Archives for June 2017

Spanish Guitar Tapas Night White Hart Fyfield Oxfordshire

I was very pleased to play Spanish Flamenco and Classical Guitar music for the Tapas Night at the White Hart in Fyfield, Oxfordshire.

By following the mood throughout the evening I was able to select pieces from my repertoire to provide music that was appropriate as the evening developed.

Untypically I started quite energetically. There were a few diners in the first 20 minutes, they were friendly and very well disposed to having live music from a guitarist.

So, I began by playing happy celebratory flamenco styles such as Colombiana, Guajira and Rumba which are all of South American origin and then following with Alegrias, Zapateado and Fandangos which are all from Andalucia.

A little later I went upstairs to the gallery which is quite small and intimate so I felt it best to play some quiet Classical pieces and chose Capricho Arabe and Recuerdos de La Alhambra, both by Francisco Tarrega and then Romance Anonimo which as its name suggests is anonymous but certainly has been very much enjoyed by audiences all over the world for many years.

After my second break and having played in all the main dining areas I moved to the bar area which had all the  tables taken with diners.

I played the Romance Anonimo again and was delighted that one diner recognised it as her song. In contrast I played two rather fast Rumbas which were much enjoyed and I was touched by the very generous tip from another diner. It is very good to know that the music I am playing is really being enjoyed and such gestures confirm that.

I returned to the main hall to play Asturias by Isaac Albeniz and several flamenco pieces such as Bulerias, Tientos, Cantinas and Alegrias de Cordoba.

People go out to have diner and not to listen in silence to a guitar recital and that is the way it should be. I am always careful to make sure that the music is of a high standard as in concert because people have a right to expect quality in music as they do with the food.

On this point the chef at the White Hart very kindly provided me with a rather spectacular dinner of several dishes, all of which were unique, interesting and I am  sorry to say that I do not have refined manners; I left nothing on the plates!

It was a very pleasant evening for me and I hope that my Spanish Flamenco and Classical Guitar playing left a favourable impression on the diners.

 

Hire a Spanish Flamenco Guitarist

 

 

 

 

Flamenco Birthday Party Spanish Themed

I provided a performance of Solo Flamenco Guitar playing, duets and Castanets and Flamenco Dancing for a Spanish Themed Birthday Party.

The organisers of the party as well as the man celebrating his birthday had all lived in Spain and spoke Spanish very well.

As it was a big celebration they decided to book a Flamenco Act.

They held the event in their garden but instead of grass they have decking elevated to create a stage and further attached good quality wood to the decking which was important for the sound of the dancer’s footwork.

They also organised comfortable seating for their guests so that they could all watch the flamenco as a performance, rather than simply being in the background.

Sometimes keeping the music in the background is the right thing to do but it was lovely for us to perform in a setting that was very similar to the traditional flamenco night in Spain.

We performed several pieces from the serious flamenco repertoire such as Zambra, Soleares, Tientos, Seguiriyas, Granainas and it was wonderful that the guests listened and watched in practical silence. There is absolutely no need to do that at a garden party but it felt very rewarding that they enjoyed our performance so much.

We naturally also performed several of the lighter flamenco styles such as Alegrias, Colombiana, Guajira, Zapateado, Garrotin and the gentleman celebrating his birthday joined in for the dance of Sevillanas. The way he followed the dancer with her steps suggests to me that he must have enjoyed Spanish culture in his time in Spain.

It is absolutely considered right in Spain to join in with Sevillanas regardless of your level or experience in Flamenco dance. The idea in traditional Flamenco is not to compete but to enjoy the dancing experience and no one is interested in who dances best or who is still learning.

I am told that the host spent the whole week cooking and preparing food and this was evident from the quantity and quality of the dinner.

I received kind help from a neighbour with the lone of an extension lead which made it possible to position my amplifier in exactly the right place for optimum sound.

The whole evening was a very happy experience and we were very pleased to perform for this event.

Here are some photos:

 

Spanish Themed Flamenco Dance

Spanish Event Flamenco Dance

Flamenco Dancing Headington Festival Oxford

The organisers of the Headington Festival in Oxford approached the fabulous flamenco dancer, Laura to ask her if she could provide a performance of flamenco dance for the festival on Saturday 3rd June 2017.

They already knew of her high standard of flamenco dancing from her previous performances.

Laura said that she could and then approached me to ask if I would accompany her. Needless to say I was delighted to do so.

It was an absolutely beautiful day with radiant sunshine. We were set up in the street and were grateful for such good weather.

The festival organisers had supplied amplification and microphone and I was most grateful to sound engineer Juan Manuel who was on hand the whole time to adjust the microphone and loud speakers. Having a good sound without feedback is vital to a good performance.

This flamenco performance focused on Laura’s dancing and she danced her delightful Alegrias, her exhilarating Tangos and well as Fandangos, Sevillanas and Rumba.

At one point another Spanish flamenco dancer who lives in Oxford passed by and joined Laura for the Sevillanas. For the guitarist that is a challenge but also inspiring.

The difficulty is that if you have never met a dancer before you do not know what to expect and straight into performance without any kind of rehearsal means that you have to pay maximum attention to both dancers.

The joy is that this kind of spontaneity keeps flamenco vibrant and alive. There certainly is a place for the well choreographed flamenco show but there is also a place for the unexpected immediaccy in flamenco.

On this note Laura spotted a little girl who had been watching intently and fascinated by the flamenco dance.

Laura asked me to change the programme order and to play a Rumba so that she could invite the child to join in and indeed she did. I think it was wonderful not just for the child’s mother but for the whole crowd there to see how this little girl went straight for it and very successfully followed all of Laura’s moves.

Throughout the programme Laura also played some wonderful duets with my guitar playing for Sevillanas and Colombiana and gave me some very good palmas to accompany my Bulerias.

The crowd that gathered was wonderful and I was impressed with how attentive they were especially as one would not necessarily expect that is a street show.

We are both grateful to the organisers for giving us this performance space and the Master of Ceremonies for his kind words.

With the beautiful summer sun for that day it was as if Headington, Oxford was in Andalucia, Spain.