It is impossible to sum up in words the transcendence of Paco de Lucía for flamenco, and music in general. The greatest guitarist of this art was a before and after, and in this biography we want to pay tribute to the unique and unforgettable genius of Algeciras.

Biografía de Paco de Lucía

Paco de Lucía, the youngest of five brothers, first plucked the strings of a guitar at the age of six. His father, Antonio Sánchez Pecino was a guitarist, known in the Campo de Gibraltar area as “El Gitano Rubio”. This father figure will be fundamental in the child’s development as an artist and in his professional career. Ramón, his older brother, who also played guitar, was another of his teachers.

His mother, Luzía Gomes Gonçalves, was that protective mother to whom Paco would dedicate an album and to whom he always referred to with devotion and love. From her, if he was in the street “el de Lucía”, he would take the surname by which we know Francisco Sánchez Gómez, his real name. “We were a close-knit family with a wonderful father and a very good mother,” he said.

From obligation to passion

At the age of nine, and due to the family’s economic difficulties, Paco had to make the most of his talent on the guitar. He studied the technique for hours on end without leaving the house. Classes at the school were over. “Sometimes I think that if I had not been born in my father’s house, I would now be a nobody”, the maestro would confess years later.

The whole family made a living from flamenco, either singing (like his sister) or playing (like himself). De Lucía performed for the first time at the Terraza cinema in Algeciras at the end of 1959 with his brother Pepe, with whom he formed a duo called Los Chiquitos de Algeciras.

Travel to Madrid

In search of a better life and perhaps the success of one of their children for Paco’s father was very confident in the luck of the flamenco artist – they moved to Madrid. Paco was 15 years old.

In the Spanish capital, he worked in the company of José Greco, with whom he spent months throughout America. He met Sabicas, who encouraged him to leave the school of Niño Ricardo to start his own path. Both Niño Ricardo and Sabicas were a source of inspiration for Paco de Lucía throughout his work.

In 1964, he recorded his first solo album under the name of Paco de Lucía, although he still combined it with the name Paco de Algeciras. He also recorded with Ricardo Modrego and, as a result of his reputation for talent, he began to accompany important singers on the scene at the time, such as. Fosforito o El Lebrijano.

In 1967, he publishedLa fabulosa guitarra de Paco de Lucíahis first major success. The influences of Niño Ricardo can still be felt, and glimpses of his personality can already be glimpsed. In 1969, Fantasía Flamenca arrived in the world, the record that clearly reveals his style. Paco was 22 years old.

Four years later, he released the album Fuente y Caudal, which included Entre dos aguas, a rumba that the artist composed “de relleno” and which would become one of his greatest hits for the rest of his life. It was released as a single and sold over 300,000 copies in 1974. This track is considered a masterpiece (even though rumba was not the best regarded palo by aficionados), introducing bongoes and electric bass for the first time in flamenco. Paco’s career was at its peak.

When he met Camarón

When Camarón already had a position in Torres Bermejas, although far from his abilities, Paco de Lucía noticed him while they were sharing one of the usual jamborees in that environment. They would work together from 1969 to 1979, develop a close friendship and record nine albums. Camarón had already recorded a first album with Antonio Arenas. and those made with the guitarist would read “with the special collaboration of Paco de Lucía” on the kitsch vinyl covers of that period. Their bond, broken years later due to rights issues, something of Camarón’s particular life and a little due to the role of Paco’s father, who controlled the production of these works, would be recovered episodically, but would finally end up hopelessly.

The two admired each other, and that decade of collaboration made them in references of the purest flamenco and, at the same time, of its renovation. They even created a new flamenco palo: the canastera. Paco would have wanted to be a cantaor and, Camarón, a guitarist. They understood each other and, as De Lucía would say, they had fun playing the music they liked. En palabras del guitarrista: “I never wanted to be a concert pianist, because what I liked since I was a child was singing. I hid behind the guitar. I am a frustrated cantaor”.

The flamenco guitarist and jazz

In this tireless quest of the genius from Algeciras to evolve the art of flamenco, Paco made several immersions in jazz. For example, in 1967, he recorded Flamenco Jazz with saxophonist Pedro Iturralde.

But the 1980s were the key period in this fusion of the two genres in his compositions and performances, which contributed so much to the evolution of the former. In 1980, he formed his famous sextet, with which he toured the world for years. An unprecedented formation for flamenco at that time. The group consisted of two guitars: his own and that of his brother, Ramón de Algeciras; on vocals, another brother and genius, Pepe de Lucía; on flute and sax, Jorge Pardo; the electric bass belonged to Carles Benavent; and on percussion, Rubem Dantas.

He also performs with other jazz guitarists, such as John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell and Al Di Meola, with whom he has toured internationally and recorded three albums.

Great phrases

“I hid behind a guitar out of shyness”. In Época (2009)

Great phrases

“The guitar has given me the ability to express myself to the rest of the world without using words”.

Great phrases

“I worry a lot about failure, I don’t know if it’s vanity, need for affection, or both”.

Because this interest in jazz was the fruit of his love for flamenco and his aim to give it a deserved place in music. He never left the purest style of flamenco aside, and did so until 2014, with his last album, which he completed before his death, on the market, Andalusian Song, he established himself as the best flamenco guitarist, perfect, the most virtuoso.

Highlights of his importance in the genre were the year 1975 –the first time that a flamenco guitarist takes the stage of the Teatro Real in Madrid – and in 1991, when he recorded the Concierto de Aranjuez with his very personal style and becomes one of the best interpretations of Joaquín Rodrigo’s works.

In 2004, the genius received the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts and, in 2010, he was invested Doctor Honoris Causa of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, the most prestigious and important music school in the world. Two awards that represented a great deal for the consideration of flamenco.

The Paco de Lucía Foundation is born

The Teatro Real in Madrid was the chosen venue on 24 September 2021 for the presentation of the Paco de Lucía Foundation, the same stage where Paco de Lucía gave the first flamenco concert in 1975.

The bailaora Sara Baras, Gabriela Canseco, president of the Foundation and widow of the artist, and Pepe de Lucía, his brother, took part in the event.

The Foundation was born from the responsibility and enthusiasm of the family, artists, friends, and music lovers of the genius, to create a cultural project that contributes to exploring, understand, and disseminating his legacy… Another of the aims is to continue with the guitarist’s desire to “contribute to raising flamenco to the top and giving it prestige”.

Biografía de Paco de Lucía



21-12-1947 in Algeciras (Cádiz, Andalusia)
25-02-2014 in Playa del Carmen (Mexico)

Marriages and children

First marriage: Casilda Varela Ampuero (1977-1997)

Second wife: Gabriela Canseco (2000-2014)

Children: Curro Sánchez Varela, Casilda de Lucía, Lucía de Lucía, Antonia de Lucía, Diego de Lucía

A legend forever

Paco de Lucía dies in Mexico at the age of 66 after being admitted to hospital for feeling unwell. In this country, in Playa del Carmen, a small Caribbean town in the state of Quintana Roo, I spent months of rest and tranquillity. The Spanish government agrees to award him the Gold Medal for Merit at Work posthumously. With his death, the legend is born.

Because his relevance in flamenco is indisputable and it is the legacy that will make him immortal forever. The position of the guitar, the inclusion of instruments unheard of in flamenco (from the electric bass to bongoes or the flute), or the importation of the Peruvian cajón (later to become the flamenco cajón) to Spain in the 1970s. are today some of the milestones of his career and examples of his legacy.

He gave flamenco a new aesthetic and harmony. As he always explained, “with one hand holding on to tradition and with the other scratching, searching”, forced the harmonic and expressive limits of traditional flamenco, without ever leaving them, its structure and form, to provide it with an innovative, richer and more complex harmonic, creative and interpretative universe. He dared to change flamenco, from within, and to combine it with other music.

Moreover, he was determined and concerned, from a very young age, and as he would never cease to do throughout his career, to open the doors to flamenco and achieve its musical recognition. He did this by first taking it out of the tablaos, until then almost unique territory of this music, to take it to large venues and auditoriums. Afterwards, or in parallel, by exporting it worldwide.

Complete discography of Paco de Lucía

  • Two flamenco guitars in stereo – 1964

  • 12 éxitos para dos guitarras flamencas – 1965

  • Canciones de García Lorca para guitarra – 1965

  • Canciones andaluzas para dos guitarras – 1967

  • Dos guitarras flamencas en América Latina – 1967

  • La fabulosa guitarra de Paco de Lucía – 1967

  • 12 hits para 2 guitarras flamencas – 1969

  • Fantasía flamenca de Paco de Lucía – 1969

  • Hispanoamérica – 1969

  • Paco de Lucía/Ramón de Algeciras Hispanoamérica – 1969

  • El mundo del flamenco – 1971

  • Recital de guitarra – 1971

  • El duende flamenco – 1972

  • Fuente y caudal – 1973

  • Paco de Lucía en vivo desde el Teatro Real – 1975

  • Almoraima – 1976

  • Friday night in San Francisco – 1980

  • Entre dos aguas – 1981

  • Solo quiero caminar – 1981

  • Passion, grace and fire – 1982

  • One summer night – 1984

  • Castro Marín – 1987

  • Siroco – 1987

  • Zyryab – 1990

  • Concierto de Aranjuez – 1991

  • Paco de Lucía performs Manuel de Falla – 1992

  • Live in América – 1993

  • Paco de Lucía, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola – 1996

  • Antología – 1997

  • Luzía- 1998

  • Paco de Lucía / Integral – 2003

  • Por descubrir – 2003

  • Cositas buenas – 2004

  • Nueva antología – ed. Príncipe de Asturias – 2004 2004

  • Gold – 2005

  • Paco de Lucía, en vivo, conciertos España 2010 – 2011

Some of their favourites

“These are the albums that I value the most, because they are the ones to which I have dedicated my greatest effort. They are the ones that I consider to make up my creative career within flamenco music, the ones I have suffered the most and enjoyed the most”, explained the artist on his official website:

Biografía de Paco de Lucía
Biografía de Paco de Lucía
Biografía de Paco de Lucía