Gilbert Biberian’s “Haiku” played by Alison Bendy

A new video of Gilbert Biberian’s “Haiku” played by its dedicatee, Alison Bendy.

When Alison Bendy asked me to record Gilbert Biberian’s six “Haiku”,
I jumped at the chance – here it is, two days later.

The pieces were dedicated to Alison on her birthday in March 1982 and are based on haiku by Basho, Busan and Moritake, masters of the genre.

These miniatures are similarly, masterpieces of the genre and well worth a look if you are a guitarist.

Elegy for Julian

David Russell is the first to give a heartfelt performance of this homage, which came to me after I heard about Julian Bream’s death on the morning of the 14th August. It was a spontaneous gesture and a tribute to one of the guitar’s greatest musicians. Thank you! I hope this piece will be a source of comfort for those who play it.

Here is another moving performance by guitarist and film maker, Christian Fergo

Here’s another performance by guitarist, composer and fine musician, Stephen Kenyon.

Oxford Guitar Ensemble weekend – THIS HAS BEEN CANCELLED because of the world situation – Sorry

Guitar Ensembles in beautiful Oxford in April!

Port Meadow

Friday 17th-Sunday 19th April –THIS HAS NOW BEEN CANCELLED

The next guitar course will include ensembles by Bach, Vivaldi and Villa Lobos (and possibly music from South Pacific!).

Participants will receive music in advance.

All participants will gain experience in ensemble playing and sight reading in a supportive, fun and friendly atmosphere.

Please contact musicweekends@btinternet.com for future courses and details.

Happy New Year

This year, I had the good fortune to bump into Christian Fergo, a very talented film maker who is also no mean guitarist.

He wanted to do an interview with me, which ended up a sprawling 30+ minutes long. Thanks for the hard work, Christian!

Here is the video he made-

and here is the complete performance of the Concerto for Four Guitars given by the Sensemaya Quartet at Iserlohn 2019

Born in Copenhagen 1980, he studied guitar with John Jacobsen, Lars Trier and Frank Bungarten and graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Music and the Lucerne Academy of Music, both academies awarding him diplomas with distinction for his recitals and soloist performances. The Lucerne Times called him an “outstanding young soloist” and wrote about him: “Christian Fergo showed a highly sensitive musicality and very detailed technique”.

Join his YouTube channel here and visit his FaceBook page here

Let the wood speak-interview with the luthier Paul Fischer

[In the workshopWelcome

When Paul Fischer had a stroke a couple of years ago, his friends and family did not know what the outcome would be. As it happened, he recovered enough to speak and to drive again. However, it was a signal to him to ease off on the guitar making. At his peak, Paul was producing 30 or more guitars a year, and he had been doing this since the late 60s when we first met. This was at the workshop of David Rubio, and since then Paul has gone from strength to strength, becoming the doyen of English guitar makers, pioneering the use of alternative woods for the guitar body, and a friend of guitarists, composers, royalty and normal people alike.

After the stroke, he took to teaching guitar making, and out of this, with a student, came the idea of writing a book – “Let the Wood Speak“. This book is a story of Paul’s life told in the easy and engaging way that he talks, and I had the opportunity to ask him about it at one of the many meals we have shared over 40 years at his and Joy’s beautiful house in the Cotswold town of Chipping Norton.

Book
Get the book here

Over the years, Paul and Joy have welcomed many people to their house, and have been generous to a fault, sharing food and ideas with fellow luthiers and musicians. He has also encouraged composers, notably Nic Hooper, Raymond Head and Bill Lovelady, and has been associated with many famous guitarists – Xue Fei Yang, John Mills, Sergio Abreu amongst others.Bill and Paul

with Bill Lovelady.
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Joy Fisher with Ray Head
The late, great Rob Russell and Paul

With the late, great, Rob Russell.

In the workshop

Paul with Oren Myers

With Oren Myers

GGG archive – Interview with Dan Williams – cuatros, koras, learning and Warthogs in the Mist

  •  More GGG archive

Dan Williams

While out on the cliffs near West Bay last year, a voice uttered a by now familiar phrase – “Are you Gerald?”.
It was a surprise and great pleasure to see Dan Williams, whom I haven’t spoken to for around twenty years!
He happened to live and have a workshop in Bridport.

West Bay cliffs 29E77CE1-2060-4288-A1BB-020D4BF4E01C

The next day, Alison and I visited and were fascinated to see all the instruments he had been making – Venezuelan cuatros and West African Koras as well as fascinating wooden sculptures and artifacts.

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We first met when holidaying in France with his elder brother John (the guitarist!) in the 80s.

He had met Venezuelan guitarist and composerAlfonso Montes who features on John Williams’ album ‘El Diablo Suelto’ and became interested in the cuatro through that meeting.

Dan plays as well as makes his own instruments and has a background in film animation and woodwork. He learned to play from his father  Len Williams, as did his famous brother.

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Dan was about to start work in his first guitar, so I took the opportunity to ask him about his life and how it had taken so long for him to get around to making a guitar!

Will’s Way – Will McNicol in Chengdu

Will in Chengdu Global centre Will escalates

It was a happy coincidence that I bumped into Will McNicol in Chengdu when I was on my way to my Mum’s 96th birthday.

I was met at the airport by Will, Xu Bao and Joshua Jiao and rushed to a restaurant in an emergency food dash.

Will had been touring China with his own super charged yet gentle brand of acoustic music which he played on a new crossover guitar made by Martinez. This is a nylon strung instrument with a longer neck (the neck meets the body at the 14th fret) and a slightly shallower body. Will had just played in Chengdu the night before, following on from ten or more concerts throughout China, ably assisted by Josh.

After a wonderful lunch which culminated in the smashing of a wine glass while I was on a swing (don’t ask) we were joined by Alex Wang, CEO of Martinez. The following, slightly inebriated interview(s) discussing the future of the guitar in China, connections, Will’s music, life, the universe etc followed without further breakages .

A clip from Will’s latest recording
Dragonflies, Frogs and Bumblebees

Will was voted Acoustic Guitarist of the Year by Guitarist Magazine in 2011.
Here is his piece “The Wakeup”.

Lunch with Alex, Josh, Gerald, Will, Xu Bao