Archive for February, 2011
So here’s the final part of David Collett’s interview with Grisha, where they discuss the role of flamenco in the classical repertoire. I’m trying to decide if I agree that classical players are really prepared to integrate flamenco into their repertoires without a solid foundation in flamenco. I guess I feel that it’s not as simple as just learning the notes to really get the feel of flamenco, but there are probably a lot of solo guitar pieces that could be learned that way. Now accompaniment…
So in real life you don’t spend a few weeks getting acquainted with Soleá and then jump straight into Buleria. And in fact I wouldn’t recommend trying to learn Bulerias until after a year or two of really working on the other 12-beat compáses. But everyone who hears flamenco wants to learn Buleria, so I thought I’d show you guys some simple patterns to get started. If you’re just getting started or your Buleria compás isn’t solid yet I really recommend spending a lot of time with this basic stuff before moving on – it’s trickier than it seems, and I’ve met players who’ve been studying flamenco for years and just don’t hear when they’re out of compás, so take your time, have fun, and try to just feel (and count count count) the compás so that it becomes as familiar as 4/4.
So Paco De Lucia was controversial. Apparently still is in some circles. And his sextet was probably the biggest reason for that. As much as his compositions were evolving, it was the addition of bass and a horn that seems to have really pushed people over the edge (the rest of the sextet is cante, another guitar and percussion/dance, so not too controversial there, I hope). There was no Rite of Spring style riot that I know of, but man were some people upset.
When I was coming up the sextet already existed, and it was just one more part of this music I was falling in love with, so no big deal as far as I was concerned. But if you haven’t seen/heard the sextet you should so you can judge for yourselves. This is a clip from Carlos Saura’s movie ‘Flamenco’ from 1995. Oh, and sometimes there are seven people in the sextet. Or more. Or less. Sextet is a state of mind.
Gearing up for a long flight I was looking for good podcasts and came across Manuel Barruecos’ archive of them. I haven’t listened yet, but I’ll download a bunch to take with me and I thought you all might be intrested, too, if you didn’t know about them already. You can listen or download them here.
Here’s another technique that’s unique to flamenco – Alzapua. As with any technique, the trick is to begin slowly and to choose some slow, easy material so you can get the technique under control before trying to speed it up. I’ll let you guys play with this for a few days and then I’ll post some more material to mess around with.
Here’s one of those very flamenco-ey techniques that gives people a lot of trouble at first. I’ve come up with a system of teaching it that always works if given enough time. I can’t stress enough the idea that you have to give this a lot slow practice time to really reinforce the right movement in your right hand before you even attempt to do one quick one. The best thing is to do 5-10 minutes a day as many times as possible – slowly. Did I mention you should do it slowly? You should.