GETTING TO KNOW: PACO LARA

Paco Lara is an acclaimed flamenco guitarist from the birthplace and cradle of flamenco, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Paco started playing guitar at a very young age (8-years-old) and at a still tender age of 16, Paco began working, recording and touring professionally as a flamenco guitarist. Embodying the unmistakable and genuine Jerez style of flamenco guitar playing, Paco Lara has toured internationally with some of flamenco’s most legendary artists- guitarists, singers and composers.

Paco has been at the vanguard of Flamenco Fusion music genre and scene in Span with some of its most prominent bands. Apart from being a formidable guitar soloist, Paco is also revered for his ability as an accompanist in the specialised world of flamenco singing (Cante).

In 2017, Paco moved with his family to Australia, now calling down under his home. He has performed as a guest artist across the country with different flamenco dance companies, in Perth, Cairns, Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle, Melbourne and at the Sydney Guitar Festival. He has recorded more than 20 music albums with some of the best artists in Spain and Australia and has released a solo album ‘The Andalusian Guitar’. Today, Paco Lara is the most prominent flamenco guitarist living in Australia. His great successes in 2021 at The Sydney Opera House and at The Adelaide Guitar Festival and his 2022 Andalusian Guitar Show have placed Paco’s flamenco guitar music at the top of the Australian music scene.

THE STREET TALKED TO PACO BEFORE HIS LIVE PERFORMANCE AND LAUNCH OF NEW ALBUM DUENDE

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR MUSICAL JOURNEY.

My musical journey began before I was born and I hope that it will not die with my physical death… I hope to become a small link in the magical chain of flamenco guitar.  

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBILITIES OF THE GUITAR FOR YOU?

The possibilities of the guitar are unlimited… it is a very new instrument and in its short existence it has evolved surprisingly in technique, styles, harmony… it is a rhythmic, melodic and harmonic instrument. The guitar is a small orchestra.  

WHAT INSPIRATIONS DID YOU DRAW ON FOR YOUR NEW ALBUM DUENDE AND TOURING SHOW OF FLAMENCO GUITAR, SONG AND DANCE?

I have been very inspired by my nostalgia and my memories of my life in Spain… Music is once again a medicine for my soul in moments of loneliness, sadness and longing. 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR LIVE PERFORMANCE AT THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE?

I had the great luck to present my previous album The Andalusian Guitar in that temple of music and the most beautiful thing I remember was the response of the wonderful Australian audience.  

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE FLAMENCO FUSION MUSIC GENRE?

Flamenco fusion is a term that is used to talk about the incorporation of new elements to traditional flamenco… new harmonies, new instruments, new aesthetics… Really, the Flamenco that we call traditional today was born a few centuries ago as a fusion of music from various peoples who lived in Andalusia… Arabs, Jews, gypsies, etc.

WHAT IMPACT HAS MAKING YOUR HOME IN AUSTRALIA HAD ON YOUR MUSIC AND CAREER?

The impact of living in Australia on my career has been to take the step of dedicating myself to my solo guitar, composing and leading my own group and my own show.  In Spain (although I did some solo concerts) I dedicated myself to accompanying great singers,  dancers and playing in highly prestigious bands.  

PLEASE COMMENT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PRESERVING LIFETIME COLLABORATIONS WITH FLAMENCO ARTISTS AND YOUR APPROACH TO THIS.

On my new album Duende I have counted on the collaboration of great artists from my homeland Jerez, the cradle of flamenco art.  The fact of living in Australia is not going to separate me from my lifelong colleagues.  The flamenco elite is still in Spain and new flamenco geniuses continue to be born in my country… I keep in touch with everything that happens there.  

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR COLLABORATION WITH FLAMENCO DANCER DEYA GINER.

Deya collaborates with me on stage but also in my private life because she is my wife. She is also responsible for me being in Australia and she is the one who produces and promotes my shows.  

WHAT HAVE BEEN AND CONTINUE TO BE THE CHALLENGES OF WORKING DURING COVID 19?

COVID has taught us how fragile human beings are… we think we have everything under control but it’s a lie… in the work of an artist or musician it has been even more difficult because art is very unprotected by governments, although I have to say that I have been fortunate to be in Australia and that this country is exemplary in its treatment of art… in Spain it has been an absolute disaster.

WHAT’S INSPIRING YOU CREATIVELY AT THE MOMENT?

My main source of inspiration today is my beautiful daughter Carmen.

Paco Lara launches his new album Duende at The Street Theatre on Saturday 10 December 2022

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