Paco Peña

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Paco Peña
Paco Peña in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, Córdoba
Paco Peña in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, Córdoba
Background information
Birth nameFrancisco Peña Pérez
Born (1942-06-01) June 1, 1942 (age 80)
Córdoba, Spain
Years active1967–present
LabelsNimbus Records

Paco Peña (born 1 June 1942) is a Spanish flamenco composer and guitarist. He is regarded as one of the world's foremost traditional flamenco players.[1][failed verification]


Born in Córdoba, Spain, as Francisco Peña Pérez, Paco Peña began learning to play the guitar from his brother at age six and made his first professional appearance at twelve. Encouraged by his family, he left home and began performing throughout Spain as part of a government-sponsored folk music and dance program. This led to calls from professional flamenco companies in Madrid and the Costa Brava, where Peña established himself as a highly regarded accompanist to flamenco dance and singing. However, dissatisfied with life on the coast and seeking a new challenge,[2] he moved to London in the late 1960s to become a soloist.

Initially the star attraction in the Restaurante Antonio in Covent Garden, Peña generated so much interest among a British public previously uninitiated in flamenco that he soon found himself sharing concerts with artists such as Jimi Hendrix, and made his solo debut at Wigmore Hall in 1967. It was not long before Peña was touring the world, both as a soloist and an accompanist with performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Royal Albert Hall in London and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He later founded the world's first university course on flamenco guitar, at the Rotterdam conservatory of music. In 1984 Peña was interviewed by Julian Bream for the Channel 4 television series Guitarra! which traces the development of the guitar in Spain.

Peña also created the Centro Flamenco Paco Peña in Córdoba, and was responsible for the founding of the now-celebrated annual Córdoba Guitar Festival, which has seen appearances by other flamenco greats such as Manolo Sanlúcar and Paco de Lucía.

In 1997 Peña was named Oficial de la Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil by King Juan Carlos of Spain.

His most famous compositions include his Misa Flamenca (a flamenco Mass), and Requiem for the Earth, both of which have received great critical acclaim.

He has also had a number of notable collaborations, significantly with the Argentinian guitarist Eduardo Falú and the Chilean group Inti-Illimani.

Peña has homes in London and Córdoba. Recent shows include Flamenco Sin Fronteras, which explores the relationship between Venezuelan music and flamenco; and Quimeras, which features the Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company performing a story about immigrants from Africa arriving in Andalusia.

Peña has collaborated with the classical guitarist John Williams. Peña also provided the chapter on flamenco guitar for the book The Guitar (A Guide For Students And Teachers).[3]



  • 1987 Fragments of a Dream (Inti-Illimani with John Williams)
  • 1987 Flamenco Guitar Music of Ramón Montoya and Niño Ricardo
  • 1988 Azahara
  • 1990 Leyenda (live in Cologne Inti-Illimani with John Williams)
  • 1991 Misa Flamenca
  • 1992 Encuentro (with Eduardo Falú)
  • 1995 The Art of Paco Peña (anthology)
  • 1999 Arte y Pasión (live, with Company)
  • 2000 Flamenco Guitar (Montoya/Ricardo & Azahara)
  • 2003 Flamenco Master: Essential flamenco recordings (anthology)
  • 2004 Fabulous Flamenco / La Gitarra Flamenca (remastered)
  • 2007 His Essential Recordings (anthology)
  • 2007 A Flamenco Guitar Recital (live)
  • 2007 Requiem for the Earth
  • 2008 A Compás! (Live, with Company)
  • 2014 Duo Recital (with Eliot Fisk)
  • 2015 En estado de gracia
  • 2018 Con la Verdad por Delante


  • 1966 Flamenco! (El Sali & his Ballet Espagnol)
  • 1968 The Incredible Paco Peña
  • 1969 Carnival (with Los Marachuchos)
  • 1970 Flamenco
  • 1970 The Art of Flamenco (with Company)
  • 1972 Flamenco Puro Live (with Company)
  • 1973 The Art of the Flamenco Guitar
  • 1975 Fabulous Flamenco!
  • 1976 Toques Flamencos (Student pieces, with book)
  • 1977 La Gitarra Flamenca [sic]
  • 1978 The Flamenco World of Paco Peña
  • 1979 Live in London
  • 1980 Live at Sadler's Wells (with Company)
  • 1985 Flamenco Vivo (live)


  • 1985 Guitarra! (Julian Bream) [guest appearance]
  • 1991 Misa Flamenca


  1. ^ Solo – Press Excerpts at the Wayback Machine (archived December 29, 2008)
  2. ^ Classical Guitar magazine, June 2004
  3. ^ The Guitar (A Guide For Students And Teachers) published by Oxford University Press (ISBN 0-19-317421-9) (First published 1988, reprinted 2000) – Chapter 13 – p. 211

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