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This Summer CSU Summer Arts will once again take place in Granada, Spain, in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Granada Guitar Festival and Antonio Marin Montero guitar building competition, and you can take part! Summer Arts is a three-week program of master classes and guitar instruction conducted by some amazing player/teachers, including Pepe Romero, LAGQ, Vicente Coves, Scott Morris, Kai Narezo (me!) and more. Also, Summer Arts is open to just about anyone – not only CSU students or California residents.
There is a substantial amount of financial aid available, too, and the best way to find out how much aid you might get is to apply. Granada is a stunning and inspiring environment in which to study guitar, and you can’t do much better than spending three weeks with the likes of Pepe Romero and LAGQ and surrounded by other talented students who are all there to learn live, eat and drink guitar. GSI is proud to be a sponsor of the CSU Summer Arts in Granada and the Granada Guitar Festival and we hope to hear about some of your adventures in Spain! Application is now open so click over here to apply.
Our good friend Marcelo Kayath of Guitar CoOp just published an interview he conducted with maestro Pepe Romero at the Koblenz Guitar Festival last year. Marcelo is a great interviewer due to his insider/outsider status (he is recognized as having been one of the great guitarists of his generation but has not really been a part of the scene for the last 30 years) and always brings out the best in his subjects. In Part one of the interview they discuss Pepe’s early years studying with his father and how his lifelong love of flamenco began.
We stopped by the Romero compound in Del Mar, CA and spent some time with Pepe Romero and the Blochinger Pine Guitar, and of course we had to record Pepe playing the guitar itself. Check out Pepe playing Evocación and Tonadilla by Angel Barrios on this magnificent instrument and then discussing the history of the woods with GSI president David Collett. And you can read much more about the guitar and the wood used for the pine top here.
Here’s Andrea Gonzalez Caballero playing Manuel de Falla’s Danza del Molinero on a great 2014 Pepe Romero Jr. redwood and Indian rosewood classical. Pepe has made very few redwood guitars, and this one has a beautiful clarity to it, reminiscent of the Miguel Rodriguez redwood guitars. Like all of Pepe’s recent guitars, this one features his reverse-fan bracing system and a brass nut.
We were fortunate to be able to record a concert last year of the entire Romero family along with virtuoso ukulele player Daniel Ho. The concert featured duets by Pepe Romero and Daniel Ho, as well as solos by each, in the first half, and then the Romero quartet in the second half. Angel Romero even made an appearance and sat in with the quartet. All instruments – guitars and ukuleles – were made by luthier Pepe Romero Jr., and it’s a wonderful showcase of the instruments played by some seriously legendary players.
We have photos of the new guitar being made for us by Pepe Romero Jr., a stunning spruce and rosewood classical that he is finishing up now. In Pepe’s words:
This guitar is one of my “Centenario Models” dedicated to over 100 years since my grandfather’s birth. I dedicate all of my guitars to him, he was my inspiration to build guitars in the first place. He passed away before I ever made one, but is with me in Spirit. I decorate my Centenario model with a beautiful rope style purfling and use my most prized woods. The spruce top has been cut for well over 10 years and is spectacularly quarter sawn, with “Aguas” everywhere. The rosewood was cut in the 1960’s and is stunning. The woods used on this would be impossible to go out and buy, they are truly special…