Arts, Culture & Media

Flamenco music legend Paco de Lucía dies at 66

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Credit: Marco Werman

Paco de Lucia in the Green Room at the Paramount Theater in Boston on April 11, 2012.

Flamenco musician Paco de Lucía died Tuesday in Mexico.

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For many people, de Lucía's 1981 recording "Friday Night in San Francisco" was the first introduction to the style he innovated.

He entertained audiences around the world with his lightning-speed flamenco rhythms and finger work.

From a poor background, de Lucía's formal schooling ended when he was 11, and he was soon out playing flamenco in local bars.

"I was a very poor guy," said de Lucía in an interview before a concert in Boston in 2012. "My aspiration in life was to survive.  And I think that the people who suffer have more creativity than the people who have everything."

De Lucía says he spent time all over the world.

"[I've been] traveling [since I was] 12 when I came to this country, playing with José Greco," he said. "Greco was a very well-known dancer. And I came with my brother Pepe. He was a singer, and I played the guitar. I was a kid. And we spent one year touring in a bus all over the United States. And from that time, until now, I didn't stop. I am tired. But it's the only way I have to communicate with the people. I play music, with music, you can go anywhere."

De Lucía reflected on his time on the road and his regrets.

"I have the sensation that I would like to have another life because I should like to learn harmonies and music," he said. "If I [were] 20-years-old, I would come to Boston to Berklee [College of Music] to learn harmonies, you know. I don't read music. Everything I did, I did it through my intuition."

Paco de Lucía suffered a heart attack while on vacation at the Caribbean beach resort of Playa del Carmen and was taken to a hospital where he died.

In the first video below, you can see part of my conversation with de Lucía from 2012.

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