Even though the roots of Paco’s music are Flamenco – pure Andalucian style – it has moved on quite a way since the Granada days. The Paco Fernández groove and the Ibiza sound are inseparable. He talks about his music as a movement, which began for him with the ‘Vivir en el Mediterraneo’ (translation: Living in the Mediterranean) album a quarter of a century ago. He collaborated on the famous ‘Café del Mar’ compilations but says this style of music actually goes back to the late sixties when artists like the Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell and Pink Floyd came to the white island to experiment and express a certain way of living which was all about freedom, integration and respect for different cultures and religions.
“Ibiza is the perfect place for me,” says Paco “I love the Ibicencan spirit; it is very special, like being in a permanent state of illusion. It makes you happy to be alive – something I express through my music. I love the sea, the winters, the summers and for my children there is a very peaceful environment with a lot of understanding. I couldn’t live in a city like New York for example but the great thing about this island is that we have all these people from all over the world here. We are well connected and at the centre of the Mediterranean.”
The Paco Fernández musical family is actually linked by blood ties. The project incorporates three generations, including nieces, nephews and children. “We are all friends, on top of being family. And I would say my son Stevie is the group’s vertebra,” says Paco of the group’s hip hop/rap talent and producer, who has obviously inherited his father’s musical flair. The group is eclectic in the true sense of the word, including a variety of players from Cuban percussionists to electronic computer effects. Paco feels that music is an universal language, which is why he doesn’t let rules or strict musical doctrines affect him. Also the dancer, a teacher of classical ballet as well as contemporary styles, applies different influences to her performance in a socalled ‘Flamenco Mediterraneo’. “It’s a more open style of dancing Flamenco that is much softer. It’s less red and much more blue, with lots of light and the typical smells of pine and salt,” as Paco describes it.
When it comes to playing live, there is no fixed structure. “We don’t have any closed themes; we are in a permanent state of improvisation, like the groups in the Seventies. It’s a groove that works because all the musicians are soloists. I’m the one who keeps the coordination, “ explains Paco. “A theme today might be another one tomorrow. This way the music stays fresh and we can let the environment and the crowd affect us. The same theme will sound different in front of a Spanish crowd than in front of a German crowd, for example.”
There seems to be nowhere that Paco fears to tread. He has even transcended the typical live musician’s nightmare of playing in a house club. His repertoire is a regular highlight of the Manumission nights, although Paco does admit the extra challenge of playing in a nightclub, “I had to invent a formula to be able to play in a disco. I analysed the technicalities and realised I had to play maximum fifteen minutes but explosively. Another thing is you can’t compete with the DJ’s sound system.” Rather than declaring war on the DJ's, they have become allies for Paco. Having worked with the likes of Sven Väth, José Padilla, Pippi and Joan Rivers, Paco says he maintains exquisite relationships with all of them.
“My reason for being an artist is to change the things I’m not happy with. Artists are always looking for new forms. The guitar is my vehicle for expression and music is a way of life for me,” concludes Paco.