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Full name

Agustín Castellón Campos

Place of birth



Agustín Castellón Campos, Sabicas, was born at number 4 in calle Mañueta in Pamplona in 1912 He saw the first light of day amongst 'sanfermines´ -festival of San Fermin - and gypsies, in the city, which Hemingway didn´t take long to make popular with his journalistic pen His parents bought his first 'sonanta´ for 17 pesetas (0,10 euros) and only two years later he started on a stage It was in the Gayarre Theatre, where he played for a ceremony of swearing of allegiance to the flag From here on, Sabicas, who had gained his nickname for his early love of eating raw beans, Niño de las Habicas, could no longer tear himself away from the six cords

However one of the key points of his quick formation coincided with his move to Madrid at the age of ten Manuel Bonet didn´t take long to discover him and this led him to debut in the Eldorado Theatre in the La Chelitos company One can´t forget the similarity of Sabicas with the maestro Ramón Montoya, a relative of his mother, if you want to understand the inclination, which Agustín demonstrated towards the solo flamenco guitar In his first years as a professional he was a staunch follower of Montoya However the thirties provoked a radical change in him He worked accompanying the most relevant singers of the moment, Juan Valderrama, El Carbonerillo, Antonio el de la Calzá?, he carried out numerous recordings, in which he appeared as Niño Sabicas, which helped him to conceive a more personal style of guitar playing, with a unmistakable and un-repeatable technique with his right hand

However, the point of inflexion in his artistic and personal trajectory arrived with the Civil War His exile was nearly obligatory At this point, his path crossed with no other than Carmen Amaya Together they crossed the pond, destination South America, to offer a tour throughout the continent, which kept them away from the Spanish political confrontations However Sabicas started to take a liking to those lands and in the middle of the fifties moved to New York to perform solo concerts

Paco de Lucía discovered him there during his first tour with the dancer José Greco Agustín Castellón had opened his mind in America to the point of recording his first album, admittedly an attempt of fusion, Rock encounter (Polygram, 1966), alongside Joe Beck The results weren´t satisfactory according to the protagonist himself who even said: «I don´t like rock or jazz I did it because my brother Diego wanted to tackle other fields to sell more » The relationship which Agustín maintained with masters of jazz the size of Charles Mingus, Ben E King, Gill Evans, Thelonius Monk or Miles Davis are also very important The record companies treated Sabicas as one of them by the record companies and distributed his recordings worldwide He didn´t return to Spain until 1967 and returned periodically from then on Twenty years on, his native country paid their first national tribute to him, specifically in Madrid, whose Royal Theatre opened their doors to him

Before this, in 1982, Pamplona dedicated their 'sanfermines´ to him This was a period of enjoyment for the brilliant guitarist, who even recorded with Enrique Morente a year before his death At the beginning of 1990 the news was felt like a cold shower: «Sabicas passes away in a hospital in the Bronx» The 14th of April of the same year, New York saw how the gypsy from Pamplona left us forever

Type of artist




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