acg, voc, g, key, 1950-2005 US
Singer / Musician / Songwriter of Rock and Blues
Paul Pena (born January 26, 1950, Hyannis, Massachusetts, USA – died October 1, 2005, San Francisco, California, USA) was an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. Born with congenital glaucoma, Paul was completely blind by age 20. He learned to play music from an early age and did a lot of performing in Massachusetts. In 1971, he moved to San Francisco and recorded his first record for Capitol Records in the same year. His next album titled "New Train" was recorded in the mid-1970's and was supposed to be his breakthrough record, but it was not released. His song "Jet Airliner" from that album was covered by the Steve Miller Band, and Paul lived off of the royalties for many years. The album was finally released in 2000 on Hybrid Recordings. In addition to his solo work, he also performed with such blues artists as John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and T-Bone Walker. Paul also became known for having taught himself the method of Tuvan throat singing after he heard a recording of it on his shortwave radio in 1984. When Kongar-Ool Ondar, a master of the technique, performed in San Francisco in 1993, Paul sang a piece to him, and Kongar-ol was so impressed that he invited him to attend the second international Khoomei Symposium and contest held in Tuva. Paul's visit to Tuva is documented in the film Ghengis Blues (1999). Paul took first place in the Kargyraa section of the contest and also won the Audience Favorite award. Since the release of the film, Genghis Blues and the accompanying CD soundtrack, Paul was named "San Francisco's Tuvan Blues Ambassador" and July 11, 1999 was declared "Paul Pena Day" by the mayor.
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