Paco de Lucía - A Very Australian Tribute
I personally wanted to start this article by saying nothing, and to not just turn the spotlight on to Paco, but on to the immense love and respect that the Australian Flamenco Professionals have for him and his immortality...
To the entire Australian Flamenco Community - This is the private relationship that YOU had with the majestic, Paco de Lucía.The order of the following 40+ quotes is simply based on the order at which they were sent in. Also, and in an attempt to make this space more intimate, I have stripped off ALL surnames.May I suggest that rather than read all of these 3850 words today, you use this page as place to visit occasionally. Read them slowly over the coming weeks as Paco's deaths moves from shock and becomes real!All of the names below are hugely important in the Australian Flamenco scene and I am humbled by the response and honoured to host a permanent place for these emotional stories, heart-felt thoughts, tributes and even a composition and song! - Paul
Our Tribute to Paco de Lucía
Direct from the Australian Flamenco Community
Nati- "I believe Paco has not died.... I think he is living as he has left such richness in flamenco that will never be repeated. He put his life into it, he put his soul into it and his full respect and dignity and time and effort and love and the list goes on.... he made a name for himself that surpasses anything and everything and can never be like that nor close and it's not only that he did it for flamenco but he also showed a discipline which tell us a lot about Paco. ... he taught us it's not only flamenco but the person behind flamenco that was able to make a name for himself and carry his career to the end with dignity and respect. To me he hasn't gone, I see him everything and listen to all his music as always and realise he has done everything so well that he is living wherever you look."
Valentino - "As we mourn the death of a flamenco god we also need to celebrate Paco de Lucía’s life as he has given every flamenco guitarist the dream of reaching the height’s and depths of flamenco in all its forms as he did. For me personally, Paco is the reason why I am a flamenco guitarist today. His pioneering sounds and arrangements have been second to none and have been an influence to every flamenco guitarist. Paco de Lucía, you will be missed immensely from guitarists worldwide and in particular Australia!"
Inge - "We have been blessed to have such an outstanding talent that was here within our lifetime, a truly humble and amazing man who will be in the hearts of Flamenco artists for eternity."
Susi- "I feel for his friends and family because of his sudden unexpected passing. His contribution to flamenco and making it known to the world was immense."
Veronica- "The passing of Paco brings to an end an era of huge innovation in flamenco guitar, music and singing which he bought to us through his group and Cameron de La Isa. We will never see this again in our lifetime. An absolute genius who went before his time and will leave a huge gaping hole in our flamenco lives."
Al - "I first discovered Paco in 1978, the first vinyl I bought that year was of the famous Guitar trio. As a John Mclaughlin fan it was a natural thing to buy this Album. What really hit me was the musical world of Paco De Lucía, his playing, composition and unsurpassable technique.. I quickly searched all the back catalogues and kept current with any releases. Just recently i was thinking 'must be time for a Paco release'. His music has been with me since that year and introduced me to the world of flamenco. It also opened the door to the history of the music and an awareness of what came before. Words can really not express the well of inspiration and jaw dropping magic of his music...that unique marriage of technical mastery and emotional power. His music has, and always will leave me with an elated spirit, a sense of someone who has been touched by the power of god. I rejoice in his wonderful life and the gift he gave to so many people...although any passing from this mortal coil has its tragic elements i am also grateful he passed without long-term sickness, not stricken with any ailment leaving him unable to play (like his father) and left in the company of his children and family and a place which he loved and called home. He will never be forgotten and the guitar community, flamenco or otherwise, have lost the greatest but have gained the most monumental of legacies..'that for which we grieve has also been the source of our delight"
Sophie - "I'm still deeply saddened by his passing, I don't even know how to put it into words. I've been playing his music every day since he passed, night-time is best :)) we have lost another flamenco legend, the other one is Camaron, they were soul mates those two!! I picture them up there somewhere making incredible music together...."
Farida - "Difficult to find the right words to do the great man justice. He has given so much to so many people - This genius has brought beauty, soul and arte to flamencos and non flamencos alike. His music has ignited passion and inspired awe worldwide and he is a fine example to all of us. Thank you Paco de Lucía for your unbelievable talent and creativity, dedication and commitment that given us the gift of your pure mastery"
Nella - "Paco De Lucía brought flamenco to the world. It all began with the seminal album "Friday night in San Francisco". Playing alongside brilliant John McLaughlin and Al di Meola, it was Paco's sheer virtuosity, that saw the world stand up suddenly and turn their eyes to flamenco. No longer was flamenco something that tourists discovered whilst on holidays in Spain etc, or stumbled upon in a late 1950's Hollywood film. So influential was his approach to the flamenco guitar, that now the world can rightly claim him as the father of contemporary flamenco. The dance naturally took its lead from these innovations, with dancers producing choreographies based on more lyrically and rhythmically complex falsettas. Along with Camaron, Paco De Lucía propelled the flamenco artform into the 21st century."
David - "I don't feel worthy to even comment on Paco, all I can say is his passing is such a shock, he's the one who opened a multitude of new possibilities for us all, he will always be the one to whom flamencos will look to, and to whom we are all indebted. flamenco would not be half of what it is today if it wasn't for Paco."
Felipe - "I met him in 1998 backstage after a concert in Santiago, incredibly humble and friendly, he was my idol before I had my first guitar lesson, I am heartbroken."
Teck - "I am only a new student of flamenco guitar. I was so inspired after watching Paco on You Tube a year ago, that I found myself a Spanish flamenco guitar teacher in Perth and started taking lessons. I have been reading and watching Paco De Lucía and Paco Pena and many other great flamenco guitarists of the world. The inspiration from Paco De Lucía, brought me a new dimension in my life learning about the flamenco genre, its music, its dancers, its history, its culture. The maestro will be missed."
Tatiana - "I believe that most people involved in the world of flamenco feel as though they have lost a close relative with the passing of Paco De Lucía. I referred to him jokingly as God in flamenco's Pantheon after seeing his picture in a bar in Granada between Cameron and Carmen Amaya, but I have since heard others refer to him that way. In that holy trinity was a singer, a dancer, and a guitarist, most fitting. The first time I remember seeing him was in Carlos Saura's movie Carmen, acting woodenly but playing brilliantly next to Antonio Gadez, another lion of flamenco who has sadly passed on. If flamenco has been recognized as a treasure and part of the world's cultural heritage, then Paco who gave so much to it should be seen for the great artist and inspiration that he was and will continue to be. Descanse en Paz Paco De Lucía."
Rowland - "Paco, I just wanted to say thanks for introducing me to the love of my life - FLAMENCO!"
Andrew - "Along with millions of people around the world, I have been absorbed by a sense of disbelief and deep sadness ever since hearing the news of Paco's untimely death. As a teenage student of classical guitar living in suburban Brisbane in the 1980's I had never even heard of flamenco, let alone Paco De Lucía. Around this time I was given a recording of what was thought to be a classical guitarist of some sort by a well-meaning relative. It was Paco De Lucía playing solo, and I couldn't believe what I heard. The rhythms, the dynamics, the compositions, the technique. It changed my life. I was instantly drawn in, and have spent my entire life being inspired by this great artist. It is impossible to overstate how desperately he will be missed by us all."
Annalouise - "What makes his genius so profound is that is he knew no bounds. Whether you are a purist, traditionalist or fusionist, Paco was an inspiration to all because he did it all; he dug deeper into tradition and wider into genres only to come a full circle again. He is an ever upward spiral of creativity, invention and truth."
Fernando - "About the passing of Paco De Lucía, a total shock! I felt extremely saddened & empty at the thought of a person who gave me so much inspiration through out my life, a great loss, & I question will there ever be another who even comes close to his brilliance, I wonder... I loved Paco & will miss him for ever!!"
Richard- "Paco De Lucía was more than a guitarist for me. He was more than a flamenco for me. He was a teacher of all things special, fragrant....difficult. A maestro in the true sense of the word. I will miss him dearly."
Angel- "¡¡ Paaa...cooo !! ¡¡ Paco de Lucia !! "Tu" eres inmortal. "Tu" eres una leyenda. "Tu" no has muerto todavia. Estas en nuestras memorias. Tambien en mi pensamiento. Estas viviendo en la Gloria. Tocando tu guitarra en el firmamento."» Composed in Granadina with the second verse in Bulerias.Translation - Paaa...cooo! Paco de Lucia! YOU are immortal. YOU are a legend. YOU have not died yet. You are in our memories, Also in my thoughts. You are living in the glory. Playing your guitar in the sky.
Simone - "Paco De Lucía was one of the first guitarists I ever listened to when I first started exploring flamenco music. To lose him feels like losing a part of flamenco! Before and after Paco. He is irreplaceable, unique and has left a mammoth legacy. I am so thankful that I lived in his time. Paco De Lucía brought flamenco guitar to the world. His music was shared and loved both within and outside flamenco. Ole su arte!"
Tomas A - "I was riding the metro in Madrid and noticed a person reading the Spanish newspaper El País. Printed on its front page - a black and white photo of the greatest Flamenco guitarists to date, and a title below it in semi bold print that read: “Paco de Lucía – The Universal Flamenco, dead at 66 years of Age.” I had to re-read it several times just to be sure I understood what had happened as I battled to make sense of it. The mind, soul and fingers of this semi god had been detained forever. It was said that Paco was an incredibly humble man and maintained an infinitely, proud independence that transfigured into his vocation as an artist. His music liberated Flamenco, elevating it to the fourth dimension of musical grandeur – and he did it without bowing down or seeking others approval, including many young proud flamencos. There was no other who assimilated Flamenco quite in the same way. In many ways he opened a door that was otherwise tightly bolted shut, confronting demos and taking a dangerous journey that later became a mirror for many guitarists to observe. He definitely saved the art form and gave it new life, transforming it into a universal phenomenon. Paco, what more could be said. Genius. Genius. Genius!"
Zea - "Paco De Lucía was so influential in inspiring musicians around the world to take up flamenco guitar and music lovers to appreciate his gift that his legacy will stay with us for ever. This is what happens when you are a genius!"
Chantelle - "A deep thank you, Francisco Sanchez Gomez, for being Paco De Lucía. For your legacy, your music, and your very being. Thank you Maestro xx It has been an honour and an enrichment beyond belief being alive during your time. "
Nasrine - "Soon after becoming immersed in Spanish music, I saw many people referring to Paco as if he were god. His music, his approach, his technique and sheer superiority made him THE reference for not just flamenco, but for music in general. Slowly I began to see why. Now, the loss for Flamenco and Spain is so so big. The next generation has a lot of talent, but no-one will fill his shoes nor those of so many of the greats that we have lost in these last couple of years. On the morning of his death, Diego was restless and could´t sleep. Somehow he know something wasn´t right. We had 3 other flamenco musicians staying with us that night. At 9am one of them knocked on our door with the news. The rest of the day our flamenco guests sang, played Tarantos and shed tears for the fallen maestro. That night in Madrid, Diego and Jose opened with a song from the album "Luzía" that Paco himself sang to Camarón after his passing. This time sung by Diego and dedicated to Paco. Those who were true enthusiasts recognized the song and it was a very emotional moment."
Gerard - "Paco was an inspiration to all flamenco guitarists around the world. In Spain he is already a God, loved because he gave so much to preserving the culture of the Gypsies and for the amazing virtuosity and Duende of his music, something that all Spaniards can be proud of. For me, the world will never be the same, after having such an inspirational figure to aspire to, and like all flamenco artists I was deeply effected by his music and the innovation it possessed. His art will live on forever, and will touch millions of people to come. I give him thanks and may he rest in peace. Gracias Maestro!"
Serena - "I was so sad to hear of Paco's passing and the end of an era in the world of Flamenco. I haven't been able to listen to any of Paco's recordings since hearing the news. I'm sure that will change as time passes but the loss of his genius will be sorely felt worldwide and it saddens me to feel that so many people are grieving also. "
Sebastian - "Flamenco's creative genius, its primordial ambassador, its agitating revolutionary, the most lauded and respected flamenco artist [...] an uncle telling me that things are OK and that flamenco was a much more suitable place to be [...] the man who showed us the way and the world, this art and culture that I love so much. Gracias Paco por todo!"
Antonio V - "His illustrious career has inspired the whole flamenco world and will be remembered as yet another pioneer like Ramon Montoya, Niño Ricardo and Sabicas. I wish him a truly holistic farewell and may his music live on for many generations to come."
Caitlin - "As a dancer, Paco De Lucía's music was a running pulse of how we understand and interpret flamenco. As a musician, I admired Paco for being able to bring traditional flamenco music from relative obscurity to new audiences through an extraordinarily high level of technicality mixed with innovative interpretations and carefully chosen collaborations. While we are irreparably poorer for his loss, we are richer for the considerable legacy he has left us."
Juan - "I have been in mourning as I grew up with Paco De Lucía as my musical mentor. As soon as I found out the dreadful news I felt tears running down my face. My next task is to record a homage album to him."
Zoe - "Flamenco es hoy día..flamenco es nuestro y flamenco es alrededor. Mantenemos la distancia entre flamenco tradicional y flamenco moderno si no fuera por Paco..el es el enlace.."
Manolo - "Que en paz descanse Maestro, que bastante se lo ha currao."
Tomás D - "Paco De Lucía brought incredible music to our ears, and elevated flamenco to new, soaring heights which we flamencos are privileged to scale. He was an indelible mark of quality."
Marina - "A holy grail fit for kings: The music of Paco is our addiction. A rich and genius fuelled art was being born every time Paco created his music. His music created the flamenco Holy Grail, a flamenco kingdom fit for kings. His music will survive not only our life time but that also the lives of our children’s children and beyond. Gracias…for the inspiration maestro."
Antonio S - "Tomorrow I leave for Australia to blow this tiny instrument that sounded during the last 10 years alongside the maestro and companion Paco De Lucía, who abandoned this dimension a few days ago leaving an irreplaceable void in the heart of humanity. I only have words of thanksgiving for a good man who brightened the lives of all those who allowed themselves to be infected with the genius of his music and his persona. Today I was able to hug his family and friends and cry with them over the life journey of this exceptional, unique and irreplaceable human being.Thank you Paco, for allowing me to be part of your world for so long.Thank you Paco, for everything I have learned by your side.Thank you Paco, for sneaking me into the greatness of Flamenco without a care about what the purists would think.Thank you Paco for teaching me that humility is the only path towards excellence.Thank you Paco for organizing my scale of values in life and helping me distinguish what things are truly important.Thank you Paco for having existed.Thank you Paco, my friend.Thank you."
Florian - "To say what Paco meant to any flamenco guitarist is almost impossible, at the risk of sounding like a cliché... "God' is probably the closest word I can think of that describes it. I had a little habit of asking every flamenco guitarist I came across, "If you had to pick your one very favorite and influential guitarist who would it be?" The answer was almost always the same “ – Paco.” It took me a while to learn, recognize and realize that every modern player I thought was so original and "modern" was in fact so heavily influenced by Paco, that he was the father of modern guitar and technique... You always hear those things regurgitated from other people but it doesn't register or hit home enough until you notice it for yourself and then you realize, wow he really is everything to flamenco guitar. There will be plenty more players with technique as good and possibly even better than Paco's but none will ever mean as much in the history of flamenco guitar, composition, influence. He is the only flamenco guitarist I can think of that successfully managed to completely reinvent himself and his style for every album and make it sound completely different from the previous. Every amazing flamenco guitarist that exists today does so because Paco inspired him and changed his perception of possible and impossible. I am proud to just be able to say “ I shared the same Earth for some time as the Maestro.” Thank you, Rest in Peace and you will never ever be forgotten."
Chachy - "An infinite loss for the arts, but also a call to remember our enormous debt to this visionary for opening Flamenco's doors to those out side of Spain. Let's pay it back by honouring and spreading this precious gift, discipline, "Arte" or way of life, as we want to call it, in the best way each can. ¡Óle tú maestro de maestros!"
Chari- "With the passing of Paco De Lucía we have lost a musician's musician, an artist who transcended flamenco, a cultural ambassador and a special person who defined the way we all experience flamenco today. I feel fortunate to have been a flamenca during the life of Paco De Lucía."Aloysius- "Tio Sabas is the tune that keeps going around my head - as a composition on par with anything from any time or place. I thought about listing all my favourites but the list is so long. The sheer quantity of his high quality output really sets him apart - so many have one or two great albums. When students ask me which of Paco's albums to listen to I really don't know where to start."
Marduk - "I feel like the world I live in has paused, Paco's passing feels like a full stop in the middle of a sentence. I cant help but wonder what he was going to do next. I honestly can not think of anything that inspires me more than listening to Paco De Lucía play guitar, no matter how hard something is I can think about what Paco has achieved and I know that with hard work damn near anything is possible in art. We have been so privileged to follow this amazing mans career. Everybody who witnessed his art took something from it. The recordings Paco left behind will continue to be a huge part of my life in the future, this is a spirit that will never leave my side."
Laura - "Very very sad news about Paco. He died too young but what an incredible legacy he has left. That’s the beauty of music. A few hundred years from now, people will still be getting joy and inspiration from his work."
Johnny - "Paco De Lucía, my idol, the greatest. As a young kid and all through my life he was an inspiration, a guide, a way of being, and he will continue to be." - "Te tengo en mi alma Paco."
Paloma - "The music of PACO was his heart converted in flamenco music and his heart was big!" EDITORS NOTE: There are many important Australian Flamenco Professionals not included in the above list. If you are one of them and you missed my email footnote to subscribers, calling out for contributions or you missed the Facebook page posts, please add your tribute to the comments below. This page is for you!Thanks to Marvin for allowing us to officially use his portrait for this very Australian tribute to the eternal soul of Francisco Sánchez Gómez, your Paco De Lucía (1947 - 2014).