Paco de Lucia, Flamenco Legend, Dead at 66

Paco de Lucia, whose flamenco music inspired millions of fans around the world, died Wednesday in a resort in Mexico. He was 66.

The New York Times reports de Lucia’s death as a result of a heart attack during a vacation with his children in Playa del Carmen, a resort town in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Paco is most famous for his distinct flamenco style: mixing classical and jazz guitar with traditional flamenco music. His musical signature gained a cult following of flamenco lovers all over the world.

His death was announced to the press by the mayor of Algeciras, a town south of Spain where de Lucia was born.

The town is currently in a two-day mourning to grieve their hometown hero’s passing.

Paco de Lucia, born Francisco Sanchez Gomez, was born in a family of musicians. His father, Antonio Gomez, was a flamenco guitarist. All of Paco’s brothers played the guitar as well.

He was a child prodigy. By the age of five, de Lucia could already play the guitar, especially flamenco music. In an interview with Guitar Player dated 1994, Paco said:

“My father and all my brothers played guitar, so before I picked it up, before I could speak, I was listening. Before I started to play, I knew every rhythm of the flamenco.”

One of de Lucia’s most famous piece is Entre dos Aguas, “Between Two Waters” in English. Included in his compilation album of the same name, Entre dos Aguas became one of Spain’s most popular guitar tunes.

He was also popular for teaming up with Camaron de la Isla, regarded as one of the greatest flamenco singers of all time. He died in 1992.

Flamenco fans, including well-known musicians and artists, are grieving the untimely death of Paco de Lucia.

In correspondence with BBC, admirers of the late flamenco legend expressed their sadness over his passing.

Musician Christian Bouic said he was shocked and greatly saddened by the passing of his musical model. He says he and the rest of the London flamenco community have been greatly influenced by Paco de Lucia, ever since his early rise to popularity in Spain.

Kitka, a fan from Schenzhen, China had this to say about the great guitarist:

Paco Lucia – Every inch a musical genius and a gentleman in the bargain”

Paco Pena, another legendary flamenco guitarist, described Paco in a tribute with BBC Radio 4’s Frontrow:

“Once in a while someone comes along in a musical discipline who changes everything, who sees things that others have not seen up to that point, and Paco de Lucia was one of these people.”

The famed guitarist has received many accolades during his lifetime, including a couple of Latin Grammy in 2004 and 2005. Paco de Lucia has also received from Spain the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts and the Prince Asturias Award for the Arts, for being the “most universal of flamenco artists”.

[Image from Wikimedia.org]

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