Flamenco chime: Spanish town’s clock rings out star’s song

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<span>Photograph: Koca Sulejmanovic/EPA</span>
Photograph: Koca Sulejmanovic/EPA

Seven years after his sudden death, the birthplace of the pioneering flamenco guitarist and songwriter Paco de Lucía is honouring one of its most famous and beloved sons by using his music to mark the hour twice a day on the town hall clock.

On Monday, the southern Spanish city of Algeciras began using De Lucía’s best-known song, Entre dos aguas, to ring in midday and 6pm. A computer system has been connected to the clock and, in a move that may trouble fans of flamenco’s loud and passionate strains, the sound level checked to ensure it does not exceed permitted limits.

“Algeciras is paying a tiny bit of the debt of gratitude it owes the greatest guitarist of all time and, in doing so, joins the small list of cities around the world that honour their geniuses by playing their compositions in public,” the mayor, José Ignacio Landaluce, said at the inauguration ceremony on Monday.

De Lucía, who died of a heart attack in Mexico aged 66, was one of the key figures in the development of new flamenco, which took the traditional sounds and techniques of the guitar style and fused them with influences including jazz, blues and rock.

Entre dos aguas (Between two waters), a fast, virtuosic instrumental recorded for his 1973 album Fuente y Caudal, became his most famous song, and achieved an Ibiza chillout afterlife when it was included on one of the popular Café del Mar compilations in the mid-90s.

Monday’s launch was attended by De Lucía’s first wife, Casilda Varela, by two of his daughters, Lucía and Casilda, and by his brother, Pepe.

Landaluce said the clock’s new chimes were part of a wider programme to honour De Lucía, including the creation of a permanent centre bearing his name “that will become a first-class model when it comes to both culture and tourism”.

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