Just 2 years before this interview (it was done in 1977) dictator Francisco Franco had died and people was intensely involve in the political, social and economic future of the country. In this context Paco did a polemical comment in a TV interview. The journalist asked Paco: “Which one is the most important when you play the guitar, the left hand or the right hand? And Paco answered: “The left is the one who makes the music, it’s creative, it’s intelligent, while the right is the one who executes…” Paco received a brutal beating at the hands of a group of radicals as a result of those last words.
Another fact was that the Teatro Real of Madrid (one of the major venues in Spain) was denied to him although he played before in that venue with great success. He was tired of the conservative mentality and was prepared to move outside Spain.
The following interview was made a short time after the above mentioned episodes happened, so you will find some political comments that are not of our interest, but there are other very IMPORTANT words of Paco that people seems to forget nowadays. The most interesting comments here are:
1) “I leave Spain because the atmosphere is unbreathable for me… The prejudices, the flamenco orthodox people, the tradition… I don’t like all that. I need fresh air. I need to work freely, without static purism that ties me up. The orthodox have messed with me non stop since I started to have success…”
2) “Here (in Spain) I’m always tense, thinking if I’m doing good or wrong, if I’m bothering someone, if I will have to beg forgiveness because I’m a successful person…”
3) “I want to work fulltime in jazz. I think that is a decisive musical movement and I’m interested in all that. My flamenco roots will never be lost but I have so much to see and learn regarding techniques, sound and rhythms.”
4) “The purists want me to play the same things as always. They want me to play obsolete music without experimentation or improvisation.”
5) “I want to live. Here (in Spain) is have to be always demonstrating who I’m. But I need to learn more than to demonstrate…. I just want to have fun with my music, without feeling that I’m playing as a job, I don’t want to be a slave of it. I’m against of having a “music star” way of life… Lately, with so many commitments there was happening something very sad: I didn’t have time to play privately… I need to play without feeling I’m forced to do it… I don’t like “commercial music” way of life… I want to experience life… I want to give concerts and experience life, not only to live to perform in concerts…”
I invite you to reflect on them, some people may say that Paco de Lucía is the new orthodoxy, but I particularly think that those who say so do it as a way to justify their own mediocrity. Paco's work continues to be avangard as none of the present flamenco musicians have being able to equal the complexity, mastery, deepness and beauty of Paco's music.
Please click the following link to see the actual interview: