The story of Paco de Lucia, an innovator in the flamenco genre

“I never lost my roots in my music! Otherwise, I would have lost myself... I tried to hold on to the tradition with one hand, and dug into it stubbornly with the other. I tried to find something new that I can bring to flamenco...”

Full biography of Paco de Lucia - from early years to overwhelming success

Paco de Lucia was a Spanish guitar virtuoso, composer and producer. Leading proponent of the new flamenco style, de Lucia was one of the first to divide into classical and jazz. Today he is called "a titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar" and "one of the greatest guitarists in history". Paco widely famous for his unusual style - he often combined picado and rasguado with more sensitive playing and was known for adding abstract chords and scales to his jazz-influenced compositions… He played a key role not only in the development of traditional flamenco, but in the development of a new fusion of flamenco and Latin jazz!

Early years

Paco de Lucia...
Paco de Lucia...

Paco de Lucia was born in Algeciras, a small town in the province Cadiz in the very south Spain, and was originally raised as a world-class musician. He trained with his father, who was a musician, and his brother from the age of five. Having mastered the art of playing the flamenco guitar to his 11th anniversary, Paco confidently debuted on local radio in 1958 year. A year later, he received a special award at the festival Concurso Internacional Flamenco de Jerez de la Frontera, and soon he was dubbed a child prodigy! Thereafter de Lucia was invited to join a flamenco troupe led by a dancer Jose Greco. At that time, the guy was only 16 years old.

Paco remained with the group for three years, after which there was a turning point in musical development de Lucia... It happened during a tour with Greco on North America: that's where Paco met Sabikasa, the first world tour flamenco guitarist, from whom the guy was instructed to follow his own style of playing ... Although he remained attached to traditional flamenco on his first two solo albums (La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucia 1967 and Fantasia Flamenca 1969) and recorded ten albums accompanied by a flamenco vocalist de la Isla, since de Lucia continued to look for his individual approach ...


Paco de Lucia
Paco de Lucia

Role of the guitar flamenco greatly expanded in the world of music thanks to the game Paco de Lucia… son of a flamenco guitarist Antonio Sanchez and brother Ramona de Algeciras and flamenco singer Pepe de Lucia, Paco expanded the traditional flamenco genre to include deeply personal melodic utterances and contemporary instruments. His collaborations included ten albums with a flamenco vocalist Camaron de la Isla, with pianist Chikom Corea and with guitarists John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell and Al Di Meola! His recordings, including his brothers Ramon and Pepe, have become masterpieces! Here are just a few of them: La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucia, Fantasia Flamenca, Fuente y Caudal, Almoraima and Zyryab

Nevertheless, de Lucia never abandoned traditional flamenco. His album 1980 of the year, Interpreta a Manuel de Falla, pays homage to the classical composer and flamenco enthusiast, and his album 1987 of the year Siroco marked Paco's return to pure flamenco.

“I never lost my roots in my music! Otherwise, I would have lost myself... I tried to hold on to the tradition with one hand, and dug into it stubbornly with the other. I tried to find something new that I can bring to flamenco…” Paco said during an interview in the late 90s.

Paco de Lucia
Paco de Lucia

The music scene around the world began to change at the beginning 1970's, and in Spain everything has changed too: especially in the flamenco scene.

Meeting with Camaron de la Isla and solo success

Camaron de la Isla
Camaron de la Isla

Meeting Paco de Lucia and a young flamenco singer named Camaron de la Isla happened in the billiard room in Madrid, and apparently she was destined to change the face of flamenco forever... Their partnership was to be a milestone in the history of flamenco, because they changed the rules of the art, and they set about searching for trends that were supposed to turn the flamenco scene on its head : for ten years they dominated the festival chain and they released a series of recordings revealing the strange but magical musical chemistry that existed between them… Their albums paved the way for a revolutionary new style of flamenco that, for the first time in history, captured the attention of the younger generation.

Camaron de la Isla and Paco de Lucia album
Camaron de la Isla and Paco de Lucia album

Paco de Lucia changed the rules, and became the first guitarist to be mentioned on an album cover (before that, it was not considered important to include the guitarist's name on the records they played). Paco is listed on each disc of the deceased Camarona with words "Con la colaboración especial de Paco de Lucia".

Although Paco de Lucia quickly becoming the most phenomenal flamenco accompanist, he devoted what little free time he had to his solo career, and this led him to great heights! His record Fuente y Caudal brought him unexpected success, and a rumba called Entre dos aguas spawned an anthem that has become one of the classic guitar pieces of all time ... After all, Paco and Camaron parted ... It was inevitable. But the guitarist's musical direction changed dramatically: jazz began to influence his style, and he soon found himself playing alongside some of the great jazz figures of the era, including John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell and Chick Corea. During this period, Paco recorded albums Siroco and Ziryab, and Lucia - a tribute to his dead mother ... It was in this entry that Paco included a master rondena dedicated to the memory of his late friend Camarona.

Camaron de la Isla and Paco de Lucia
Camaron de la Isla and Paco de Lucia

Paco is at the center of a death scandal Camaronabecause some people unfairly accused him of a terrible financial situation Camarona at the time of his death. Some of those present at the funeral even insulted Paco, believing that he was responsible for depriving the singer and his family of royalties created during their golden years. But for anyone who knew anything about their partnership, it was obvious that Paco did nothing of the sort. The main problem was that Paco de Lucia was gaining strength, while Camaron, who suffered from harmful addictions, was not one to worry about the future, and therefore died relatively penniless ...

End of story...

Paco de Lucia was one of the most formidable and influential guitarists in Spain, and although his name has become synonymous with flamenco, and especially the singer Camarona de la Isla, he became the most revered guitarist of the last century. The guitarist suffered a fatal heart attack on the beach in Mexico February 25, 2014when vacationing with his family. Paco, who lived in Mexico for several years, was taken to the nearest hospital, but the doctors could not save him ... At the time of his death, the guitarist was 66 years old. When a great master of any art dies, he is invariably declared the greatest proponent of that art. But in the case of Paco there is no doubt that he was indeed one of the most revered guitarists who graced the art of flamenco. The name of this most celebrated flamenco guitarist has now entered acoustic guitar history. The world has lost a virtuoso musician, and flamenco has lost one of its maestros: but fortunately, his legacy will remain forever.

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