Saturday, December 17, 2011

Paco De Lucia -Flamenco and Philosophy

Paco De Lucia

I've read that many of the most educated in music think that Paco De Lucia is the most advanced guitarist of any genre of music anywhere in the world. I can't claim to second that notion, or dispute it in any way. I only claim that Paco De Lucia is an astounding musician that few can compare to on several levels, but I think what is important here is to hear what Paco De Lucia has to say about himself:
"I am a flamenco player. I travel around the whole world giving concerts. So when I meet musicians anywhere, I want to know what they are doing, what music they are playing. I want to make music with the ones that interest me - so I make fusion music in the natural course of my life. I have played with many fusion artists in this country and this experience has been good. But flamenco music is my way of life, and it is the root of my music feelings. I have not the capacity to learn another culture's entire music, even if I wanted to. I must be very careful about what elements I bring from around the world to flamenco, because my music must be flamenco.
This music is in our lives everywhere. I go to a party with you in America, and there will be many people there drinking and talking. Thirty conversations going on in the same room all at once! Such confusion! In my village at a party we would play music, and all those who wanted to would play, clap, sing, or be with us in some way. Everyone in the room would be in the SAME conversation. . ."

Paco De Lucia

Paco De Lucia

Paco de Lucía was born Francisco Sánchez Gómez in Algeciras which is a town in the Spanish province of Cadiz, and he was born on the twenty first day of December, 1947. His father introduced him to the guitar at a very young age, and it has been said that he was forced to play for up to twelve hours per day during his youth. Whether or not that was a healthy thing or not I will not debate - but what I will say is that it has certainly paid off for the music world, and provided Paco with the preeminence that he is renowned the world over for.
Paco De Lucia is known in the music world for his extreme dexterity and musical virtuosity What exactly is a Virtuoso? I'll let Wikipedia explain:
"...a virtuoso was, originally, a highly accomplished musician, but by the nineteenth century the term had become restricted to performers, both vocal and instrumental, whose technical accomplishments were so pronounced as to dazzle the public."
My friends, Paco De Lucia is more than a virtuoso musician. Paco De Lucia is a philosopher musician, and before I get into that. Let's hear and see a video of Paco De Lucia

The Music Philosophy Of Paco De Lucia

When asked what the school or training ground for a Flamenco Guitarist was, Paco De Lucia had this to say:
Your school is the music around you, made by the people you see, the people you make music with. And, as it is in any music, the great ones will spend some time working with the young players who show special talent. you must understand that a Gypsy's life is a life of anarchy. That is a reason why the way of Flamenco music is a way without discipline, as you know it. We do not try to organize with the mind, we don't go to a school to find out. We just live, and as I said before, music is everywhere in our lives.
Flamenco music is a style with huge variations, improvisation, and complex rhythmic patterns - especially for persons in the USA who were raised on the mind toxins on Rupert Murdoch owned FM radio stations. Comparing the Flamenco of someone like Paco De Lucia to American pop music is like comparing the space shuttle to a bottle rocket. American popular music is pathetic already - but when you compare it to someone that spent twelve hours a day learning during his youth, and was born with spectacular talents to begin with - well, if you've read this far, you get the picture.
What is so very interesting about all of this is that music is something that the irrational crowds of people that claim to be "rationalist" are trying to analyze it all and boil it down to some sort of math or science - now, it's not a problem when a man or woman tries to learn and understand a thing, what becomes a problem is when they try to explain a spiritual experience such as music with human kind's dry science. Science is always there, and can always be used to describe how things work, or how things happen - but it's just a rote, mechanical dissertation on the mechanics of a process or processes that are beyond the realm of humans. Music is spiritual in nature. Music is communication, and communication not only with other humans, but with God, or God(s) - if you will. It is beyond math and science.
But let me let Paco finish this out for us all:
". . . .the old is pure; but the new can also be pure if the feeling is right. Pure music is the music you do with your heart, what you do with your spirit. When you have that, your music will be in good taste. I do think it is important in this time of change that we keep the old music of purity.. . . .if you have not emotion, your music is nothing."

Super Trio

The first time that I'd ever heard the music of Paco De Lucia it was with theSuper Trio, and the Album, Friday Night In San Francisco, which I'd borrowed on cassette tape and then made a copy for myself. The music of the Super Trio, which also features Al Di Meola and John Mahavishnu McLaughlin - was so intense for me that it was painful to hear. How could anyone play that fast?
Impossible! It's enough to make you want to sell whatever guitars you have right then and right there - no one could ever compare to those three! <----That was my impression.
Well, it all starts to make a bit more sense when one realizes that Paco is playing with his entire right hand, really, and not just using a pick. I'm a picker, mostly - but a musician is a musician because he likes music, and not because he or she just likes one kind of music. So I still knock about on the guitar. There's no need to EVER play that fast. Music is to be enjoyed for it's own sake. Music is not a contest - although there are many contest that one may enter.


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