Today, and as usual, while I was listening to music, I started for once more to admire the work of the famous guitarist Paco de Lucía who was born in Cadiz area, what we call today Southern Spain, an important historical region.
The Andalusian sound has always made me feel something deep. There is a relationship I can not easily explain. Maybe because the music from the area breaths out the history, the passion, the pain of the people having lived there for thousands of years. Maybe that’s why. Maybe…
Very often I get intrigued by the personal life of artists I admire. That has happened again today. I went once more and searched for the life details of Paco de Lucía.
Today I learned he had to move to Amsterdam at a certain point of his life to get married with the person that happened to be his first partner in life because the family of hers was not accepting him and caused many problems as an attempt to prevent this from happening (His wife was coming from a family with direct relations to Franco regime, if that is considered important at all to mention here).
Finally, after 20 years of living together with his first wife, the marriage was brought to divorce and he found peace and love in the land of Mexico, having settled there until the end of his life.
After his life was brought to an end (two years ago), of course the “Spanish” Media (there is no such thing actually, since the whole term Spanish is disputable by me, as the state named as Spain is very modern in regards to its history and consists of autonomous regions with unique culture per region and very often a distinct language which just shared the same roots with any Romanic language) started to pay homage to Paco de Lucia and even the person who is supposed to be the prime minister in Spain (Mariano Rajoy) came out and gave the condolences to his family on a very typical and queasy speech like the ones political people use to give every time an important personality passes away.
A year after his death, the municipality of Madrid named a metro station after his name to pay this way the tribute to his work.
Why I am saying all this might someone ask.
Well, while I kept reading about him I found an image which I am sharing here for everyone to see. The image is a wine barrel with a few words written and signed by Paco de Lucía. These words were written a few years before his first marriage. And I personally believe this has a lot to say.
The messages says in Spanish “¿Porque no me dejais vivir aquí?” which is translated to “Why don’t you (plural) let me live here?”. That means that Paco most likely felt as a stranger in his own land or maybe he was feeling that the society was putting him obstacles to be who he likes to be.
This is nothing new of course as this is exactly the way how societies work and add pressure on people living there. But having personally lived in Spain for a while, I have seen there many similarities on that matter with the society I was born. That is to say, how the families and society ask pressure to their members, suffocating them this way at times.
Maybe that’s why Paco also left Spain after the separation with his first wife and since their kids were old enough to take care of themselves. Because he might had felt that at that point there was nothing to keep him there.
As any authentic artist, he must have felt the weight and the anguish of being and thinking different while being surrounded by people who try to make you feel the same with them.
And here it comes the point I would like to touch. That usually societies, even your own family sometimes, will criticise you, put you obstacles and even make you feel terrible for being yourself but it all comes finally on how important you are. If you are famous enough they will out of a sudden glorify and appraise you but that has nothing to do with how the artist feels about it. And his words have said enough in that case. It was not by accident that he decided to write this!
However, when you are not in life anymore, even if you turned your back to that place while you were alive, modern states have learned to rob and use your star for their own benefit. That’s what Rajoy did or the Prince of Asturias did when they Publicly decided to give condolences to his family on a pretentious way to pay tribute to his work, the only way they have learned to work on.
No matter what, the name of the artist will remain alive not because they named a metro station in Madrid or they publicly gave condolences, rather because the work of the artist is a product of his own intellect and people have recognised its value. And it remains there alive. Because an artist has been sacrificed and dedicated their own life to it. Paco was aware of this and a few years before his death realised how vain is to do things for profit, saying this:
“Allí es donde de verdad disfruto en Playa del Carmen, con su mar tranquilito. Voy, me alquilo una casa y me dedico a la pesca submarina. Y luego me cocino lo que he pescado y ya está. No quiero más que eso. Ahora pienso mucho en el tiempo, que ya no tengo tanto. Por primera vez creo que tengo que darme prisa y quedarme más tiempo en casa y dedicarme a componer, que es en definitiva lo que va a quedar. Los conciertos se los lleva el aire».
“There it is, where I really enjoy the beach of Carmen (In Caribbean, Mexico), with its tranquil waters. I am renting a house and I spend my time spear fishing. Afterwards, I am cooking what I’ve caught before and that’s it. I don’t want more than this. Now, I am thinking a lot about the time, now that I don’t have much left. For the first time I think I have to hurry and stay more at home and focus on composing music, and that’s exactly what it’s going to remain. The concerts are taken by the wind”
“Fui de izquierdas hasta que gané los dos primeros millones de pesetas. Cuando los guardé en el banco, que no hice ni escuelas ni se lo di a los niños de África, cuando no hice nada por los demás con ese dinero, desde ese día no volví a decir públicamente que era de izquierdas”.
I was a leftist until I gained my first two million Pesetas. When I kept it at the bank, when I didn’t make any school, neither gave it for children in Africa, when I did nothing for anyone else with this money, from that time on I never said again publicly that I was a leftist.
Paco didn’t have a nationality for sure. He was one of his own. He didn’t need someone to define him, that’s why he is still alive.
Hasta siempre Paco de Lucía. Your music is still here.
A nice and interesting video here for the ones who have never heard his voice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOvEob7j7qs