than an hour, the show was sold out online, while tickets still available at the ticket window were gone in two days.
De Lucía’s greatest contribution to flamenco has been its internationalization, plus, he’s been able to incorporate instruments from other styles of music, such as bossa nova, jazz and, and he’s such a prolific composer that he has over 230 works registered with the Sociedad General de Autores (SGAE).
Paco de Lucía’s first guitar lessons came at the hands of his father and brother and his virtuosity is the product of a combination of vocation, talent and many hours of practice since childhood. For years e was accompanied by his brothers, the singer Pepe de Lucía and the guitarist Ramón de Algeciras. Both of them have also had their own solo careers and worked with other artists. In fact, even Paco de Lucía worked with other singers, including Camarón de la Isla. These two geniuses recorded a dozen works together that were extremely successful.
In the early years an unyeilding talent had already become obvious, and the guitarist began to become as famous as David Bowie, Sting, Aretha Franklin and Phil Collins, among other first rate artists.