Paco Peña’s original concept for a flamenco Mass sprang from the desire to unite the Catholic perception of the religious Mass to flamenco musical tradition: a flamenco artist is raised with both, and both evoke the same intangible sentiments within the artist. On one hand, the Mass is a vehicle for people to reach to God and places in them in a spiritual state that helps them to achieve communion with Him; it is a spiritual act and is also highly emotional. On the other hand, flamenco is also as art form, charged with emotional content which, in a genuine delivery, goes beyond the merely physical action of singing and touches “spiritual” levels. Therefore, these two expressions of the religious Mass and flamenco singing have the potential of achieving a very powerful emotional experience (almost touching a trance-like state).
Paco’s initial approach to the composition of the Mass was to adapt the Spanish Catholic Mass set texts, which he took to the Bishop of Córdoba whose approval was received for the new version.
Paco then used his vast knowledge of flamenco tradition and flamenco forms in order to choose the most effective and appropriate settings for the words. The flamenco elements in the Mass are, in some instances, given a classical treatment, thus achieveing a musical effect which can be appreciated by a broader spectrum of listener.
In addition to a basic group of flamenco artists (male and female singers, guitarists and a percussionist) the Mass includes a choir of a minimum of 20 voices. It has also been performed with a male dancer in concert.
This emotional mixture of the Catholic mass and the different flamenco forms, joined by a classical choir, took the musical world by storm.