The Kennedy Center

Paco Díez


Guitarist Paco Díez, one of the most important musicians in Judeo-Spanish music, has been decorated by the Sephardic authorities (ANL) for his work in spreading Sephardic music and culture.  Díez was born in December 1961 in Piñel de Abajo (Valladolid) into a family of farm-workers in the heart of Castile. From his infancy he was raised to feel and to think in the manner of the rural world in which he lived, at a time when, due to rural developments, folk traditions were beginning to disappear.

After his primary studies in the village, he attended Secondary School in Valladolid and later obtained his University Degree in French Philology in 1985. He was then posted to Brest and Lorient (Brittany, France) for two years, where he worked in secondary schools as a Spanish assistant. There he perfected his knowledge of French and of the country’s culture. This has enabled him to maintain excellent relationships with numerous folk groups as well as with traditional cultural centres in Spain’s neighbouring country.

His professional career began in 1975 when he decided to retrieve, preserve, and disseminate the traditional music of Castile and Leon.  He has given recitals at which, in addition to the music of his home region, he has always enjoyed performing melodies and rhythms from other areas of Spain, with the more general aim of spreading the Iberian musical culture.

He founded La Bazanca in 1980, bringing together diverse traditions from the past into the present. These varied and rich musical influences, which co-exist harmoniously, continue to stimulate him to search for new sounds and for new instruments directly inherited from the Castilian musical tradition. This makes Díez, with his voice, guitar, hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, and percussion, an interesting and valued musician.  Besides his ability to entertain us, he is a much-needed scholar, who works diligently to collect folk traditions from the varied regions of Spain.

As soloist and founder of La Bazanca, he is one of the major exponents of Judeo-Spanish Music, on a national and international level, since recording Canciones Sefardíes (a monographic collection) in 1983 and his last recording Romanzas de Amor in 2000.

His presentations on traditional Iberian instruments would be a delight and of huge interest to any group keen to learn more about Spain, the rest of Europe and America.

Díez and La Bazanca have already performed more than 2,000 concerts and lectures in Spain and they have also given concerts abroad, which are too numerous to mention.  It suffices to say that they have been well received on their tours to France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Poland, Israel, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Morocco, Paraguay, Brazil, and the U.S.. Thus they have become one of the most prestigious groups in the folk circuit as well as ambassadors of the Spanish language, tradition, and culture.
Paco Díez