Francisco Sánchez Gómez (Algeciras, province of Cádiz, Spain, December 21, 1947-Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, February 25, 2014), artistically named Paco de Lucía, was a Spanish flamenco composer and guitarist.
The younger brother of the “Los Lucía” dynasty, along with Ramón de Algeciras and Pepe de Lucía, received as these musical education from the hand of his father, Antonio Sánchez Pecino, also a guitarist. In a family atmosphere very close to the flamenco world, Paco de Lucía soon made contact with some of the main figures of the flamenco world, among which some of his main influences were Niño Ricardo and Sabicas. After making himself known to the Spanish flamenco world in the International Contest of Flamenco Art of Jerez de la Frontera in 1962, he recorded his first albums with his brother Pepe as part of the group Los Chiquitos de Algeciras. In the following years he collaborated with the singers Fosforito and El Lebrijano and since 1969 with Camarón de la Isla.
Considered one of the leading figures of contemporary flamenco, he is credited with the responsibility for the reform that brought this art to the international music scene thanks to the inclusion of new rhythms from jazz, bossa nova and classical music. In this way, his collaborations with international artists such as Carlos Santana, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin stand out, but also with other flamenco figures such as Camarón de la Isla or Tomatito, with whom he modernized the concept of classical flamenco. Throughout his career he recorded a total of 38 albums, including five anthologies and five live albums, as well as numerous collaborations with the touch of singers and performers of many musical styles.
He received, among many other awards, two Latin Grammy awards for his albums Cositas buenas (2004) and En concierto Conciertos España (2010), 10 the National Flamenco Art Guitar Award, the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts (1992) ), Favorite son of the province of Cádiz (1997), favorite son of Algeciras (1998), the Silver Medal of Andalusia, the Honorific Distinction of the Music Awards (2002), the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts ( 2004), 11 Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Cádiz (2009) and by the Berklee College of Music (2010).
Francisco Sánchez Gómez was born at number 8 on San Francisco de Algeciras street in the popular neighborhood of La Fuentenueva. He was the youngest of five children, son of Lucía Gomes Gonçalves “La Portuguesa” and Antonio Sánchez Pecino, a guitar aficionado who had learned from the hand of Manuel Fernández “Titi de Marchena” (cousin of Melchor de Marchena) and who worked in tablaos and parties of the locality with the name of «Antonio de Algeciras», while it was dedicated to the sale of fruit in the square of supplies of the locality and to the itinerant sale of fabrics.
Thanks to his friends in the local flamenco world, Antonio Sánchez was able to put his children in contact with some of the best artists of his time, such as Antonio “El Chaqueta”, “Chato” Méndez, Rafael “El Tuerto”, «El Brillantina de Cádiz» and Antonio Jarrita. In this way he was able to teach all his children a profession he foresaw as a future, and soon it was three of them who stood out in the flamenco arts, Ramón, Pepe and Francisco. Their other two children, Carmen and Antonio, also studied cante and guitar, although they did not end up dedicating themselves to it. Thus, when Francisco was five years old, his family moved to Barcelona Street in the neighborhood of “La Bajadilla”, and from the age of six he began to receive guitar lessons from his father and his brother Ramón.
From the age of eleven he began to devote more time to learning the guitar after having to drop out of school. In his musical preparation, the contact that his family had with the most famous guitarist of his time, Niño Ricardo, who used to visit them often and, since 1960, the discovery of Agustín Castellón “Sabicas”, after his records were decisive. They started arriving in the country.16 Already known at the local level, he performed for the first time at the Terraza de Algeciras cinema at the end of 1959 with his brother Pepe, with whom he soon formed a flamenco group called “Paco y Pepe de Algeciras” and shortly after “Los Chiquitos de Algeciras”.
After recording three LPs with Hispavox in 1961, both brothers performed in 1962 at the International Flamenco Art Contest in Jerez de la Frontera, where Pepe won singing for malagueñas, and Paco, who was too young to participate, was awarded the Javier prize Molina, created expressly for him.18 The prizes won, 35,000 pesetas from Pepe and 4,000 from Paco, along with the money sent by the elder brother Ramón while working with Juanito Valderrama’s group, allowed the family to move their residence to the street Illustration of Madrid.
Soon the two brothers Pepe and Paco began to work in tablaos of the capital of Spain, so that in 1963 they were hired by José Greco, director of a Spanish ballet company, for a nine-month tour of South America. On the way back they participated in the recording of several albums accompanying Fosforito and El Lebrijano in the toque, and they recorded an album like “Los Chiquitos de Algeciras”, where they covered popular Ibero-American themes. In 1967 Paco de Lucía, after having traveled through several European countries with the Flamenco Gitano Festival, recorded his first solo album, La fabulosa guitarra by Paco de Lucía, making his first contacts with the world of jazz music thanks to Pedro Iturralde , with whom he also recorded two albums called Flamenco Jazz, and getting to know Camarón de la Isla.
His record Fuente y caudal de 1973, in which the rumba Entre dos aguas was found, reached in a few months the number one in sales in Spain and led to the approach of the guitarist to the public and worldwide recognition. Fruit of it was its action of 1975 in the Real Theater of Madrid, and, mainly, the new works in the world of the jazz with performances next to Carlos Santana and Al Di Meola, in 1977, and in the European and Japanese tours of the latter, John McLaughlin and Chick Corea, from 1980. These performances with international artists were complemented by those performed with his sextet, more flamenco, formed by his brothers Pepe and Ramón, Jorge Pardo, Carles Benavent, Rubem Dantas and Manolo To usually do.
Open to new music, Paco de Lucía was abandoning the most academic flamenco with his later albums, Solo quiero caminar (1981), to a lesser extent Siroco (1987) and mainly with Zyryab (1990), disc in which the fusion is best appreciated flamenco-jazz with the use of keyboards or pianos along with traditional instruments and the participation of artists such as Chick Corea or Manolo Sanlúcar. In the following years he recorded several live discs, among them one of classical music, the Concierto de Aranjuez (1991), and two flamenco-jazz albums, until in 1998 he published Luzía, a tribute to his mother who had died a year earlier. and to Camarón de la Isla, and Cositas buenas (2004), which already show the maturity of the artist.
Paco de Lucía was influenced by two schools, that of Niño Ricardo (1904-1972), considered one of the most outstanding figures of the flamenco guitar and the most direct precursor of Paco de Lucía, and that of Sabicas (1912-1990). ), who is considered the most influential in the development and improvement of the flamenco guitar as a concert instrument (before, the guitar was an instrument to accompany the cantaor).
The contribution of Sabicas in flamenco is double on the one hand, it extends the technique of the flamenco guitar (he invented, for example, alzapúa on a string and the strum of three fingers), and on the other he stands out as a category composer, since that his works are characterized not by uniting falsetas – lyrical phrases that the guitarist plays when the cantaor stops singing – but by creating a melodic, rhythmic and harmonic structure perfectly coherent from beginning to end, as in any classical work, which in Flamenco had never been done, except for some contemporary figures-for example, Esteban de Sanlúcar (1910-1989), in creations such as Feria Mantilla or Flamenco Bakers. Few things can be objected to the touch of Sabicas,
The greatest contribution of Paco de Lucía to flamenco is that of having managed to popularize and internationalize it, although this has often meant a reduction in the purity of the touch. He is considered a splendid performer for his virtuosity and his personal style, which can be defined as vigorous and rhythmic. This style manifests itself in the quality of numerous works of the artist. Among them, Between two waters (rumba), La Barrosa (alegrías), Barrio la Viña, Tribute to Niño Ricardo (soleá), Almoraima (bulerías), Guajiras de Lucía and Río Ancho (rumba).
It is also important the effort made by this artist to make known flamenco to the public outside of Spain and have dared to “give it another air” mixing it with other styles, which, although of different melodic and rhythmic structures, can get along well with the. Paco de Lucía has paved the way for this type of experimentation and fusion of flamenco with different types of music.
Another contribution of Paco de Lucía to contemporary flamenco art has been the inclusion of the cajón. This instrument of Afro-Peruvian music is known by Paco de Lucía in Peru at the end of the seventies, by Carlos Caitro Soto de la Colina, a cajonero and a Peruvian composer. Paco de Lucía senses and understands, upon learning about this Peruvian instrument, that it can be a solution to the percussive need that flamenco requires, and adds it, in complicity with Rubem Dantas, to the percussive elements used in his then sextet, becoming the cajón from that moment and with the passage of time in an essential instrument of contemporary flamenco art and, then, other international musical trends.
Paco de Lucía died as a result of a heart attack on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 in the Mexican city of Playa del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo, where he was transferred from Tulum, where he lived practically all year. According to various sources, he played on the beach with his children when he began to feel bad. The artist died in the emergency area of the Hospital Hospiten, which he arrived with a strong chest pain. He had stopped smoking 2 weeks before his death. After his death a year later on Tuesday, March 25, 2015 the Madrid Metro inaugurated a station with the name Paco de Lucía.
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