Peña was born into a family of musicians in Lebrija, a historic walled town outside of Seville. As El Lebrijano, he was known as a flamenco innovator whose more than 30 albums included collaborations with a symphony orchestra and recordings of poetry set to music. His album Cuando Lebrijano Canta Se Moja El Agua (When Lebrijano Sings, Water Gets Wet), a phrase that Gabriel Garcia Marquez was said to have used to describe the flamenco artist’s impact, was based on texts by the Colombian writer.
El Lebrijano paid homage to flamenco’s Moorish roots, recording with the Andalusian Orquestra of Tangier. His Evangelio Gitano, from 1981, considered the first Andalusian opera, was recorded by artists including singer Rocio Jurado and guitarist Manolo Sanlucar. He was the first flamenco artist to perform at Madrid’s Teatro Real.