Around the World: Spain’s Paco de Lucia

21 Mar

Paco de Lucia

Paco de Lucia's 1990 album Zyryab

Paco de Lucia is the man most familiar with the taste of Spain on one of the most famous and popular guitar albums ever made — 1981’s Friday Night in San Francisco, a live recording de Lucia made with John McLaughlin and Al DiMeola. Every night is Friday night with any of the cuts from that album.

de Lucia was born Francisco Sanchez Gomez in 1947 in the southern Spanish city of Algeciras, across the bay from the Rock of Gibraltar. Perhaps he could see the Rock from his home. It was there in Andalusia, in the south of Spain, according to almost all biographical accounts, that he was raised to be a guitar player in the flamenco tradition by his father, also a guitar player.

He took his stage name from his mother’s name Lucia Gomez. 

Said Guitar Magazine’s Ralph Denyer on the liner notes to a self-titled de Lucia album: “Lucia is one of the world’s great solo guitarists . . . You don’t have to make any conscious comparisons; just listen to any recordings of Paco’s contemporaries. No contest.”

He wrote those words in 1975. Thirty-six years later, they’re still true.

Next Monday’s Around the World: Italy

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