Saturday, October 3, 2009

Paco De Lucia - Flamenco Guitar Player

By Ricky Sharples

Paco de Lucia was born in 1947 began studying the guitar as a child, and started his career as a professional guitar player at the age of thirteen with Jose Greco's flamenco dance company. Paco spent much of his time locked in his room practicing on his guitar.

The most obvious result to friends and family of Paco's devotion to his music was the emergence of a blindingly fast picado technique. Picado is the name for the rest stroke used by flamenco guitar players to play scale passages. This fast picking was heavily featured in Paco de Lucia's early flamenco guitar records and concerts. Paco also began making use of his interest in jazz to bring some new sounds to flamenco guitar solos.

For many years Flamenco guitar solo playing was dominated by Sabicas who drew heavily on the works of Spanish classical music composers for his falsetas - the themes used to make up flamenco guitar solos and instrumental breaks in flamenco ensemble performances. Paco de Lucia made a break from the influence of Sabicas, sparking a new interest in flamenco guitar playing from a generation of young Spanish men who had been more interested in American music than flamenco.

Paco de Lucia spent the years 1969 to 1977 playing and recording with the legendary flamenco singer Cameron de la Isla. The whole of Spain fell under the spell of Cameron's unique singing style and Paco's time with him produced a collection of unforgettable records and videos.

In 1979 Paco de Lucia toured with jazz guitarists John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell. The power of Paco's guitar playing in his performances with these jazz greats is recorded in a video called Meeting Of The Spirits. Paco is on record telling of his struggles to learn how to improvise in order to keep up with his fellow guitarists.

This trio of guitar virtuosos was finalized when Al Dimeola replaced Larry Coryell and they have continued to perform together. Paco also performs with his own jazz influenced group, the Paco De Lucia Sextet. The wider audience of music lovers was exposed to the beauty of Paco De Lucia's flamenco guitar playing in 1995 when he played on Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman? by Bryan Adams.

In the early nineteen seventies Paco recorded a double album of the works of Spanish composer Manuel De Falla. This was not particularly well received but his 1991 performance of Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez gave Paco some street cred with classical guitar fans.

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1 comment:

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