Paco Peña embodies both authenticity and innovation in flamenco. As guitarist, composer, dramatist, producer and artistic mentor he has transformed perceptions of this archetypal Spanish art form.
Born in the Andalucian city of Córdoba, Paco Peña began learning guitar from his brother at the age of six and made his first professional appearance at the age of 12. In the late 1960s he left Spain for London, where his recitals of flamenco music captured the public imagination.
Venues for his solo performances have included the intimate Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and the monumental Royal Albert Hall in London, New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Concertgebouw, in Amsterdam. He has shared the stage with fellow guitarists, singers and instrumental groups, bridging diverse musical genres, including classical, jazz, blues, country and Latin American.
In 1995 The New York Times declared that: “Mr Peña is a virtuoso, capable of dazzling an audience beyond the frets of mortal man. He combines rapid-fire flourishes with a colourist’s sense of shading; this listener cannot recall hearing any guitarist with a more assured mastery of his instrument.” It should come as no surprise that readers of America’s Guitar magazine judged Paco Peña as best flamenco guitarist of the year for five consecutive years.
Performing with Paco will be Rafael Montilla, whose love and enthusiasm for flamenco and especially the guitar began when he learned his first chords at 3 years old and he began performing at festivals with his father throughout Spain.
Rafael is now renowned as a guitarist accompanying vocalists throughout Andalusia, with the likes of Calixto Sánchez, Carmen Linares, El Pele. In 1995 he moves to Madrid and premieres his first musical composition “Fire and Flamenco” with the Antonio Marques Company at the Apollo Theater in Madrid. Rafael’s next production is as music director for the production “Carmen” by Bizet which he premiered in Rio de Janeiro with the Brasilia Orchestra. It was named best dance show at the Festival de Jerez in 2000, it toured Italy, Panama, Brazil, Germany and Spain.