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P is for Paco
August 8, 2014

Paco Peña to give him his full name. Peña was born in Spain in 1942 and relocated to London in 1966. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost traditional Flamenco players and a traditionalist in a strong sense, who sees his role as promoting flamence culture, rhythms and traditional sounds. Peña started playing young, learning from his brother aged 6 and gave his first professional concert aged 12. Before his move to London he performed throughout Spain both as part of a government sponsored folk music and dance program and later with professional companies in Madrid and the Costa Brava.

In 1970 he founded the Paco Peña Flamenco Company, consisting of himself, two dancers, two singers and another guitar player. The company has since given concerts throughout the world. He signed to the Decca label, and released The Art of Flamenco Guitar (1972), The Flamenco World of Paco Peña (1978), and The Paco Peña Company Live At Sadler’s Wells, London (1980) amongst many others.

In 1981 he founded the Centre of Flamenco in Cordoba, which hosts an annual Festival Internacional de la Guittarra, a two month celibration of the guitar with concerts and master-classes from flamenco and classical musicians such as John Williams, Ben Verdery and Serranito. In 1985 Peña was appointed the worlds first Professor of Flamenco at the Rotterdam Conservatory and in 1997 was awarded ‘La Cruz de Oficial de la Orden del Merito Civil’ by the King of Spain.