R.I.P Esteban Antonio Flamenco Guitarist

The flamenco guitarist Esteban Antonio passed away some months ago.

I receive this news with sadness.

I knew Esteban Antonio very well when we were in our twenties. He was studying at the Royal College of Music and I was teaching flamenco guitar at the Spanish Guitar Centre in London.

When I first met him he was studying classical guitar and seemed to have spent some years emulating the classical guitarist John Williams, whose father Leonard Williams originated the Spanish Guitar Centre.

About the time we met Esteban heard or had already heard Paco de Lucía and was immediately overawed and started on a new path to study and play the music of the great maestro Paco de Lucía.

I remember at the time suggesting that it would be impossible to match Paco and certainly unrealistic to aim to play scales as fast as Paco but Esteban had a can do attitude. He was vivacious and just wanted to jump in and practice endlessly to move towards his goal.

I was a very different guitarist preferring Paco Peña and seeking emotions that are present deep in flamenco even without the outward displays of virtuosity.

We were also very different people. I was always early to bed but Esteban loved the night and excitement.

But we respected each other and got along very well and we played duets together performing around the London music scene, particularly the Pizza Pomodoro in Knightsbridge which was a family run Italian restaurant with  a small stage area and the owner had a love and respect for good music.

The restaurant was very popular with people seeking good food and good music and I remember one night the very respected popular singer Paul Young (Wherever I Lay My Hat) sat at the table right on the edge of the stage with his friends and clearly respected and enjoyed flamenco.

Esteban Antonio was a very handsome young man and attracted quite a lot of attention but he never seemed to care about all that, his eyes were always on his guitar and his conversation was always about flamenco guitar playing in general and Paco de Lucía in particular.

We got along very well and he stayed at my flat several times.

Some years ago he bought  a fabulous Arcangel Fernandez Flamenco guitar which is currently for sale at the Kent Guitar Classics where you can read more information about the guitar and hear Esteban play it.

I think Esteban’s illness originated as a heart problem although it may have been exacerbated by other factors as the condition developed over time.

Esteban absolutely adored and idolised Paco de Lucía who died far too soon of a heart attack on 25 February 2014.

Now Esteban Antonio has departed this world, again far too soon and I pray that he is in heaven playing duets with Paco.