I haven’t posted a video in a while, so I thought I’d share a quick demo video to show you one if the projects I’m currently working on.
Having been booked to play an entire set of purely Northumbrian folk music, I have been digging out some if the region’s great melodies & adapting them for solo guitar. I’ve had so much fun doing so that I hope to record some if my favourites later on this year.
For now, here’s a rough demo of one tune I particularly enjoy. Please excuse a) the less-than-perfect quality of sound & b) my guitar-playing facial expressions!
This piece in this video is a solo acoustic guitar arrangement of the traditional Northumbrian tune ‘Waters of Tyne’. There are already a couple of great arrangements out there, and my version is a mix of some of the better examples available. Like many of those I found, this arrangement uses DADGAD tuning.
The guitar is my Taylor 314CE (recently cleaned up, re-strung & set up to be my permanent DADGAD guitar). The video was shot & edited using the iMovieMaker app on my iPhone 5s, so apologies for the rather thin sound – a recording on a mobile phone simply doesn’t do full justice to the sound of this wonderful instrument.
I hope you enjoy this demo. Comments & messages are always welcome. I hope to be sharing more very soon!
Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a recital by Guitar/Flute duo Maria Camahort and Lucy Driver at Newcastle upon Tyne’s beautiful Lit. & Phil. Society Library. This was the first time in a long time that I was at a classical recital where I wasn’t performing in some capacity, and though it made me restless to play, it did offer the opportunity to observe Maria’s wonderful classical guitar technique.
As a native of Spanish Catalonia, Camahort’s style is rooted in flamenco, with a right hand technique many guitar players would kill for. Again, anyone wishing to work on their own right hand technique, I strongly recommend Scott Tennant’s excellent book Pumping Nylon, which focuses on strength-building techniques and specializes in flamenco picking styles. A large amount of Camaohort & Driver’s recital repertoire favoured a Spanish style which suited Maria’s guitar playing perfectly, though Lucy’s flute playing (in many cases their own arrangements and adaptations) soared to the reading room’s luxurious rafters and blended sumptuously with the guitar.
During their set, there was one composer of whom I had never heard, named Feliu Gasull. Another resident of Barcelona, Gasull started his career as a flamenco guitarist, studying guitar at the Geneva Conservatory of Music and composition at Indiana University. Many of his compositions (including the one’s I heard) are Gasull’s interpretations of Catalonian pop songs, featuring elements of flamenco, classical convention and even jazz. Camahort & Driver performed three of his pieces (‘Dits’, ‘Nana de Sevilla’ & ‘Conta-xions’) and I have included the link to his official website here (www.feliugasull.com). I strongly encourage you to check out this amazing composer/arranger and incorporate some of his pieces into your solo and ensemble playing.
In addition, here is the full programme from the recital, for those interested –
Sonata in E Major (J.S. Bach)
Andante in C (Mozart)
Danza Oritental (Granados)
Bagatella No. 2 (Walton)
Her Anxiety (J. McCredie)
Histoire du Tabgo – Cafe 1930 (Piazzolla)
There was also three short pieces by M. de Falla, grouped together in one multi-movement sitting called ‘Seis Canciones Populares Espanolas’ –
Polo (for me, this is another strongly recommended solo guitar performance piece)