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Paco de Lucía

Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts 2004

Francisco Sánchez Gómez, known as Paco de Lucia (Algeciras, Cádiz, Spain, 1947 - Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, 2014), started playing guitar at the age of seven and at just fourteen recorded his first album alongside his brother Pepe, in the duo Los Chiquitos de Algeciras. In 1963, he toured abroad with Jose Greco’s company, recording his first solo album, The Fabulous Guitar of Paco de Lucia, in 1967. However, he was to form one of the 20th century’s most important duos alongside flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla.

Paco de Lucía revolutionized flamenco guitar playing and accompaniment by bringing novel chords and rhythmic counterpoint to his musical expression. His creative genius and mastery of the instrument has led to flamenco entering into a dialogue with the classical music of Falla, Rodrigo and Albéniz, and with the bossa nova and jazz of Chick Corea and John McLaughlan, among other styles. His Friday Night in San Francisco album, recorded in 1980, sold over a million copies, a figure that was undreamt-of for a flamenco artist. He formed his famous Sextet in 1981, thereby creating the modern-day concept of the flamenco group. His numerous recording projects include Flamenco Fantasy (1969), Guitar Recital (1971), El duende flamenco de Paco de Lucía (1972), Fuente y caudal (1973), which included the rumba Entre dos aguas, Almoraima (1976), Solo quiero caminar (1981), Siroco (1987), Zyryab (1990) and Luzia (1998). He also composed and performed music for films such as La Sabina, The Hit, Carmen, Montoyas y Tarantos, and Sevillanas. After five years of silence as a composer, in 2004 he presented Cositas buenas, a work acclaimed by critics as a “masterpiece”. Four books have been published on his life and work, one written by Paco de Lucia himself, La guitara de Paco de Lucía (1993).

He received many competitive awards including the National Prize for Flamenco, Cordoba (1968), the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts (1992) and an Honorary Distinction from the Music Awards (2002). He received honorary doctorates from both the University of Cádiz (2009) and Berklee College of Music, Boston. Massachusetts (2010).

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