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My friend Scott Wolf has just published a set of arrangements of five of Ignacio Cervantes’ Cuban dances (It’s called ‘Escenas’ and you can get it here). Scott came by the shop and there was this amazing 1982 Daniel Friederich, so we couldn’t resist recording on it. Here’s Scott playing his arrangement of Cervantes’ ‘Invitacion’.
Scott Wolf stopped by again last week to play a bunch of the cool guitars that had just come in, including a 2000 Blochinger, a 1930 Santos Hernandez. He was working on Koshkin’s ‘Usher Waltz,’ so we recorded that on all the guitars. It’s a cool piece, and since it has a huge dynamic range the beginning of the piece may seem a little quiet – the alternative was to over-compress the piece, so I chose to leave the quiet parts quiet (call me old-fashioned).
My good friend Scott Wolf was telling me how much fun he was having learning Turina’s ‘Fandanguillo’ and what a great piece it is, so naturally I convinced him that the best way to own the piece was to play it on a bunch of guitars that I, just coincidentally, wanted to record for GSI. Scott obliged, so here he is playing ‘Fandanguillo’ on a Jose Lopez Bellido, that new Erez Perelman and a 2010 Pepe Romero Jr.
While some of the material on the Flamenco Explained site features material and tutorials on playing pieces or falsetas, in some of the videos I do my best to explain some of the concepts that I know from experience can really confuse students. Here’s an example of a video where I do a fair bit of talking in an attempt to explain the concept of compás. Compás is a somewhat slippery topic because the word itself is used in so many different ways in flamenco – I’d even argue that it has a few different meanings – so I try to break down the more important aspects of what it is and how it works. If you’re new to flamenco, or have had a hard time grasping what exactly compás is, then this might be a useful lesson. I also break down how compás works in my book, Flamenco Explained, which I co-wrote with Dr. Scott Wolf.
Kai Narezo here – those of you who read this blog may know me as the guy who records the videos for GSI, who writes a lot of the blog posts and who makes the occasional video. While I’ve been doing this for GSI over the last eight or so years I’ve also had a career as a flamenco guitarist and teacher, gigging all over the place and teaching privately. I’ve taught at Pasadena City College, CSU Summer Arts and currently am faculty at Cal State Dominguez Hills. This year I’m honored to be a part of developing what should be the first flamenco program in the country where music majors can concentrate in flamenco guitar. In a few days I take off for Granada Spain, where I will again be teaching flamenco for CSU Summer Arts. All this to say that I’ve been on something of a mission to teach flamenco to the world!
I am super excited to announce that my new book Flamenco Explained, co-written with my good friend, classical guitarist Scott Wolf, DMA, is out and ready to ship! The idea behind Flamenco Explained is to demystify how flamenco works so that classical guitarists (or anyone, really) can understand this amazing art form without dropping everything and moving to Spain. Flamenco Explained isn’t a method. Rather it’s a book that breaks down the inner workings of flamenco and explains how Compás works and prepares new flamenco players to work and communicate with other flamenco musicians. For classical players in particular, the book gives context so you can bring authenticity to your flamenco pieces.
You can read more about why I wrote the book on the Flamenco Explained website. And if you have questions or comments about the book I would love to hear from you!
Saro Babikian is a student of Scott Tennant at USC where he is an undergrad senior, and he came highly recommended by Scott. He came in to record some videos and here he is playing Leo Brouwer’s Tres Apuntes: The first on a 2004 Darryl Perry, the second on a new 2018 Carlos Juan Busquiel and the third on a new 2018 Wolfgang Jellinghaus – the latter two both new makers in the GSI roster.
We were thrilled to have the Duo Montes Kircher stop by the showroom earlier this year to record some videos for us. Husband and wife Alfonso Montes and Irina Montes have been playing as a duo since 1984, and you can hear more about them here in their interview for Scott Wolf’s All Strings Considered podcast. Here they play Montes’ piece Bambuco on a pair of La Cañada 115 and 115A guitars – both based on Torres SE 115, with one in an antiqued look and the other in a clean French polish.
Kai Narezo is a flamenco guitarist who has always had one foot planted in the Old World and the other in the New. His sound is a reflection of his reality—a deep reverence for the roots and the soul of traditional flamenco, a love for the modern flamenco landscape, and an American sensibility rooted in jazz-fusion and contemporary production techniques. His expertise will be shared in the soon-to-be released textbook, A Compás: The Flamenco Guitar Survival Guide, co-authored with Dr. Scott Wolf, and which is the first book to explain the underlying structure of the flamenco forms and other ‘unteachable’ aspects of this art form. A Compás will be the first text ever to be used to teach flamenco at Berklee College of Music. In addition to being a world-class teacher and performer, Kai is also an avid recording artist, having recently completed his latest feature length album, “Contra Tiempo”.