Paco De Lucia revolutionized flamenco guitar playing, and contributed to the renewal of flamenco by integrating sounds and instruments from other forms of music. He is the premier flamenco guitarist in Spain, Paco de Lucia.
Francisco Sánchez Gómez was born in Algeciras, a city in the province of Cádiz, in the Southernmost tip of Spain on December 21st, 1947. His stage name is homage to his mother Lucia Gómez. In 1958, at only age 11, de Lucia made his first public appearance and a year later he was awarded a special prize in the Jerez flamenco competition. At 14 he was touring with the flamenco troupe of dancer Jose Greco. He worked with Greco for three seasons; it was while on tour with Greco in the United States that he met the great Sabicas, an influential guitarist, who encouraged him to pursue a more personal style. Back in Spain, he joined Festival Flamenco Gitano, an annual flamenco showcase tour that lasted for seven years. He recorded his first album in 1964, at the age of 18
After his first solo record, success arrived in 1967 with “La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucia.” With this record de Lucia began to distance himself from the influence of past masters and by “Fantasia Flamenca,” recorded in 1969, he had defined his own style. His superb technique was displayed in well structured pieces that departed from the flamenco tradition of theme and variations.
In 1968, he met Camarón de la Isla, one of the premier flamenco singers. Their association has been chronicled on more than 10 records. Paco de Lucia's new style became more evident in “El Duende Flamenco,” (1972) “Fuente Y Caudal,” (1973) (which included the hit “Entre Dos Aguas”) and “Almoraima” (1976) which some consider a masterpiece. They were followed by “Paco de Lucia Interpreta a Manuel de Falla,”(1980), a superb tribute to the classical composer who was an admirer of flamenco music, and, in 1981, “Solo Quiero Caminar.”
He has been criticized by flamenco die hards for his forays into other styles (his own sextet, organized in 1981), includes bass, drums, and saxophone) and his high profile collaborations, especially with jazz musicians, most notably with pianist Chick Corea and fellow guitarist John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell and Al DiMeola. But the often dazzling results of these collaborations have been documented in several releases including the guitar trio albums “Castro Marin,” (1979) “Passion Grace and Fire,” (1982) and “Friday Night in San Francisco.” (1981) He has also recorded soundtracks for several Spanish films.He is also credited for introducing the Peruvian cajon into flamenco, as he brought one back to Spain after his many travels worldwide.The cajon is now becoming more noticable with the new generation of players.