The subway line that passes by where I’m staying in Madrid begins (or ends, your choice) at Paco de Lucía station. It is a new extension and the new station was going to be called something else, but then the great guitarist and composer died (on February 25, 2014) and when it opened last year it was named after him.

As it turns out, in a used book stand by El Retiro, this weekend, I found “Paco de Lucía El Hijo de la Portuguesa” (Paco de Lucía The son of the Portuguese woman) by Juan José Téllez (2015, Planeta) and it´s a close, intimate bio by a friend. (I don’t know if it´s out in English yet but it’s worth searching for it.)

Some of Paco´s quotes should be must reading for young musicians: “I’m always very open, in general, to criticism. In fact, I like the negative criticism more than I like the favorable one, because I’m used to compliments and adulation. When I see bad review I’m interested in what they are saying and finding what I can get from it.” Or, when discussing tradition, “If you anchor yourself in the past, each day you’re dying a bit more.”

Music is such a mysterious art. We hear ten guys who play guitar fast, cleanly, with great emotion, yet we can hear that THAT one is different. Then we learn that Francisco Sánchez Gomes read three books a week (from Dickens to Murakami to Perez-Galdós,” says his son Curro), loved movies — Hitchcock, John Ford but especially Billy Wilder are mentioned — and had marathon weekends of Spanish film … and there is just so much more to the man, and it’s all in the music. A friend calls him “un revolucionario conservador,” a conservative revolutionary or, perhaps, a revolutionary conservative.

A good spot for the beginning (or end, your choice) of a line.

30 May, 2016 – Madrid