Francisco's passion for music was evident at the very early age of 7 when he made his first bamboo flute by preheating a big nail and using it to burn holes into the bamboo. When Francisco was 14 years old, and a student in one of Mexico's middle schools, music instruction and English as a second language were requirements of the curriculum. Ironically, Francisco did not have much interest in either subject at that time. However, thanks to the encouragement of Maestro Isaac, who never gave up on his student, Francisco was soon playing the Guitar, Transversal Flute, Keyboard and Mandolin. "Maestro Isaac" quickly named Francisco his 'assistant'. Francisco now became the mentor to fellow students struggling with music. The school's band won various competitions on a local and regional level. As for English as a second language, it is a continual learning experience for Francisco.
With previous experience as Director of a church choir in Mexico City, his musical abilities were evident. In 1987, he found a new home in San Diego, California where he joined his church's youth choir and was quickly adopted as the choir's Director. Two years later, Francisco forms part of a Trio band called 'Inspiración Latina' performing at Casa Guadalajara Restaurant (now Guadalajara Grill) in Old Town San Diego. While a performer with Inspiracion Latina, Francisco played various musical genres including Ballads, Romantics, Cumbias, Rock and World music. Francisco has now developed unique skills in music that allow him to perform solo as a One Man Band. These abilities have made him a contestant of the national talent program "AMERICA'S GOT TALENT".
Latin Folk music is very much a part of Mexico. The songs of his father and his fathers ancestors became the first folk songs in Francisco's repertoire; many of them which can be found in CD4 and CD6. However, it was in 1995 while in the USA when unknowing to his beloved Ecuadorian friend, Francisco was introduced to Andean Music as a business possibility. Influenced by friends from Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador & Peru, Francisco taught himself to play the Andean wind instruments Zampoña and Quena to later master the use of the Quenacho, Rondador, Toyos and many other South American panpipes.
After forming part of various bands & choirs, Francisco decided to form his own musical group. Guided by an overwhelming entrepreneurial spirit, a love for his roots, and a passion for music, Francisco's dream of introducing others to the mystical and soothing sounds of Latin Folk music thru live concerts led him to form a group of performing artists called TINKU. Four years later, in 1999, Francisco Astudillo forms his own independent recording label named TINKU RECORDS
Shortly after its inception in 1995, TINKU has averaged an impressive minimum of 300+ shows per year; performing at various venues including Old Town San Diego at Bazaar del Mundo, Rancho el Nopal Restaurant, Plaza del Pasado, Fiesta de Reyes, Casa de Bandini; at festivals and fairs; at shopping centers and theme parks like the San Diego Wild Animal Park & Zoo; Seaworld California; at various schools & colleges; with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra; @ the SuperBowl XXXVII and at private engagements and corporate events. Most recently, TINKU performs @ establishments like Seaport Village; Old Town San Diego @ the Old Town Market; and at Universal Studios among others. View current schedule here.
Today, Francisco plays a minimum of 13 instruments. He has also performed solo as a One Man Band incorporating a minimum of 5-7 instruments during a single song theme with all of the music being 100% live. A must see and hear! His musical career has taken him to places like Oregon and London; to the countries of Greece, México and Perú. In Mexico, Francisco studied traditional Mexican music. While in Perú, he participated in an Andean Culture Seminar and studied traditional Andean music; customs; culture; language (Quechua and Aymara); and fabrication of Andean instruments. In the United States, Francisco participated in a seminar on Early Californian music. Today, he enjoys sharing his culture and the culture of many Latin American people through the mystical sounds of TINKU.