I think this is a good question, but not very easy to answer. I’ve said before – I like playing the guitar, like playing with rhythm, like playing on my own on occasion. What else would I play? And I also really respect the people who can do it properly.
I did have a flamenco guitar lesson many years ago, when I worked at a local arts centre in my home town. But I didn’t know anything about it, and it looked like really hard work. Maybe it planted a seed.
But I played mainly electric guitar, and occasionally acoustic guitar, both of which relied to some extent on me singing. I like singing, but I don’t love doing it. Again, it seemed like hard work.
Later, when I moved to Kendal, and was asked to work with an artist on a community project about the Mexican Day of the Dead, I was lent some video tutorials of Juan Martin, a flamenco guitarist. I remember watching and thinking ‘if only I could do that’. I’d also given up on the electric guitar at that point.
Next stop was University. I bought Juan Martin’s instruction book El Arte Flamenco De La Guitarra, and sat trying to learn it. It helped me to survive my first year of university anyway. I’d taught myself a year of classical guitar when I was a disturbed 13 year old, and I just love the calmness this learning process gives.
So I think the why question can be answered primarily in my liking/needing this kind of immersion in learning. And flamenco suited me. And still does. And it’s really hard work.
This week’s video is mainly something from those early days, and from Juan’s books and videos. It’s a Granaina. There are a few forms in flamenco that have no rigid rhythm, except on occasions. This one is apparently something to do with Granada. I played this, and variations, including Romance, at my dad’s funeral. Enough said.
(Apologies for not researching the internet better, and only providing Wikipedia links. I think they serve a purpose.)
I’ve added a tremolo section from Vicente Amigo at the beginning. There is something about Vicente Amigo’s playing that I’m obsessed with. My most recent, and seemingly never ending ‘If only I could do that’. Also, I’m trying to get the tremolo plate spinning, and this has helped a little. One day. Close your ears flamenco guitarist giants.