9 countries, 2 continents, 21,383 miles. ‘La guitarra vuela. Soñando a Paco de Lucía’ is the story of a trip between Spain and Latin America, a tour with a unique musical instrument in the starring role, the peak in the life and work of a key artist in the history of music.
The final guitar of Paco de Lucía, ‘La Maestro’, has been off on holiday courtesy of Iberia to play a tribute tour. One guitar, major artists, brand new concerts, a documentary, a scholarship for two guitarists to keep training at the world’s most important and prestigious music college, Berklee College of Music, an album and a plane; these are the main ingredients of this wonderful project that pays homage to the musician, the instrument and the universality of an art that both embodied.
This is the story of a trip between Spain and Latin America with a unique protagonist: the last guitar designed by the genius from Algeciras, which he never had the chance to unveil to the world. From Mallorca, Jerez de la Frontera and Lisbon to the United States and Latin America, this musical instrument has been travelling, keeping alive the magic of its master, Paco de Lucía. ‘The Guitar Flies’ is the tribute that the music producer Javier Limón, the creative producer Jorge Martínez and Iberia make to a universal genius. La Maestro flew from hand to hand; from those of Carlinhos Brown to those of Alejandro Sanz, stopping off at Tomatito’s or those of Muñequitos de Matanzas, delivering anecdotes, nostalgia and a lot of art along the way.
13 Cities. 9 countries. 2 continents. 34,412 kilometres. A unique journey paying homage to this incomparable artist, starring an exclusive guitar.
Some twenty artists have payed homage to the man who took flamenco where it had never before been. They have unsheathed La Maestro to pay an incomparable tribute, all to keep the Paco de Lucia drea, alive.
With a Portuguese father and Mozambican mother, Mariza is the fado singer who best knows how to dialogue with flamenco and the singer who has universalised flamenco. She has collaborated with Javier Limón and Carlos Saura and has sung with Concha Buika, Sergio Dalma and Miguel Poveda, among others For this occasion, Mariza sang a fado track accompanied by the Portuguese guitarist and composer, Pedro Jóia.
The Mexican singer, with nine studio albums under her belt, is one of the best voices of current Latin jazz. Here, she played along with Javier Limón on the guitar and Gregoire Maret, one of the world's most famous harmonica players who has redefined the role of the harmonica in modern jazz.
Berklee is the world’s most prestigious music school. It hosts a large pool of musicians, a melting pot of nationalities that make the legacy of Paco de Lucia, a man who always liked to surround himself with young talent, remain alive forever. Here, the guitar was played by various students from countries such as Greece, Uruguay and Brazil, each with their own musical imprint.
Bass player, percussionist, pianist, singer, arranger, producer and star of Latin jazz, Alain Perez was one of the members of the last sextet that toured with Paco de Lucia. He was also his guide and fellow travel companion throughout the island.
Together with Alain Pérez, they are living legends of Afro-Cuban music. One of its best exponents is the genre guaguancó, which exemplifies the perfect blend of African and flamenco. According to Mongo Santamaría, one of this genre's best-known performers, "guaguancó emerged when the Afro-Cubans tried to sing flamenco”.
Without a doubt, one of the most international Spanish artists. He has sold over 25 million copies of his albums worldwide and has won 17 Latin Grammy awards and three Anglo Grammys. A great friend of Paco de Lucía, who he admired and loved almost like his father. With La Maestro, Alejandro Sanz performed a very emotional rendition of his famous track ‘Corazón Partio’.
José Darío Martínez ‘Chabuco’ became a musician thanks to the late nights of revelry shared with his father, also a musician, and fellow troubadores and vallenato composers in his native Colombia. His vallenato, mixed with jazz, bolero and flamenco, has crossed borders.
Musically trained in Berklee, an institution where she is currently an adviser, Mónica Giraldo pivots around two axes: one that is based on traditional Colombian rhythms and another that is seduced by the airs of various cultures of the world.
One of the most popular Uruguayan musicians, he is almost an inimitable percussionist and an exceptional singer. ‘El Negro’ Rada has had a major impact on the development of modern candombe, mixing it with other styles and instruments that traditionally were strangers to this rhythm. For this occasion he was accompanied by his daughter Julieta Rada who, aged 25 years and with three albums already under her belt, is collaborating on the modernisation of this traditional rhythm.
A Uruguayan tango and folklore guitarist and accompanist to singers such as Alfredo Zitarrosa and Roberto Goyeneche, he has a seven-album discography. Although he has developed most of his work in his native Uruguay, he has toured Latin America performing his guitar art on different stages.
Fernando ‘Lobo’ Núñez is a renowned Afro-Uruguayan percussionist and luthier. When not playing the drums, he dedicates himself to crafting them in his workshop, which is one of the world's most important.
A guitarist, composer and singer who produces jazz, Latin jazz, tango, folklore, blues, bossa nova, flamenco and rock, Salinas played with Paco and even composed a song with him. His friendship with Tomatito led him to cultivate and love flamenco. Accompanied by his son Juan Salinas who, at 16, has decided to follow in his footsteps, brought out La Maestro to commemorate the gaditano genius.
The world's best-known percussionist has transcended musical boundaries and has become synonymous with social commitment and solidarity. In Candeal, his home favela, over 9,000 families and 2,500 children benefit from the numerous social programmes led by the musician: kindergartens, professional schools of popular music, literacy classes, capoeira workshops, sewing etc.
The great master of popular Brazilian music, an icon of his culture and a signwriting genius, Caetano Veloso received La Maestro and unsheathed it to sing ‘Coração vagabundo’, a bossanova with which he opened his first album, ‘Domingo’, in 1967. Sharing Paco’s vagabond spirit, “Meu coração vagabundo quer guardar o mundo em mim” [My vagabond heart wants to keep the world in me], he is an artist who never tires of looking for new sounds and ways to innovate in every composition.
One of Brazil's best composers and a great guitar virtuoso. He not only played La Maestro, but also took the chance to share a few anecdotes about his friendship with the algecireño. They met at the home of the great Raphael Rabello, one of the world’s best guitarists, and with whom Paco forged a great friendship.
Born in Almería into a gypsy family, Tomatito was brought up on music and flamenco song. Camarón discovered him at the age of 13, in a flamenco venue, or tablao, in Malaga, and from then onwards he accompanied him until his death. Paco was his great maestro, someone he loved and admired deeply. Tomatito picked up the baton of the Cadiz artist when he and Camarón decided to go their separate ways.
For many, this is the guitarist destined to pick up the baton of Paco de Lucia. Son of guitarist Chico Moraíto, he did not hesitate to follow in his footsteps as a professional flamenco guitarist. That's because in the neighbourhood of Santiago in Jérez de la Frontera, you either sing or your play. Flamenco, always.
"I will need two lives to explain what flamenco is. Its spirit, its entire emotionality. It is not music that can be explained in a conservatory and say 'this is fine and this is how it is played'. There's no doubt about it: flamenco needs heart".
Unfortunately, he did not have two lives. As for his heart, he truly did give it all. The man who was everything in the world of flamenco; who took it from the tablao to the greatest theatres worldwide and up onto the pedestals where the most universal musical genres cohabit. The man who could not stop playing the guitar and gave it his all. His heart, too.
Paco de Lucía was living proof that Spanish talent can travel far.
He dedicated his life to flamenco. He gave it his soul and it gave him back eternity.
Image: Gabriela Canseco
As part of this project, Iberia, in collaboration with Berklee Mediterranean Music Institute, will launch the Paco de Lucía scholarship. This scholarship will consist of two 5-week programmes for the Spanish guitar discipline. Two students will be eligible for these scholarships in all of Latin America and they will have the chance to keep training at Berklee College of Music, the world's most important and prestigious music university and where Paco de Lucía was the first Spanish musician to receive an honorary degree.
With partner schools in 14 countries, a student body representing over 100 nationalities, Berklee is the leading laboratory for music in the present and the future. It is no surprise that it boasts ex-students and an academic faculty that have together obtained over 300 Grammy and Latin Grammy awards.
More information at www.berklee.edu
We've brought together so much talent. Who will be playing La Maestro, live in Madrid on June 21st, with other renown artists? Now Jorge Limón and Javier Martínez have to face a real quest: choosing just one winner. Thanks to all for taking part in the casting call, for sharing your talent and for dreaming flamenco!
These are the videos that we have received which ooze talent. Music producer Javier Limón and creative producer Jorge Martínez have selected the winner: Nerea Alberdi. She will be on stage before the audience, accompanied by other artists, holding La Maestro. Congratulations!
Click on the guitar fret and experience the thrill of playing the guitar. Experience flamenco from your home, or from your mobile device and let the flamenco legacy of Paco de Lucía flow through your fingertips. It has never been so easy to sound like Paco de Lucía.