25 Feb ANDALUSIA MEDAL FOR THE ARTS 2021
From Argot Flamenco we would like to congratulate the singer and composer from Algeciras José Sánchez Gómez, artistically known as Pepe de Lucía, for his current award of Medalla de Andalucía de las Artes for his contribution to flamenco both as an artist and as a music producer, after a professional career of 60 years.
An award granted by the Andalusian Government Council of the Junta de Andalucía on the occasion of the celebration of the Day of Andalusia on 28 February 2021.
A very well-deserved recognition for his career, since, from a very young age, he enjoyed an extraordinary prestige as a cantaor, gifted with enormous qualities and who made himself known very early on, being accompanied on guitar by his younger brother, Francisco, who would later be known as Paco de Lucía. The two formed the duo Los Chiquitos de Algeciras, who won a special prize from the jury at the 1962 Jerez flamenco competition. He was only 16 years old when he won a national first prize there.
His family was humble. His father, Antonio Sánchez Pecino, earned his living from the age of eight after being orphaned, "as he tearfully recounted shortly before he died", as Pepe himself recalls.
He used to look for resources to be able to eat, he would go with a tin can to get food at the door of the barracks," continues the cantaor. Or he would pull the rope with the fishermen in the early hours of the morning to get some money or some fish. Or he would go to look for the woman who kept bread for him from one week to the next".
His father was everything to him. He remembers him as a whole man from head to toe, respectful, stern and loving, but very marked by life: "He slept in a hut when he was eight years old, crying with fear. At the turn of his life, he met a sweetheart called Lucia La Portuguesa, from Montinho, a village in the Algarve. They married, had five children, whom she raised with pride. She played the bandurria and the guitar from village to village and from corner to corner. And so he kept them and they never lacked food, education and above all music, flamenco, guitar. We all played except María, my dear sister, who sang very well".
His father instructed them all in the art of the guitar, so that they could earn a living with the instrument. But he soon turned to singing, developing from a very early age portentous qualities which, in time, would lead him to win such prestigious awards as the Antonio Chacón Prize and, in 2003, the Latin Grammy for his album "El corazón de mi gente".
He is a versatile artist, his voice appears singing seguiriyas in the encyclopaedia of flamenco singing while sharing discography and stage with his brother Paco for a good part of his life. He has also toured the world several times, singing for great figures of flamenco dance such as José Greco, with whom he made his first international tour, Antonio el Bailarín and Antonio Gades.
His discography is plural and ranges from big commercial hits such as "Caminando" - a song recently re-released on the album "Los hijos de Luzía" - to catalogue albums either for his performance as an artist or for his presence as a composer and producer. His first three albums corresponded to the stage of Los Chiquitos de
Algeciras, those Pepito and Paquito, who compiled his work in an anthology in 1963. But among his titles are reference works, solo, such as "El orgullo de mi padre" or those he shared with his brother - from "Sólo quiero caminar" to "Live in America" or "One summer night" and with Camarón de la Isla, from "Como el agua", a legendary song of his own, to "Viviré" or "Potro de rabia y miel".
On his album "La media luna", another of his greatest hits appears, "Al Alba", a song that has had countless versions in flamenco voices all over the world. Until now, his last album appeared in 2004 under the title "Tomo y obligo", with versions of Argentine tangos in a flamenco key, a peculiar tradition within flamenco that dates back to the 40s of the 20th century, by Florencio Ruiz Lara "Flores El Gaditano".
In recent years, he has occasionally participated in recording projects with his daughter, the singer Malú, or with his son José de Lucía, who has revealed himself as an exceptional guitarist.
At the same time, he alternates his collaborations with other artists of different genres, such as Alejandro Sanz - "La vida es un espejo"- or Vainica Doble. His compositions have been performed by artists such as Camarón de la Isla, Chiquetete, Azúcar Moreno, Susi, Laventa, Remedios Amaya, Chunguitos, Los Hermanos Reyes, Los Marismeños, María Jiménez, Tijeritas, Javier Ruibal and Manuel Cuevas, among others.
Great artists and musicians of the stature of Joan Albert Amargós, Tomatito, Niño Josele, Vicente Amigo, Josep Mas "Kitflus", Parrita, Manzanita, Remedios Amaya, Luis Cobos, Jesús Bola, Carles Benavent, Jorge Pardo, Rubem Dantas, Juan Manuel Cañizares, Antonio, Juan and Josemi Carmona, Pedro Ruy Blas, Tito Duarte, Tino di Geraldo, Diego Carrasco, Manuel Morao, Moraíto Chico have collaborated with Pepe.
He was also the director of the World Fair of Flamenco, held in Seville in 2002, with great success, as it attracted the presence of programmers from many countries, with a wide range of exhibitors, instruments, conferences and shows, attended by thousands of people.
As a producer, he directed the first records of Capullo de Jerez, La Macanita, Fernando Terremoto, los Zambos, Potito and the greatest hits of Tijeritas. When asked about some of the happiest moments of his artistic life, Pepe de Lucía is clear: "I'm proud of the exam I passed to become a flamenco professional, with a panel that included the greats of the golden era, la Niña de los Peines and Pepe Pinto, who were the ones who gave me my artist's licence. And, of course, that I was accompanied by Sabicas and Niño Ricardo".
PEPE DE LUCÍA VIDEO: https://youtu.be/XxLzdTbHN1Y
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