Wednesday World Beat: Paco de Lucía
Words By Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)
Throughout the history of modern music, there are a select few instrumentalists who’ve helped to define their respective genres. Miles Davis and jazz trumpet, Jimi Hendrix with rock guitar… two examples of individuals who forever changed the course of history with regards to how their instrument is viewed in the 21st century. Mainstream virtuosos have become synonymous with the style to which they contribute, and when opening a conversation about flamenco guitar excellence, any lack of mention to its master, Paco de Lucía, would be wasted breath…
Born Francisco Sánchez Gómez in Algeciras, Spain, Paco de Lucía is considered one of the greatest guitarists in the world and certainly the best of the flamenco genre. Since his first public appearance in 1958 at age 11, de Lucía has ascended to heights previously unseen with flamenco, earning worldwide notoriety for his unmatched technique and lightning fast rhythmic attack…
Paco de Lucía is also one of the few flamenco artists who’ve enjoyed success from crossing over musical genres. Through collaborations with Larry Coryell, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, and Chick Corea, de Lucía introduced flamenco style playing to an entirely new audience of listeners. He’s always taken a modern approach to his music by adding personal flair and outside influences to the genre’s rich traditions, but make no mistake, de Lucía has and always will consider his playing to be an extension of flamenco roots.
“What I have tried to do is have a hand holding onto tradition and the other scratching, digging in other places trying to find new things I can bring into flamenco… I have never lost my roots in my music, because I would lose myself.”
-Paco de Lucía