Archive for January, 2011
OK – I’m a little obsessed with James Bond, and the music is a huge part of that, so I was very sad to read that John Barry, who composed most of the iconic Bond music (including the amazing Goldfinger theme) had died yesterday. You can read his L.A. Times Obituary here.
Here’s a lovely little video of Danish luthier Kenneth Brogger at work in his shop, accompanied by the playing of guitarist Kaare Norge (playing one of Brogger’s guitars, of course). I’ve been lucky enough to spend probably hundreds of hours in luthiers’ shops, and I never seem to tire of watching it happen.
Here’s Grisha playing a 1997 Gerundino negra – one of the best Gerundinos I’ve played. The piece is Rafael Riqueñi’s Garrotin, from the album ‘Mi Tiempo’. If you don’t know Riqueñi he’s definitely worth checking out – it’s hard to describe what it is about him that’s different, but I consider him one of the best composers in flamenco. This is one of his most classically inspired pieces, and while I wouldn’t describe him as overly influenced by classical, there is an element of that in a lot of his work, which is in no way to say that he’s not a thoroughly flamenco guitarist/composer. There’s an elegance about his pieces. Just check him out if you haven’t already.
Here’s an article I found on practicing. Some of it may seem obvious, but some of it may be new. I’m constantly reassessing how I practice and how my students practice, and it’s clearly one of the most important elements in our musical success. And it always amazes me how I can learn from people who I wouldn’t expect to learn from, or from people in radically different disciplines. Feel free to send me any cool info or articles you have on the subject.
Ricardo Iznaola also has a cool little book called ’On Practicing’ that you can check out here.
The guitar world lost a dear friend and great guitar maker this week with the passing of Manuel Contreras II – known to everyone as Pablo. Our condolences go out to his family and friends and the extended family of guitarists who loved him.
Though I had been acquainted with Pablo for many years, it wasn’t until this past May that I really got to know him a bit when I sat down to do some interviews and hang out with him at his shop in Madrid. I was struck by his sense of humor, his honesty and his conviction in all things guitar. It was my last day in Madrid and I remember wishing I could stay another day or two to take him up on his offer to go get a drink after the shop closed.
This one’s for the Spanish speakers out there, sent to me by our friend Vicente Coves – Pepe Romero talking about being intimidated by the difficulty of the piece Rodrigo had written for him, ‘Concierto Para Una Fiesta’. He even thought Rodrigo had made a mistake on the tempo marking since it seemed too fast. But Rodrigo told him that the tempo was right – he had written it especially for Pepe – so Pepe had no choice but to learn it.
Here’s more of Ben Woods playing the GSI Studio Series Flamenco model. I’ve had that Tango stuck in my head since Friday when we recorded it (not a bad thing). And while I’m clearly biased, I think that’s an awesome guitar for the money. I’m thinking of getting one and putting a MIDI pickup in it, since I don’t really want to put holes in my other guitars. Any MIDI guitar gurus out there? Last time I messed with that stuff I had mixed results, probably as a result of my impatience, but it may be time to give it another whirl. Has the state of the art (I guess I use the term ‘art’ loosely when it comes to MIDI) advanced at all?