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Sabicas (right) and Paco Peña
Background information
Born 16 March 1912
Origin Pamplona, Spain
Died 14 April 1990
Genres Flamenco music
Occupation(s) Composer, Guitarist
Instruments Guitar
Labels Elektra Records
MGM Records
Associated acts Carmen Amaya

Sabicas (Agustín Castellón Campos) was a Flamenco guitarist, of Romani origin, who was born on 16 March 1912[1] in Pamplona, Spain and died in 14 April 1990 in New York.


Sabicas began playing guitar at the age of 4 and made his performing debut two years later. His early style was influenced by Ramón Montoya, to whom he was related on his mother's side of the family. Extensive collaboration with important cantaores (male Flamenco singers) of the period helped him develop his personal style.

Leaving Spain in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, he went into exile in South America with bailaora (dancer) Carmen Amaya. He lived in Mexico City, married Esperanza González Erazo and had four children: Maricruz 1944, Carlos 1946, Agustine 1952 and Margaret 1956. Agustine and Margaret live in New York City, Maricruz lives in Alaska, and Carlos is deceased. Carmen & Sabicas toured together several times. Sabicas later settled in New York City in the United States. He did not return to his native Spain until 1967.

Sabicas was instrumental in the introduction of Flamenco to audiences outside of Spain and the Spanish-speaking world. He was probably best known for his technical skills: blazingly fast picados (scales), fast arpeggios, quality composition for the many forms of flamenco, and infallible rhythm, which was critical if playing with a dancer. Also, he was considered to have perfect pitch. "The finest technique around has got to be Sabicas, the Flamenco player," Chet Atkins told Guitar Player Magazine in March 1972.

Sabicas was one of Flamenco's greatest-ever guitarists, not only in terms of technique, but with major creative contributions, playing Flamenco previously unimaginable and giving new tools and possibilities to the solo instrument. He brought this art to concert halls and major theaters where all classes could enjoy.

Modern players such as Paco de Lucía, Tomatito, Serranito, Juan Manuel Cañizares, El Viejín, Vicente Amigo, Gerardo Nuñez, Javier Conde and many more claim large influence from Sabicas' music.

Sabicas died at a hospital in Manhattan, New York of complications from pneumonia and multiple strokes on 14th April 1990.


  • Flamenco on Fire (retitled version of The Art of the Guitar)
  • Fiesta flamenca (retitled version of Festival gitana)
  • Queen of the Gypsies (with Carmen Amaya, 1959)
  • Flamenco! (with Carmen Amaya)
  • Flamenco puro (1961)
  • Flamenco Styles on Two Guitars (with Mario Escudero)
  • The Fantastic Guitars of Sabicas and Escudero (1959)
  • La historia del flamenco (double LP, 1969)
  • Recital de guitarra flamenca (vols. 1–3)
  • From the Pampas to the Rio Grande (with Mario Escudero)
  • Festival gitana (with Los Trianeros)
  • Sabicas, Vols. 1-3 (1957–1958)
  • El rey del flamenco (1965)
  • Soul of Flamenco (1960)
  • Flamenco Reflections (1963)
  • Rock Encounter (with Joe Beck, 1970)
  • The Soul of Flamenco and The essence of Rock (1971)
  • Flamenco Fantasy (1960)
  • Flaming Flamenco Guitar (1963)
  • Flamenco virtuoso (1961)
  • Nueva York / Granada (with Enrique Morente) (1990)
  • Sixteen Immortal Performances (anthology from ABC-Paramount recordings, 1972)
  • Solo Flamenco (1959)
  • El duende de la guitarra flamenca
  • The Art of the Guitar (1976)
  • Tres guitarras tiene Sabicas (1969)
  • Flamenco histórico
  • Flamenco Fiesta with the Los Trianeros group


  1. ^ "Leyenda infantil, magisterio y guitarra de Sabicas" Diario de Navarra 16 September 2008