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Paco Peña Dance Company brings “Flamenco Vivo” to North America; Tour Runs January 17 through March 2, 2013

Flamenco Legend Awarded 2012 Kennedy Center Gold Medal in the Fine Arts

At 70, Guitarist Continues to Build Global Audience for Flamenco

Paco Peña video Quimeras

NEW YORK TIMES concert review

Q RADIO (NPR)feature:


Thurs Jan 17 - Nepean (Ottowa), ONT, CAN Centrepoint Theatre 8:00
Fri Jan 18 - Toronto, ONT, CAN Roy Thomson Hall TBD
Sat Jan 19 - New York, NY Metropolitan Museum / Rogers Aud. 8:00
Sun Jan 20 - Poughkeepsie, NY Bardavon 1869 Opera House 7:00
Wed Jan 23 - Cranston, RI Rhode Island Ctr for Perf Arts / Park Th 7:30
Fri Jan 25 - Burlington, VT Flynn Center for the Perf Arts 8:00
Sat Jan 26 - Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre Center 8:00
Sun Jan 27 - Newark, NJ NJPAC 3:00
Mon Jan 28 - Hampton, VA American Theatre 8:00
Tues Jan 29 - Hampton, VA American Theatre 8:00
Wed Jan 30 - Richmond, VA U of Richmond / Modlin Ctr / Camp Hall 7:30
Fri Feb 1 - Fairfax, VA George Mason U Center for the Arts 8:00
Sat Feb 2 - Stamford, CT Stamford Ctr for the Arts / Palace Theatre 7:00
Sun Feb 3 - Cambridge, MA Berklee College of Music / Berklee Perf Ctr 2:00
Tues Feb 5 - Twin Falls, ID CSI Fine Arts Center 7:30
Wed Feb 6 - Pocatello, ID Stephens Perf Arts Ctr / Jensen Hall 7:30
Fri Feb 8 - Scottsdale, AZ Scottsdale Ctr for the Arts / Piper Theatre 8:00
Sun Feb 10 - Parker, CO PACE Center 2:00
Wed Feb 13 - Fort Collins, CO Lincoln Center Performance Hall 7:30
Thurs Feb 14 - Boulder, CO U of Colorado Macky Auditorium 7:30
Fri Feb 15 - Cerritos, CA Cerritos Center for the Perf Arts 8:00
Sat Feb 16 - Northridge, CA Cal State U Northridge / Vallet Perf Arts Ctr 8:00
Sun Feb 17 - Glendora, CA Citrus College / Haugh Perf Arts Ctr 2:00
Mon Feb 18 - San Luis Obispo, CA Cal Poly / Cohan Perf Arts Ctr / Harman Hall 7:30
Wed Feb 20 - Chico, CA Cal State U Chico / Laxson Auditorium 7:30
Fri Feb 22 - Napa, CA Napa Valley Opera House / Mondavi Theatre 8:00
Sat Feb 23 - San Rafael, CA Marin Center 8:00
Mon Feb 25 - Folsom, CA Three Stages at Folsom Lake Coll / Stage One 7:00
Tues Feb 26 - Livermore, CA Livermore Valley Perf Arts Ctr / Bankhead Th 7:30
Thurs Feb 28 - St Louis, MO Touhill Perf Arts Ctr 7:30
Fri Mar 1 - Evanston, IL Northwestern U / Pick-Staiger Concert Hall 7:30
Sat Mar 2 - Brookfield, WI Wilson Ctr for the Arts / Kuttemperoor Aud TBD

For over 45 years Paco Peña has been bringing authentic Flamenco to enthusiasts the World over, touring tirelessly both as a soloist and with his own Flamenco Dance Company. His shows present not just the latest musical fashions, but a panorama of the whole culture and history of the idiom. He has received the highest awards for his achievements—from the Potro de Oro of his native city of Córdoba, to a film profile by BBC Television, to induction as Oficial de la Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil by King Juan Carlos of Spain. In 2012 the guitarist was awarded the 2012 Kennedy Center Gold Medal for Fine Arts (along with tenor Plácido Domingo and filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, among others).

To have become an institution in both your native country as well as in England and the United States is remarkable; but this is what Paco Peña has achieved as he reaches his 70th birthday. Since his first venture to England in 1963, he has become one of Flamenco’s best-known and best-loved ambassadors the world over. His engaging stage personality and eclectic approach have attracted a wide audience outside the usual guitar and flamenco enthusiasts. Perhaps even more surprising (to the uninitiated) is that Paco has managed this while remaining loyal to the concepts of traditional Flamenco.

Francisco (Paco) Peña Pérez was born in Córdoba, Spain, in 1942, the youngest of nine children. He was taught the guitar from an early age by his brother, making his first professional appearance at 12 and soon after appearing with dance companies in Madrid and the Costa Brava. On a visit to England in 1963, he noticed how enthusiastic the British audiences were; and in 1967 decided to move to London, where he was soon appearing in guitar events with such luminaries as Jimi Hendrix. His brilliance quickly came to the attention of the Fontana label. His first record, The Incredible Paco Peña, appeared in 1968.

The British took him to their hearts, and soon he was appearing on BBC TV. In 1970, wishing to bring the whole tripartite art of Flamenco to his adopted country, he formed the Paco Peña Dance Company, which he maintains to this day in parallel with his career as a concert soloist.

In 1977 he was invited to teach the Flamenco Guitar course at the Guitar Festival of Castres, in France. The event was a great success, drawing students from 26 countries; but Paco felt that the ambience would be better in Flamenco’s native environment of southern Spain; and in 1981 he founded his own Guitar Festival in his home town of Córdoba, featuring the very greatest performers in all styles (the revolutionary flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía has appeared many times, as has Paco Peña’s good friend, the classical guitarist John Williams). The event continues with great success.
Today Paco carries on bringing authentic Flamenco to the whole world. He maintains homes in both London and in Córdoba, and recently became a grandfather.

Flamenco: Spain and the United States
Many of those unfamiliar with Flamenco conceive of it primarily in terms of dance: but in fact, Flamenco has three aspects—singing, dance and guitar—each of them essential to its nature.

The origins of Flamenco have been traced by some to the pre-Christian era; but nearer to modern times, the pivotal period was probably the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella in the 15th century, when the persecution of Moors, Gypsies and Jews threw all these disparate elements together. From this mixture, born of oppression and suffering, came Flamenco. It is native to only the region of Andalusia, although now it has of course spread to many other parts of Spain.

The primary strand in Flamenco has always been vocal, expressing the joys and sorrows in the lives of the persecuted minorities. The dance and guitar elements came later, but were clearly in place by the 19th century, when the three-faceted art was observed and documented by several travelers. Its heyday was at the end of the century, when what were known as cafés cantantes (singing cafés) sprang up to cater to the tastes of enthusiasts both native and foreign.

The guitar was not regarded as a solo instrument until the advent of Ramón Montoya (1880–1949), the greatest guitarist of his day, who recorded several seminal pieces in Paris in 1936. The most in-demand accompanist of the next generation, Niño Ricardo, also recorded a few solos; but the catapulting of the solo flamenco guitar to international fame came, perhaps surprisingly, from the United States.

Its impetus was provided by the brilliant guitarist Sabicas, who, after a long career accompanying the noted dancer Carmen Amaya, moved to New York and started to concertize on his own. He was aided and accompanied by three friends: his cousin Mario Escudero, Juan Serrano, and Carlos Montoya. In the 1960s, hitherto undreamed-of heights in popularity were reached by these four; and later, by the younger phenomenon, Paco de Lucía.

Drawing on these traditions, Paco Peña’s shows feature material from the whole spectrum of Flamenco—including, in addition to his own material, pieces by Montoya, Ricardo, Sabicas and Escudero.

Paco Peña Dance Company
Rafael Montilla (guitar) is the son of El Chaparro, a longtime singer with Paco’s Company. He began taking an interest in the flamenco guitar, and by the age of six he was training with the guitarist Antonio Murillo from the “Zoco” tablao. His studies continued a year later with Paco Serrano as his professor. He has performed in renowned festivals and theaters across Europe, and his performances have been televised on several major European channels.

Angel Muñoz (dance) studied for eight years with maestra Inmaculada Luque in his hometown of Córdoba, and as a student of the Dance Conservatory, he became a member of the Ziryab Dance Company. He then appeared in several major productions around Europe, before obtaining the La Mejorana Prize in 1994 in Córdoba’s National Flamenco Art Contest.

Charo Espino (dance) began in the 1980s as lead dancer with companies in Spain. In 1988, she performed at Seville’s Bienal de Flamenco for the first time, and one year later won the dance prize Navicella in Italy, re-broadcast by the national TV network. Also in Italy she worked as lead dancer in the opera La Traviata by Luigi Pizzi and José Carreras. In 1994 she joined the Paco Peña Company as lead dancer, a role she currently continues to play. She is married to Angel Muñoz.

Daniela Tugues (dance) was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She studied dance in the Academia de Ballet y Danzas Siudy. In 1980, she became the principal bailaora of the Flamenco Company of Siudy Quintero in Caracas. She went on to receive a scholarship to study at the Center of Studies of Flamenco Art and Spanish Dance in Madrid. In 1994 she was invited to participate in the film Flamenco by Carlos Saura, sharing the screen with numerous seminal flamenco artists. In 2009 she appeared in the dancer Joaquín Cortés’s hit show Calé.

Cristina Pareja (vocals) is the youngster of the company, born in Cordoba in 1991. She has sung at events in the provinces of Córdoba, Málaga, Seville and Madrid, and collaborated with major artists such as Rafael Ordóñez, Curro Díaz, and Miguel de Tena. Most lately she has recorded with the guitarist Paco Serrano—himself a former member of Paco Peña’s Company, and now a noted soloist, as well as being Professor at the Córdoba Conservatory..

José Angel Carmona (vocals) was born in the province of Seville, where from an early age he took a keen interest in the flamenco guitar, inspired by his uncle, who worked with flamenco masters such as Antonio Mairena and Pepe Marchena. His passion for singing was inspired by his father. At the age of 16, he formed a group with which he recorded his first album, making regular appearances on television. Carmona has worked over the years with a huge array of important and emerging flamenco dancers. He joined the Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company in 2007.

Paco Arriaga (guitar) was born in Seville, and started playing flamenco guitar in his teens. At 17 he joined the company of Matilde Coral and composed various pieces for her dance shows. His composing really took of when Christina Hoyos invited him to do the music for her last four shows. It is for this company he wrote a piece for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. In 2002, he joined the Paco Peña Company in the production Voces y Ecos (Voices and Echoes) which enjoyed great critical acclaim, and in 2006 he rejoined for Paco’s last hit show, A Compás! He continues to tour with the Company.

Julio Alcocer (percussion) was born in Caracas, Venezuela and studied Afro-Caribbean percussion for many years. During his studies, Julio developed a passion for Flamenco percussion, and began performance in flamenco music accompanying important figures of flamenco in Venezuela. Now based in Madrid, he works with an array of artists of flamenco, salsa and alternative music, in both Venezuela and Spain.

Paco Peña CD discography
Recorded Title
1968 & 70 Flamenco (anthology taken from first two solo albums)
1972 Flamenco Puro Live (with Dance Company)
1975 Fabulous Flamenco!
1976 Toques Flamencos (instructional)
1975 & 77 Fabulous Flamenco/La Gitarra Flamenca (twofer)
1987 Plays Ramón Montoya & Niño Ricardo
1988 Azahara
1989 Encuentro (with Eduardo Falú)
1990 Misa Flamenca
1999 Arte y Pasión Live (with Dance Company)
2006 A Flamenco Guitar Recital (Live)
2007 Requiem por la Tierra
2008 A Compás! Live (with Dance Company)

With Inti-Illimani & John Williams
1987 Fragments of a Dream
1990 Leyenda

1987 & 88 Flamenco Guitar (Twofer of Montoya/Ricardo & Azahara)
1987–91 The Art of Paco Peña
1987–89 His Essential Recordings
1987–99 Flamenco Pathways (Double CD)

2006 Misa Flamenca
1987 & 91 Surround Yourself with Paco Peña (DVD Audio)

Artist website:

Paco Peña profiled on WIKIPEDIA:

Paco Peña on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs:


“I like this small troupe for its lack of flamboyant fuss. There are just three dancers, well matched and well used. The dashing Angel Muñoz is outstanding: he performs an astonishing circle of the stage in tiny, meticulous steps, as if gliding.

Peña himself, modest genius of the guitar, bewitches us with the beauty of his solos and the delicacy of a duet with an equal virtuoso on castanets, Charo Espino. All the musical numbers are spellbinding.”
David Doughil, THE TIMES (LONDON)

“A genuine virtuoso. This listener cannot recall hearing any guitarist with a more assured mastery of his instrument.”

“Peña is noted for amazing technical fluency and expressive nuance, but above all for integrating the bravura display into the totally true, spontaneous statement of emotion he sees as the heart of flamenco.”

“In his first Washington appearance, flamenco guitar master Paco Peña stirred the hearts of enthusiastic Gaston Hall audience Saturday night with a disciplined yet electrifying set of dance pieces.”

“His musicians and singers charismatically express love of freedom, resignation under oppression and an unconquerable faith that soars from an anguished soul.”

“The Misa is that rarest of things, a totally successful fusion of disparate forms.”

“Peña plays with a remarkable palette of colors, from the gentlest of whispers to a robust warmth in the bravura flourishes.”