PASSION FOR HIS JOB
This past 26th of February we lost Paco de Lucía.
I would like to reproduce here an interview by my friend Víctor Amela published in “La Contra”, section of the newspaper La Vanguardia, in May, 2004.
It is well worth reading.
Along with it here you are a video where Paco de Lucía plays his best known piece, probably: “Entre dos aguas”.
I wish you like it.
“I PLAYED BADLY”
–If Eric Clapton is God, who is Paco de Lucía?
–A skilled worker. And I love my work.
–For many people revere you…
–That bothers me, I do not like it. There are people who become stiff when approaching me: I always joke to keep it nice and relaxing.
–Well, you are a living legend.
–On my own, I laugh about that, of myself, of such solemnity. Life is a joke, man. Nobody knows anything! It’s all a show. I see it as comedy and laugh. That’s what I like most: laughing!
–Really? As you always looks so serious… And so concentrated while playing guitar…
–Yes. Even my musicians say: “Do not look at us with that face, maestro, that frightens us”. But I have that face because of fear. I’m just scared shitless!
–Fear? Paco de Lucía? Afraid?
–Afraid of what?
–Fear of getting it wrong, not living up to the reputation of what is expected… It’s scary… I am sorry in case I might disappoint. Nervous…
–By now, Master?
–More than that, of course: the more prestigious, the more responsible… and the more fearful.
–Well, I would never say…
–Yes. Last night, for instance… I played badly.
–I never heard a genius confess something like that before!
–My wife says, “Do not go around saying you play badly, as then others will begin to tell you, as well”. But I am like that: I played badly.
–All reviews were splendid!
–Yeah, but I did not get what I wanted.
–What were you after?
–High accuracy. If I fail to find that balance is easy to lose those few notes… While I am playing, I am looking for that balance in which everything flows. In an instant it seemed that I had it… and, alas, I lost it again…
–It seems we are speaking of a mystical ecstasy…
–Yes, it is a state of Zen meditation: it is a constant struggle looking for it. And last night I looked and could not find it. It was horrible: then you are wrong, the notes just escape…
–What happens when you reach this level of accuracy?
–Ah..! I levitate! All fears disappear, every insecurity, every struggle. Everything flows, everything goes on, you feel you are the king of the world, you feel you know everything… It’s wonderful. It is a state that it is so addictive that you want to feel it again, and you are looking for it every day.
–I am jealous… If you had not been a guitarist, what would you be devoted to today?
–I would be an ordinary Spanish person, working on whatever. But putting my senses on it.
–Who left a guitar in your hands for the first time?
–My father earned his living as he could with the guitar. One day he was teaching my older brother Antonio, to take him to work with him. I looked and saw my brother was clumsy, it took him so much, and I blurted, “it is very easy”. “Oh really? You play it!” My father replied, and handed me the guitar.
–And how was it?
–Perfect, easy. My father stopped teaching Antonio and began to teach me!
–Did you want to be a guitarist?
–I was determined to be the best, the greatest: I never wanted to see my mother mourn because we had nothing to eat at home! So I turned to it so seriously, I got 12 hours on the guitar since I was seven: because I was poor, for necessity. For me, poverty was not an obstacle but an incentive.
–And you succeeded.
–When we finally ate well, the problem was: “What now?”, I wondered. Only then, and with a full stomach, I was aware that I liked music.
–Which compliment has really touched your soul?
–I am used to hear them since I was a child and never moved me. But if someone I admire, such as Chick Corea, speaks well of me… it is very touching.
–What is the bad part of the guitar playing?
–What it made me miss: I could not see my children grow. I did not enjoy that.
–Are you not tired of playing?
–Very much! I thought about it before going on stage last night: “Do I need to be here, nervous, instead of lying on my couch watching Depor with my glass of wine and my dish of cheese? I do not deserve this!”.
–Why do you do it then?
–Exactly, why… ? Because it is not about money… ! My conclusion is that it is only vanity to be liked and so you feel loved.
–What do you like to do when not playing?
–Hit the beach at my home in Mexico, with the dazzling sun, and snorkel in its so transparent and warm waters, and fishing with my harpoon. 30 years I’ve been fishing, I fish only what I eat, nothing else!
–What is the most beautiful fish you have ever seen?
–The boquinete. So they call it there. It has ridges that look like plastic and blends with the surrounding colors. If you can see it, we already have in the pan!
–Are you based in Mexico?
–I had the idea of retiring there, because I did not expect to have anymore children… but I have had a child, and now I come to Toledo, so she can go to school here.
–Just like Alejandro Sanz’s…
–My child is a little wild one, too scary for Alejandro’s, ha, ha, ha… !
–You seem the happiest person there…
–I have not pursued anything, I have just enjoyed what has come to meet me.
–If you pursue happiness, you scare it from you, right?
–If you crave something and you do not succeed, you get frustrated. I prefer to make the most of what happens, of what will be coming to me. And so I have more than I ever dreamt as a child! Wanting more would be only greed.
Interviewed by Víctor M. Amela.
PACO DE LUCÍA GUITAR PLAYER
I am 56 years-old. I was born in Algeciras, and I live half time in Mexico and in Toledo. I have three children from my first marriage and a daughter, Antonia (3 years-old), with my current partner. Politics? Social. Religion? I envy those who have faith, but I tune better with Eastern philosophies. My passion is diving and fishing to eat. I am releasing my new album, “Cositas buenas”.
On Tuesday night, he was invited by the XV Barcelona Guitar Festival, and first played live for a long time. And everyone was happy. But the day after, in his dressing room at the Auditori (he should play again that night), he is telling me he played badly, because he did not feel what he knows he feels when he plays well. All guitarists in the world would want to play that badly… ! He speaks from behind his guitar, and pulss the strings as we talk. When his fishing in Mexico springs out, he becomes excited, puts the guitar aside, which is his refuge: he admits that he had really wanted to sing, “but being a shy child…”. He sang through Camarón. When I leave, I tell him: “Tonight you will do better, Master!”. He picks the guitar up, smiles and nods. And it was sublime.