Paco Peña in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, Córdoba.
|Birth name||Francisco Peña Pérez|
June 1, 1942|
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, 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.
Paco 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.
- 2014 Duo Recital (with Eliot Fisk)
- 2008 A Compás! (Live, with Company)
- 2007 His Essential Recordings (Anthology)
- 2007 A Flamenco Guitar Recital (Live)
- 2007 Requiem for the Earth
- 2004 Fabulous Flamenco / La Gitarra Flamenca (Remastered)
- 2003 Flamenco Master: Essential flamenco recordings (Anthology)
- 2000 Flamenco Guitar (Twofer of Montoya/Ricardo & Azahara)
- 1999 Arte y Pasión (Live, with Company)
- 1995 The Art of Paco Peña (Anthology)
- 1992 Encuentro (with Eduardo Falú)
- 1988 Azahara
- 1991 Misa Flamenca
- 1990 Leyenda (Live in Cologne Inti-Illimani with John Williams)
- 1987 Fragments of a Dream (Inti-Illimani with John Williams)
- 1987 Flamenco Guitar Music of Ramón Montoya and Niño Ricardo
- 1985 Flamenco Vivo (Live)
- 1980 Live at Sadler's Wells (with Company)
- 1979 Live in London
- 1978 The Flamenco World of Paco Peña
- 1977 La Gitarra Flamenca [sic]
- 1976 Toques Flamencos (Student pieces, with book)
- 1975 Fabulous Flamenco!
- 1973 The Art of the Flamenco Guitar
- 1972 Flamenco Puro Live (with Company)
- 1970 Flamenco
- 1970 The Art of Flamenco (with Company)
- 1969 Carnival (with Los Marachuchos)
- 1968 The Incredible Paco Peña
- 1966 Flamenco! (El Sali & his Ballet Espagnol)
- 1991 Misa Flamenca
- 1985 Guitarra! (Julian Bream) [Guest appearance]