Flamenco Is Alive After Paco De Lucía

Flamenco Is Alive After Paco De Lucía

Enlarge this image toggle caption Luis Malibran/Courtesy of the artist Luis Malibran/Courtesy of the artist

The guitarist Paco de Lucía died a lot more than three years ago, leaving behind an immense effect on flamenco music. He extended what once was a very strict, traditional form with the addition of jazz and community music influences, and by collaborating with musicians beyond the genre.

Associates of his last touring band, led by guitarist-maker Javier Limón, are on the road as being the Flamenco Legends, revisiting the late guitarist’s music while paying tribute to his legacy.

The tour is fittingly called The Paco de Lucía Job, and Limón says the loss of their namesake will be felt for a long time.

“We lost a leader that was a great deal larger than flamenco itself,” he says. “Paco de Lucía was like [Astor] Piazzolla or like [Carlos] Gardel for the tango. Paco de Lucía was like [Antonio Carlos] Jobim for bossa nova, or like Miles Davis for jazz. And I think we’re going to need decades to have a musician or a guitarist that big.”

The flamenco guitar was mostly an instrument to accompany singers. After that came the great guitarists of the genre: Ramón Montoya, his nephew Carlos Montoya, Sabicas and Niño de Ricardo.

Fellow guitarist José Fernández Torres, better referred to as Tomatito, says that de Lucía learned from all of them.

“But he gone beyond them,” Torres says. “He changed the music, he changed just how of playing, he changed flamenco harmony. He performed everything.”

Limón says that besides getting the “best flamenco guitarist ever before,” de Lucía was also a consummate composer and musician.

“He was an excellent maker,” he says. “He was the maker of Camarón de la Isla’s albums and many more. So he produced, as a producer, a new audio with this band.”

Given that the band is in tour, people might ask, “Why present programs with de Lucía’s band without the leader?” Which, Limón says, is a fair question.

“All these artists, all these young users of the band, are very great leaders and are very great soloists,” he says. “So now we have the ability of get deeper in every one of them. So possibly without Paco, the audio is there, the audio of the band is there. Which has a very important value.”

Nevertheless, another flamenco guitarist, Raúl Rodríguez, says that what’s missing in today’s flamenco scene is a guiding imaginative figure.

“For many decades, flamenco has been thought of as music that’s previously made, previously finished,” Rodríguez says. “So now, it isn’t so much that we miss Paco de Lucía, it’s that we urgently need to have creative thoughts within our music thus we don’t repeat the old scheme, or else it’s going to fall asleep.”

Though the void remaining by de Lucía will take a long time to fill, Limón believes that the future looks bright, given that artists learn the roots of flamenco and embrace the open up ears de Lucía taken to the music.

“We have to really get deep in the data of rhythm, harmony, audio, melody,” Limón says. “And quality, fundamentally. It’s about quality.”

He adds that there’s still a good amount of room to create flamenco a bigger musical vocabulary. And it’s more crucial than ever before to keep participating in it for as much audiences as possible.

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