Paco de Lucia


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At a Glance

Birthname: Francisco S
Nationality: Spanish
Born: Dec 21 1947


Biography

Paco de Lucía is inarguably an iconic artists, who represents a musical culture and heritage which – outside of Spain – has remained relatively obscure, and little understood. He is known worldwide as the master of flamenco guitar. Perhaps much of what is not known about him is what makes De Lucía stand out among those rarest geniuses of contemporary music, a distinction he earned early in his illustrious 50 year career, and one which remains as relevant today as it did when he first performed in New York, at the age of 14, accompanying Jose Greco’s highly stylized cabaret flamenco popular ... Read more

Paco de Lucía is inarguably an iconic artists, who represents a musical culture and heritage which – outside of Spain – has remained relatively obscure, and little understood. He is known worldwide as the master of flamenco guitar. Perhaps much of what is not known about him is what makes De Lucía stand out among those rarest geniuses of contemporary music, a distinction he earned early in his illustrious 50 year career, and one which remains as relevant today as it did when he first performed in New York, at the age of 14, accompanying Jose Greco’s highly stylized cabaret flamenco popular in the USA during the early 1960’s. De Lucía would soon return to make his own solo debut at Carnegie Hall in 1970, when he was just 23 years old. That was the beginning of a historic musical trajectory that would span over 1 million record sales, 24 albums, and 1 Grammy Award.
Francisco Sánchez Gómez, a classically untrained guitarist who never learned to read music, was born in 1947 in Algeciras, a port city in the southernmost Spanish province of Cádiz, Andalucia. The progeny of a passionately musical family, De Lucía was an extremely quiet, introverted boy who learned to play guitar by ear, surrounded by the constant music of the deeply rooted gypsy neighborhood where his family lived. His father was a guitarist and composer, and his two brothers – Ramon de Algeciras and Pepe de Lucía– ultimately became esteemed flamenco musicians as adults. Paco (the Spanish nickname for Francisco) de Lucía (literally “of Lucia”, in reference to his Portuguese mother, Lucía Gómez) was extremely close to his brothers, and was greatly influenced by them. He credits both his father, and his elder brother, Ramon, for teaching him the basics of playing guitar, the ideal refuge for the sensitive, shy boy who quickly learned to distinguish the complex rhythmical styles, known as “palos”, and instrumental melodies or “falsetas”, the foundations of flamenco composition. His parents realized that the pure, natural talent of young Paco presented a potential source of income given the economic hardship gripping Spain during the 1950’s Franco regime, and soon he was working to help support his family, performing local shows with his singer brother, Pepe, and guitarist Ramon, when he was only seven years old. Looking back, De Lucía considers it a blessing to have been able to help his family survive by playing an instrument that he had spent countless hours practicing in isolation; little did he realize that he was destined to also revolutionize the entire spectrum of flamenco as it had existed for over 150 years, nor that he would be the greatest innovator that it has ever known, and the one who would bring it to an international mass audience.
Following his development from child prodigy to touring ensemble musician, De Lucía returned to Spain to launch his professional recording career, at first remaining true to the tradition of the classical masters. Drawing from the advice given to him years earlier in New York by one of his idols and the reigning master of flamenco guitar at the time, the great Sabicas, who told him “a true flamenco should not play the music of others, but rather, he should create his own”, De Lucía began distancing himself from the old masters, defining his own personal style and brazenly showcasing his dazzling, impeccable virtuosity on “La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucía” in 1967, and 1969’s “Fantasia Flamenca”.
The turning point in his career came in 1968, when De Lucía crossed paths with kindred renaissance man and vanguardist, Camarón de la Isla, a young gypsy singer who also hailed from Cadiz. Camarón - with his powerful, almost savage vocal range and savant sense of harmony - instantly became – and still is to this day – De Lucía’s greatest inspiration. Their attraction was mutual, spontaneous and irrepressible. The musical chemistry and intense creativity between the two was transcendent and prolific. These were the golden years of flamenco for Paco and Camaron, and together they composed and released nine albums between 1969 and 1977, touring extensively throughout Spain and establishing the duo as the superstars of the Nuevo Flamenco generation. They collaborated for the last time in 1991 on “Potro de Rabia y Miel”, widely regarded by aficionados as their masterpiece, shortly before Camaron's untimely death in July 1992.
Fueled by this visionary, artistic partnership, De Lucía’s focus on his solo career intensified, pushing himself – along with the boundaries of flamenco - towards the pursuit of even more unconventional musical evolution and unorthodox fusions.
This yearning for innovation led DeLucia to the formation of the Guitar Trio in 1979, alongside jazz greats John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell, later replaced by Al Di Meola. This experience was as inspiring as it was terrifying for De Lucía, who had to learn to improvise by keeping up with the freestyling virtuosos, live on stage. De Lucía remembers this period vividly, describing it as “being on a speeding train and seeing sign posts whizzing by, and by the time you’ve figured out what the first one says, 20 more have passed you by.” In hindsight, De Lucía credits his tenacity and respect for musical evolution as the driving force which kept him from abandoning this daunting challenge - one he had never before faced - and on December 5, 1980 the first avant-garde style of flamenco jazz was forged, on “Friday Night in San Francisco”.
In 1981 he formed the Paco de Lucía Sextet, the first flamenco concept band of its kind, incorporating instrumentation ranging from electric bass, saxophone and flute, along with the now ubiquitous box-shaped cajón – which De Lucía first discovered during a trip to Peru in the late 70’s, and brought back to Spain, proclaiming it to be the essential percussion instrument with which to accompany flamenco guitar - a radical idea at the time - and one which would change the sound of flamenco forever. The original Sextet – which included his brothers, guitarist Ramon de Algeciras and singer Pepe de Lucía, along with Brazilian master percussionist Rubem Dantas, legendary jazz/flamenco bassist Carles Benavent, and Jorge Pardo on flute/saxophone - was De Lucía’s best, and favorite band. They recorded three groundbreaking albums together: “Zyryab” (1990), and two live albums, “One Summer Night” (1984), and “Live in America” (1993). Those were the first flamenco records that blended acoustic flamenco tinged with jazz improvisations, the culmination of De Lucía’s aesthetic ideals.
“That’s where it all began, we broke the mold,” says De Lucía on the “Making of” DVD which accompanies his upcoming CD release EnVivo: Conciertos España 2010. EnVivo is De Lucía’s 25th recording, and only his fourth live album. “Competing with those records is difficult, but on this record what we’re trying to capture is a new perspective of another time, a new time. The energy created during a live performance can never be created in a studio, that’s where the soul of the music is most likely to appear – live on stage.”
Comprised of live concert recordings during his extensive tour of Spain in 2010, this CD presents a more profound De Lucía – an artist who has reached the peak of his artistic maturity. The new version of the now septet features De Lucía’s handpicked lineup of musicians, some of whom have been touring with him since 2004’s Grammy winning “Cositas Buenas”: Cuban electric latin/jazz bassist, Alain Perez; percussionist Israel Suarez Escobar “Piraña”; virtuoso harmonica/keyboard player Antonio Serrano; the renowned singer “Duquende” ; De Lucía’s nephew Antonio Sanchez on 2nd guitar; vocalist David de Jacoba; and Farruco, the up and coming dancer and descendant of a famous flamenco dynasty.
De Lucía’s greatest challenge now is to surround himself with musicians who inspire him enough to let them be his inspiration. “For a musician to perform live on stage requires giving him 100% freedom to be himself, that’s what I like the most - to have musicians who have good rhythm, sensitivity, if they have a good sense of harmony it’s even better, but above all – I like them to be good people”.
A self-described anarchist, De Lucía goes further: “I go on stage to realize myself, to express the best that I have inside of me – that’s why I recorded these seven concerts – because I’m hoping to surprise myself. I tend to take a long time making records. It’s not just a new idea that I’m looking for, or a new song. It’s the sensation of always looking for the unexpected, and the surprise of finding it – it’s very complicated.” Ultimately, De Lucía says he plays for other flamenco guitarists, “They are the ones who understand what I do.”
Perhaps the best way to capture what “EnVivo” represents to De Lucía is summed up by his acute observation : “On a live record you don’t expect perfection from beginning to end; what you want is for there to be emotion, and light. When you play live there is no trickery, no deception; when you play live, it is who and what you are.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Paco de Lucía is inarguably an iconic artists, who represents a musical culture and heritage which – outside of Spain – has remained relatively obscure, and little understood. He is known worldwide as the master of flamenco guitar. Perhaps much of what is not known about him is what makes De Lucía stand out among those rarest geniuses of contemporary music, a distinction he earned early in his illustrious 50 year career, and one which remains as relevant today as it did when he first performed in New York, at the age of 14, accompanying Jose Greco’s highly stylized cabaret flamenco popular in the USA during the early 1960’s. De Lucía would soon return to make his own solo debut at Carnegie Hall in 1970, when he was just 23 years old. That was the beginning of a historic musical trajectory that would span over 1 million record sales, 24 albums, and 1 Grammy Award.
Francisco Sánchez Gómez, a classically untrained guitarist who never learned to read music, was born in 1947 in Algeciras, a port city in the southernmost Spanish province of Cádiz, Andalucia. The progeny of a passionately musical family, De Lucía was an extremely quiet, introverted boy who learned to play guitar by ear, surrounded by the constant music of the deeply rooted gypsy neighborhood where his family lived. His father was a guitarist and composer, and his two brothers – Ramon de Algeciras and Pepe de Lucía– ultimately became esteemed flamenco musicians as adults. Paco (the Spanish nickname for Francisco) de Lucía (literally “of Lucia”, in reference to his Portuguese mother, Lucía Gómez) was extremely close to his brothers, and was greatly influenced by them. He credits both his father, and his elder brother, Ramon, for teaching him the basics of playing guitar, the ideal refuge for the sensitive, shy boy who quickly learned to distinguish the complex rhythmical styles, known as “palos”, and instrumental melodies or “falsetas”, the foundations of flamenco composition. His parents realized that the pure, natural talent of young Paco presented a potential source of income given the economic hardship gripping Spain during the 1950’s Franco regime, and soon he was working to help support his family, performing local shows with his singer brother, Pepe, and guitarist Ramon, when he was only seven years old. Looking back, De Lucía considers it a blessing to have been able to help his family survive by playing an instrument that he had spent countless hours practicing in isolation; little did he realize that he was destined to also revolutionize the entire spectrum of flamenco as it had existed for over 150 years, nor that he would be the greatest innovator that it has ever known, and the one who would bring it to an international mass audience.
Following his development from child prodigy to touring ensemble musician, De Lucía returned to Spain to launch his professional recording career, at first remaining true to the tradition of the classical masters. Drawing from the advice given to him years earlier in New York by one of his idols and the reigning master of flamenco guitar at the time, the great Sabicas, who told him “a true flamenco should not play the music of others, but rather, he should create his own”, De Lucía began distancing himself from the old masters, defining his own personal style and brazenly showcasing his dazzling, impeccable virtuosity on “La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucía” in 1967, and 1969’s “Fantasia Flamenca”.
The turning point in his career came in 1968, when De Lucía crossed paths with kindred renaissance man and vanguardist, Camarón de la Isla, a young gypsy singer who also hailed from Cadiz. Camarón - with his powerful, almost savage vocal range and savant sense of harmony - instantly became – and still is to this day – De Lucía’s greatest inspiration. Their attraction was mutual, spontaneous and irrepressible. The musical chemistry and intense creativity between the two was transcendent and prolific. These were the golden years of flamenco for Paco and Camaron, and together they composed and released nine albums between 1969 and 1977, touring extensively throughout Spain and establishing the duo as the superstars of the Nuevo Flamenco generation. They collaborated for the last time in 1991 on “Potro de Rabia y Miel”, widely regarded by aficionados as their masterpiece, shortly before Camaron's untimely death in July 1992.
Fueled by this visionary, artistic partnership, De Lucía’s focus on his solo career intensified, pushing himself – along with the boundaries of flamenco - towards the pursuit of even more unconventional musical evolution and unorthodox fusions.
This yearning for innovation led DeLucia to the formation of the Guitar Trio in 1979, alongside jazz greats John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell, later replaced by Al Di Meola. This experience was as inspiring as it was terrifying for De Lucía, who had to learn to improvise by keeping up with the freestyling virtuosos, live on stage. De Lucía remembers this period vividly, describing it as “being on a speeding train and seeing sign posts whizzing by, and by the time you’ve figured out what the first one says, 20 more have passed you by.” In hindsight, De Lucía credits his tenacity and respect for musical evolution as the driving force which kept him from abandoning this daunting challenge - one he had never before faced - and on December 5, 1980 the first avant-garde style of flamenco jazz was forged, on “Friday Night in San Francisco”.
In 1981 he formed the Paco de Lucía Sextet, the first flamenco concept band of its kind, incorporating instrumentation ranging from electric bass, saxophone and flute, along with the now ubiquitous box-shaped cajón – which De Lucía first discovered during a trip to Peru in the late 70’s, and brought back to Spain, proclaiming it to be the essential percussion instrument with which to accompany flamenco guitar - a radical idea at the time - and one which would change the sound of flamenco forever. The original Sextet – which included his brothers, guitarist Ramon de Algeciras and singer Pepe de Lucía, along with Brazilian master percussionist Rubem Dantas, legendary jazz/flamenco bassist Carles Benavent, and Jorge Pardo on flute/saxophone - was De Lucía’s best, and favorite band. They recorded three groundbreaking albums together: “Zyryab” (1990), and two live albums, “One Summer Night” (1984), and “Live in America” (1993). Those were the first flamenco records that blended acoustic flamenco tinged with jazz improvisations, the culmination of De Lucía’s aesthetic ideals.
“That’s where it all began, we broke the mold,” says De Lucía on the “Making of” DVD which accompanies his upcoming CD release EnVivo: Conciertos España 2010. EnVivo is De Lucía’s 25th recording, and only his fourth live album. “Competing with those records is difficult, but on this record what we’re trying to capture is a new perspective of another time, a new time. The energy created during a live performance can never be created in a studio, that’s where the soul of the music is most likely to appear – live on stage.”
Comprised of live concert recordings during his extensive tour of Spain in 2010, this CD presents a more profound De Lucía – an artist who has reached the peak of his artistic maturity. The new version of the now septet features De Lucía’s handpicked lineup of musicians, some of whom have been touring with him since 2004’s Grammy winning “Cositas Buenas”: Cuban electric latin/jazz bassist, Alain Perez; percussionist Israel Suarez Escobar “Piraña”; virtuoso harmonica/keyboard player Antonio Serrano; the renowned singer “Duquende” ; De Lucía’s nephew Antonio Sanchez on 2nd guitar; vocalist David de Jacoba; and Farruco, the up and coming dancer and descendant of a famous flamenco dynasty.
De Lucía’s greatest challenge now is to surround himself with musicians who inspire him enough to let them be his inspiration. “For a musician to perform live on stage requires giving him 100% freedom to be himself, that’s what I like the most - to have musicians who have good rhythm, sensitivity, if they have a good sense of harmony it’s even better, but above all – I like them to be good people”.
A self-described anarchist, De Lucía goes further: “I go on stage to realize myself, to express the best that I have inside of me – that’s why I recorded these seven concerts – because I’m hoping to surprise myself. I tend to take a long time making records. It’s not just a new idea that I’m looking for, or a new song. It’s the sensation of always looking for the unexpected, and the surprise of finding it – it’s very complicated.” Ultimately, De Lucía says he plays for other flamenco guitarists, “They are the ones who understand what I do.”
Perhaps the best way to capture what “EnVivo” represents to De Lucía is summed up by his acute observation : “On a live record you don’t expect perfection from beginning to end; what you want is for there to be emotion, and light. When you play live there is no trickery, no deception; when you play live, it is who and what you are.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Paco de Lucía is inarguably an iconic artists, who represents a musical culture and heritage which – outside of Spain – has remained relatively obscure, and little understood. He is known worldwide as the master of flamenco guitar. Perhaps much of what is not known about him is what makes De Lucía stand out among those rarest geniuses of contemporary music, a distinction he earned early in his illustrious 50 year career, and one which remains as relevant today as it did when he first performed in New York, at the age of 14, accompanying Jose Greco’s highly stylized cabaret flamenco popular in the USA during the early 1960’s. De Lucía would soon return to make his own solo debut at Carnegie Hall in 1970, when he was just 23 years old. That was the beginning of a historic musical trajectory that would span over 1 million record sales, 24 albums, and 1 Grammy Award.
Francisco Sánchez Gómez, a classically untrained guitarist who never learned to read music, was born in 1947 in Algeciras, a port city in the southernmost Spanish province of Cádiz, Andalucia. The progeny of a passionately musical family, De Lucía was an extremely quiet, introverted boy who learned to play guitar by ear, surrounded by the constant music of the deeply rooted gypsy neighborhood where his family lived. His father was a guitarist and composer, and his two brothers – Ramon de Algeciras and Pepe de Lucía– ultimately became esteemed flamenco musicians as adults. Paco (the Spanish nickname for Francisco) de Lucía (literally “of Lucia”, in reference to his Portuguese mother, Lucía Gómez) was extremely close to his brothers, and was greatly influenced by them. He credits both his father, and his elder brother, Ramon, for teaching him the basics of playing guitar, the ideal refuge for the sensitive, shy boy who quickly learned to distinguish the complex rhythmical styles, known as “palos”, and instrumental melodies or “falsetas”, the foundations of flamenco composition. His parents realized that the pure, natural talent of young Paco presented a potential source of income given the economic hardship gripping Spain during the 1950’s Franco regime, and soon he was working to help support his family, performing local shows with his singer brother, Pepe, and guitarist Ramon, when he was only seven years old. Looking back, De Lucía considers it a blessing to have been able to help his family survive by playing an instrument that he had spent countless hours practicing in isolation; little did he realize that he was destined to also revolutionize the entire spectrum of flamenco as it had existed for over 150 years, nor that he would be the greatest innovator that it has ever known, and the one who would bring it to an international mass audience.
Following his development from child prodigy to touring ensemble musician, De Lucía returned to Spain to launch his professional recording career, at first remaining true to the tradition of the classical masters. Drawing from the advice given to him years earlier in New York by one of his idols and the reigning master of flamenco guitar at the time, the great Sabicas, who told him “a true flamenco should not play the music of others, but rather, he should create his own”, De Lucía began distancing himself from the old masters, defining his own personal style and brazenly showcasing his dazzling, impeccable virtuosity on “La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucía” in 1967, and 1969’s “Fantasia Flamenca”.
The turning point in his career came in 1968, when De Lucía crossed paths with kindred renaissance man and vanguardist, Camarón de la Isla, a young gypsy singer who also hailed from Cadiz. Camarón - with his powerful, almost savage vocal range and savant sense of harmony - instantly became – and still is to this day – De Lucía’s greatest inspiration. Their attraction was mutual, spontaneous and irrepressible. The musical chemistry and intense creativity between the two was transcendent and prolific. These were the golden years of flamenco for Paco and Camaron, and together they composed and released nine albums between 1969 and 1977, touring extensively throughout Spain and establishing the duo as the superstars of the Nuevo Flamenco generation. They collaborated for the last time in 1991 on “Potro de Rabia y Miel”, widely regarded by aficionados as their masterpiece, shortly before Camaron's untimely death in July 1992.
Fueled by this visionary, artistic partnership, De Lucía’s focus on his solo career intensified, pushing himself – along with the boundaries of flamenco - towards the pursuit of even more unconventional musical evolution and unorthodox fusions.
This yearning for innovation led DeLucia to the formation of the Guitar Trio in 1979, alongside jazz greats John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell, later replaced by Al Di Meola. This experience was as inspiring as it was terrifying for De Lucía, who had to learn to improvise by keeping up with the freestyling virtuosos, live on stage. De Lucía remembers this period vividly, describing it as “being on a speeding train and seeing sign posts whizzing by, and by the time you’ve figured out what the first one says, 20 more have passed you by.” In hindsight, De Lucía credits his tenacity and respect for musical evolution as the driving force which kept him from abandoning this daunting challenge - one he had never before faced - and on December 5, 1980 the first avant-garde style of flamenco jazz was forged, on “Friday Night in San Francisco”.
In 1981 he formed the Paco de Lucía Sextet, the first flamenco concept band of its kind, incorporating instrumentation ranging from electric bass, saxophone and flute, along with the now ubiquitous box-shaped cajón – which De Lucía first discovered during a trip to Peru in the late 70’s, and brought back to Spain, proclaiming it to be the essential percussion instrument with which to accompany flamenco guitar - a radical idea at the time - and one which would change the sound of flamenco forever. The original Sextet – which included his brothers, guitarist Ramon de Algeciras and singer Pepe de Lucía, along with Brazilian master percussionist Rubem Dantas, legendary jazz/flamenco bassist Carles Benavent, and Jorge Pardo on flute/saxophone - was De Lucía’s best, and favorite band. They recorded three groundbreaking albums together: “Zyryab” (1990), and two live albums, “One Summer Night” (1984), and “Live in America” (1993). Those were the first flamenco records that blended acoustic flamenco tinged with jazz improvisations, the culmination of De Lucía’s aesthetic ideals.
“That’s where it all began, we broke the mold,” says De Lucía on the “Making of” DVD which accompanies his upcoming CD release EnVivo: Conciertos España 2010. EnVivo is De Lucía’s 25th recording, and only his fourth live album. “Competing with those records is difficult, but on this record what we’re trying to capture is a new perspective of another time, a new time. The energy created during a live performance can never be created in a studio, that’s where the soul of the music is most likely to appear – live on stage.”
Comprised of live concert recordings during his extensive tour of Spain in 2010, this CD presents a more profound De Lucía – an artist who has reached the peak of his artistic maturity. The new version of the now septet features De Lucía’s handpicked lineup of musicians, some of whom have been touring with him since 2004’s Grammy winning “Cositas Buenas”: Cuban electric latin/jazz bassist, Alain Perez; percussionist Israel Suarez Escobar “Piraña”; virtuoso harmonica/keyboard player Antonio Serrano; the renowned singer “Duquende” ; De Lucía’s nephew Antonio Sanchez on 2nd guitar; vocalist David de Jacoba; and Farruco, the up and coming dancer and descendant of a famous flamenco dynasty.
De Lucía’s greatest challenge now is to surround himself with musicians who inspire him enough to let them be his inspiration. “For a musician to perform live on stage requires giving him 100% freedom to be himself, that’s what I like the most - to have musicians who have good rhythm, sensitivity, if they have a good sense of harmony it’s even better, but above all – I like them to be good people”.
A self-described anarchist, De Lucía goes further: “I go on stage to realize myself, to express the best that I have inside of me – that’s why I recorded these seven concerts – because I’m hoping to surprise myself. I tend to take a long time making records. It’s not just a new idea that I’m looking for, or a new song. It’s the sensation of always looking for the unexpected, and the surprise of finding it – it’s very complicated.” Ultimately, De Lucía says he plays for other flamenco guitarists, “They are the ones who understand what I do.”
Perhaps the best way to capture what “EnVivo” represents to De Lucía is summed up by his acute observation : “On a live record you don’t expect perfection from beginning to end; what you want is for there to be emotion, and light. When you play live there is no trickery, no deception; when you play live, it is who and what you are.”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.