Paco de Lucia is one of the greatest guitarists in history, and one of the most important contributors to flamenco spreading around the world. The Spanish legend inspired the majority of flamenco guitarists in Spain, as well as the great solos and musicians all over the world. His flamenco-Jazz mixed style was so different and original, Who is Paco De Lucia? And how could he mix two different cultures in one style?

Francisco Gustavo Sanchez Gomez was born in Algeciras, a small town in the far south of Spain, on December 21st, 1947. He grew up to be a world-class musician, trained by his father and brother since the age of five. Francisco mastered the art of flamenco from the age of eleven, a mastery that gave way to the emergence of Paco De Lucia, author, guitarist and producer of flamenco. He was a leading supporter of modern flamenco style, as he helped legalize flamenco in Spain, and he was one of the first flamenco guitarists to mix other styles such as classical music and jazz with flamenco. Paco did not learn to read musical notes and rhythms, he used to memorise tracks through listening, and he was giving the music a distinctive character of flamenco.

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Paco is known for his creativity and diversity in playing in harmony, his remarkable ingenuity and techniques as well as the power and smoothness of his right hand. These creations were indicating his primary role in developing traditional flamenco music and even in creating and developing his style, as he combined modern flamenco music and Latin jazz in the seventies of the last century. His recordings with flamenco singer Cameron de La Isla echoed as the artists recorded ten albums together in the 1970s.

Paco and his best friend Cameroon worked together for beautiful music for several years, until Cameron’s death in 1992, this had the greatest impact on Paco. He suffered from pain and sadness that paco cried as if he did not cry in his life, and it was one of the events that he could not forget. And every time the name of Cameron is mentioned, Paco cried. It happened more than once in press conferences and interviews with the artist.

As for the year 1969 and 1970, it was an important point in his life, he was at the age of twenty-two when his name began to appear frequently, and he played in famous theatres such as Palau de la Musica and Barcelona Theatre. And in 1975,  Entre Dos Aguas blew up the Madrid theatre with the cheers of the fans, as Paco performed smooth and excellent performance and showed the high sensitivity and the ultimate respect for the audience and became the idol of Spanish people. After, his name spread like lightning throughout his country and then the world.

Among his most important and famous recordings are Río Ancho, Entre dos Aguas, La Barrosa, Impetu, Cepa Andaluza, and Gloria al Nino Ricardo. His fame expanded all over the world after he worked with well-known guitarists such as John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola. “El Trinomio” released an album they called, The Guitar Trio in 1996, after 13 years without playing together. This masterpiece includes three originals by McLaughlin and Al Di Meola, two by Lucía and a duo McLaughlin-Di Meola on “Manhã de Carnaval. He performed Paco de Lucia Sextet with his two brothers singer Pepe de Lucia and guitarist Ramon in 1981.”

in 1990, Paco collaborated with jazz pianist Chick Corea for an album they named Zyryab, a 9th-century, Persian and Black African-poet/musician at the Umayyad court in Córdoba, credited with introducing to Spain the Persian lute, later to become the Spanish guitar. Later in 2004, his number of tours around the world decreased, he performed a few concerts per year, mostly in Spain and Germany and European festivals. Then, he participated in many concerts for countries he had not previously visited, such as Morocco, Turkey, and Tunisia.

Paco had won numerous international awards and honours throughout his career, the last of which was in 2010 when Boston’s Berklee College of Music awarded him an honorary doctorate. The Legendary guitarist died suddenly of a heart attack on February 25th, 2014; he was 66 years old. The city of Algeciras, de Lucia’s birthplace, declared two days of official mourning.

Paco was the guitar legend like no other in the world staying loyal to his tradition and bringing new stuff at the same time, and who said in an interview in the late nineties, “I have never lost my roots in music because then I will lose myself. What I tried to do was stick to tradition with one hand, and with the other hand, I was always trying to find new things that I can add to flamenco music.”

Photo by Antonio on flickr

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