Flamenco music legend Paco de Lucía dies at 66

The World

Flamenco musician Paco de Lucía died Tuesday in Mexico.

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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