On Saturday October 20th, Chester Guitar Circle and Liverpool Guitar Society organised a flamenco workshop and concert featuring the expert guidance and performance skills of the celebrated flamenco guitarist, Samuel Moore.
The event was held in the Welsh Presbyterian Church in the heart of Chester. Eleanor Kelly from the Liverpool Guitar society started the proceedings with a history of Flamenco, particularly in relationship to how cultural and political events in Spain have helped to influence the art form as we know it today. Fortunately (and perhaps co-incidentally), Eleanor had recently completed her musical studies with research into the origins and history of flamenco, which explained why she was able to speak so knowledgeably on the subject.
Following Eleanor, Alastair offered a more personal view, recounting how a heated dialogue he witnessed between two native Sevillianos, demonstrated the 'duende' or heart and soul of flamenco. He went on to explain some of the rhythmical patterns used to identify individual flamenco forms and involved the group by handclapping (Palmas), fingerclicking (Pitos) and imitating the cajon (Drum), all with the help of well-prepared illustrated hand-outs and musical examples.
After lunch we were joined by Samuel, who outlined the purpose and aims of the workshop, which were essentially to develop techniques to improve the classical player's 'Spanish and Latin' repertoire.
He emphasised Alastair’s earlier point about the importance of the rhythm in Flamenco music and explained that by developing and applying basic flamenco techniques, a more authentic sound will inevitably result. Taking us through various rasguedo styles, clearly and methodically, he managed to show us the essence of the mystique surrounding the flamenco guitarist’s right hand facility. Samuel rounded off the session with illustrations of how to apply rasguedo styles to Manuel de Falla’s Miller’s Dance.
The time seemed to go all too quickly and at the end of the session, Samuel presented each member of the group with a bound summary of the exercises we had practiced during the afternoon. We all benefited enormously from Samuel’s excellent teaching techniques and gained some insight into an art form guitarists often consider to be bewildering and mysterious.
With the workshop over, a further amazing experience was to follow in nearby St Mary’s church. Samuel treated an audience to a fiery flamenco guitar recital covering many of the basic flamenco forms he had talked about in the afternoon. He introduced each piece by explaining its origins, structure and relationship to dance and songs. An appreciative audience was left spellbound and after hearty applause, departed with the sounds of Spain nostalgically transporting them to a cosy bar in Andalucia, (where Alastair's aforementioned Sevilianos were still at it!)
We wish to thank Samuel once again for a rewarding and enlightening experience!