Irvine Barclay Theatre


The concert honors the legacy of Paco De Lucía with fiery music and dance.

Paco de Lucía Project

Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 8pm

Tickets: $45, $55, $65, $110

Irvine Barclay Theatre - 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine CA | 949.854.4646

Paco de Lucía was widely considered to be the world’s premier flamenco guitarist and by many to be Spain’s greatest musical export. Paco de Lucía Project reassembles the original band that toured with the legendary flamenco guitarist for the last 10 years of his career. 


This uniquely personal tribute will include de Lucía's jewels such as "Zyryab," "Canción de Amor" and "Entre dos Aguas," as well as passionate flamenco dance.

The concert will include the dancer Farruco, who hails from an illustrious Spanish flamenco dynasty: his grandfather, El Farruco, was the greatest gypsy dancer of the 20th century.


LINEUP: Antonio Sánchez (guitar); Antonio Serrano (harmonica); Alain Pérez (bass); Israel Suárez “Piraña” (percussion); David de Jacoba (vocals); Antonio Fernández “Farruco” (dance)


YouTube: Paco de Lucia Project trailer

NPR Feature


2011 interview with late guitarist Paco de Lucía




Great bandleaders shape their ensembles into their personal instruments.


In the early 1980s, guitarist and composer Paco de Lucía assembled a sextet, which, in its instrumentation and jazz-like approach, would forever change the sound of flamenco. It would take the guitarist 20 years to put together another group that would provide him with the support needed for his talent and his vision.


The nucleus of the band came together in 2004, at the recording of de Lucia´s Latin Grammy Award-winning Cositas Buenas (Good Little Things), and grew into a collection of exceptional young talent, including his nephew, guitarist Antonio Sánchez; bassist Alain Pérez; percussionist Israel Suárez "Piraña"; Antonio Serrano on harmonica; singer David de Jacoba; and dancer Antonio Fernandez "Farruco" (aka “Farru”).


With this group, de Lucía (born Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomez) toured and performed for the next 10 years. The combustible mix of wisdom and power was best captured in the 2010 double CD, Paco de Lucía En Vivo – Conciertos: Live in Spain.


But de Lucía died unexpectedly of a heart attack in Mexico on February 25, 2014. He was 66. His passing seemed to also mark the end of his group. It did not.


The Paco de Lucía Project, created by Grammy Award-winning producer and composer Javier Limón, a longtime collaborator and friend of de Lucía, brings back together the group for a celebration of Paco and his legacy.


"For us, it's a tribute to a genius, a teacher, a partner in so many adventures, and someone we loved very much," says Antonio Sánchez. “In this project, each one of us contributes our part to celebrate Paco and his work. Serrano is such a brilliant harmonica player; Piraña is the best percussionist in the history of flamenco; Alain is a tremendous musician and composer, and Farru and David are great at what they do."


Sánchez, the son of Paco's older brother, also named Antonio Sánchez, started playing at a very young age under the watchful eye of his uncles, Paco and Ramón de Algeciras, and his cousin, José María Bandera. Sánchez also studied with Juan Manuel Cañizares, another flamenco guitar and composition luminary. Antonio then worked with dance companies and in tablaos (flamenco clubs), most notably the popular tablao Cordobés de Barcelona. In 2010, he joined his uncle as a second guitar, replacing the then-budding flamenco star Niño Josele.


"Paco saw me perform only a few times, but when he needed a guitarist, someone suggested my name, and he hired me," recalls Sánchez. As for the difference between Paco the uncle and Paco the boss, Sanchez asserts: "Paco was always the same, on stage, out on the street or at home. He was very humble and had a great sense of humor. When this group played with him, there was a great sense of collaboration between all of us⁠—glances, smiles, a knowing wink. There was a lot of communication without words. It felt very much like a family."


That sentiment was, in fact, one of the reasons that inspired producer Javier Limón, who won a Latin Grammy with de Lucía for Cositas Buenas, to create The Paco de Lucía Project.


Javier Limón recalled that while producing Entre 20 Aguas (Between 20 Waters), a Latin Grammy Award-winning album of Paco de Lucía’s music (including a cast of international superstars), he was reminded that “Paco had created a new sound with his first group and another with this band, because it's made of musicians from a different generation than his.”


Limón: “He had arrived at a different approach to composing and to a different sonority. And I kept thinking, why are we throwing away a sound that took so many years and so much work to create?


“And the other reason is emotional. For all of us to get together for Paco and remember the moments and the stories from the concerts and the tours is such a joy." 


On stage de Lucía gave his band "a lot of freedom," said Sánchez.


"With his first sextet he had to create everything from zero, there were no models," he said. "The members of our band grew up listening to Paco, so we arrived with our homework done. The dynamic was different."


Perhaps mirroring Miles Davis´s approach, who famously told his musicians that he paid them "to rehearse on stage," de Lucía didn´t rehearse his band, recalled Sánchez. It was a strategy that created a creative tension, that "in performance, forced us to be more in-the-moment," he said. And after all, he noted, "the language of a group is not made of words, but of listening, of paying attention and taking chances.


"I take carrying on Paco's music with great humility. It's a great challenge," said Sánchez, who, by carrying Paco´s family name and being the guitarist in the group, has the added burden of "playing Paco." 


"The name is a burden only if you don´t study, if you don´t apply yourself and work. I come from a very humble family. That doesn´t affect me. As a guitarist, it falls on me to present his work, but this project is by all of us. The important things here are the music and the group."





Alain Pérez (Bass) was born in Trinidad, Cuba, and his early musical studies included classical guitar and piano. His early Cuban musical credits include recordings with Chucho Valdés and Issac Delgado. He was part of the “Cuba Team” all-stars, who toured Europe in 1998. He made his recording debut with Paco de Lucía in 2004 on the Latin Grammy Award-winning CD, Cositas Buenas, produced by Javier Limón. Pérez has collaborated with Celia Cruz, Enrique Morente, Paquito D’Rivera, Chick Corea, Diego el Cigala, Jerry González, among others. He has released a number of solo recordings, including the 2015 CDs El Alma del Son: A Tribute to Matamoros and Hablando con Juana.


Antonio Serrano (Harmonica) is a Madrid native who had studied harmonica from the age of seven. He studied under the great Larry Adler, with whom he first achieved international recognition on the European concert stage. His studies have ranged from the classical idiom to that of blues, jazz and pop. He has played with or recorded with Toots Thielemans and Wynton Marsalis and has performed original classical concertos for harmonica, as well as arrangements of Gershwin, Piazzolla and others. He and Paco de Lucía are credited with introducing the harmonica to flamenco when Serrano joined the guitarist’s ensemble in 2004. He has released 11 solo albums, including Harmonious (2012).


Antonio Sánchez (Guitar), born in Madrid in 1984, began to study flamenco guitar at an early age with his uncles Paco de Lucia and Ramón de Algeciras, and with his cousin, José María Bandera. He continued his training with the maestro Juan Manuel Cañizares. His career started in the flamenco tablaos of Madrid and Barcelona, touring with the flamenco ballet companies of Antonio Marquez and Domingo Ortega. In 2010, he joined the Paco de Lucia ensemble as second guitar, touring with de Lucía throughout Europe and North America.


David de Jacoba (Vocals) is considered one of the most important young flamenco artists in the world today. His debut album, Jubileo, produced by Lucky Losada and Carlos de Jacoba, was nominated for Best Album by a New Singer at the Flamenco Hoy Awards. The CD features a who’s who of flamenco stars, from Pepe Habichuela and Vicente Amigo to Juan Antonio Salazar and Tomatito. Paco de Lucía chose David to accompany him during his last four years on tour. David’s credits also include collaborations with flamenco greats Enrique Morente, Joaquín Cortés, Sara Baras, Niño Josele and Duquende, as well as leading figures in Latin jazz, including Giovanni Hidalgo and Jerry González.


Israel Suarez “Piraña” (Percussion) is one of the most renowned cajón (box drum) players in the world. He began his career with the singer Niña Pastori and has performed with a panoply of major stars, including Vicente Amigo, Sara Baras, Antonio Canales, Arcángel, Luz Casal, and Buika, as well as American pop artist Lenny Kravitz, Portuguese fado star Mariza and Latin pop singers Ricky Martin and Alejandro Fernández. Piraña (whose nickname refers to the ferocious piranha fish) toured and recorded with Paco de Lucía’s ensemble for over 10 years, a special honor given De Lucía’s groundbreaking role in introducing the Peruvian cajón to the traditional flamenco ensemble.


Farruco (Dancer) is the brother of the great dancer Farruquito.  Born Antonio Fernández Montoya in Seville in 1988, he took his famous grandfather’s artistic name, Farruco, as his own. He made his debut on the international flamenco scene in Berlin at the age of two; and made his U.S. debut in 2001 in his brother’s show, Farruquito and Family. In 2006, he premiered his first solo show and embarked on a world tour that included the New York City Center. His credits reach beyond flamenco, including performances with Beyoncé, Björk, Marc Anthony and Paulina Rubio. He toured his second choreographed work, Los Farruco, from 2008 to 2009. During this period, he also found the time to write music and lyrics for Tomatito, Los Makarines, and for his brother’s flamenco show, Puro. In 2010, he joined Paco de Lucía’s company, performing in over 100 shows worldwide with the guitar legend.


Javier Limón (Producer). A graduate of the Madrid Royal Conservatory, where he studied classical piano, oboe and guitar, Javier Limón began his career as a composer, working with various flamenco artists. Raised in Spain, he traveled to New York City at an early age to train in American arts schools. After meeting Bebo Valdés and Jerry González, Limón began working in Latin jazz with Cuban musicians, in addition to working in flamenco. In 2004, Limón was awarded the Latin Grammy for Producer of the Year for his work on five records: Lágrimas Negras by Diego el Cigala and Bebo Valdés; Cositas Buenas by Paco de Lucía; El Cantante by Andrés Calamaro; El Pequeño Reloj by Enrique Morente; Niño Josele by Niño Josele; and the multi-artist collection Tributo Flamenco a Don Juan Valderrama. In 2009, Limón won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for recording Juntos Para Siempre, a series of father-and-son piano duets by Bebo and Chucho Valdés. Limón has combined several professional occupations within the worlds of art and communication. Although he has mainly focused on composition and the production of albums, film scores and television shows, his work as a communicator and teacher is equally impressive. He is currently the artistic director of the Mediterranean Music Institute at the Berklee College of Music.


This event is sponsored by: Drs. Hana and Francisco Ayala


Irvine Barclay Theatre 2019-2020 Season sponsor: UCI Health


About Irvine Barclay Theatre

Since opening its doors in 1990, Irvine Barclay Theatre has emerged as one of California's most imaginative performing arts showcases. A unique collaborative venture among the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and the private sector, the theatre has a reputation for wide-ranging programming in the fields of contemporary dance, music, and theater arts. Performances take place in the 750-seat "jewel box" theatre which is renowned for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics. Visit to learn about our exciting new season!