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sean65

Posts: 414
Joined: Jan. 4 2010
From: London

A year of Flamenco study 

Hi guys,

I took up flamenco study last January after an inspiring trip to Sevilla last New Year. Initially I had a teacher for a few weeks but he suffered a family bereavement so I started using books DVD's etc. During the last 4 months I haven't had time to play due to other commitments so I'm back with fresh energy and I'm wondering how to move forward for the next year.

On one hand, I feel it might be nice just to work my way through the JM book. I could probably learn a new tune each week.

On the other hand I'm thinking of just learning one or two palos and sticking with them for a year. Perhaps Solea and Buleria.

I'm sure many of you must remember being one year into your studies, so it would be nice to hear how you pushed forward and overcame your doubts.

So please jump on this thread if you'd like to share your own experience or offer any advice.

Cheers

Sean
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 6:42:37
 
beno

Posts: 881
Joined: Nov. 3 2006
From: Hungary

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

Hi Sean,

at first I made my way through the JM method, also practicing technical things a lot.
Then got through another one (Graf-Martinez), but not learned the whole book....played through the whole book, but not learned everything by heart. Then got another one, but mostly just selecting parts that seem to fit my taste ( M. Granados series), and so on, that includes everything from a single falseta to some whole pieces, but I think it's good to get a picture of the whole at first.

When somebody already have a picture, and know basic formulas, one can always add new falsetas, variations, more complex things etc... but that's just my way
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 7:27:37
 
Schalli

 

Posts: 94
Joined: Sep. 15 2010
From: Mannheim, Germany

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

Hi Sean!
I'm learning flamenco for ca 1 1/2 Years now. At the beginning i started with the Graf-Martinez Books and tried out which palo i liked most, mainly practicing techs. I decided to focus on learning soléa and i did so for one year now. I now also have a teacher, where i have one lesson every 5-6 weeks and once per week i visit a solea beginners danceclass with him and try my best to accompany.
A few days ago i decided to start with my next palo (Bulerías).

Most of my practicetime is used for practicing techs, so I would suggest you to stick with one palo at first, until you got used to it. When i tried to learn many different things at a time i always realised that the quality of my techs suffered...
If you want to play solea and bulerias i would advice you to start with solea, because the techs beome more and more difficult in Bulerias because of the speed...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 8:32:54
 
Chiste de Gales

Posts: 298
Joined: Jan. 13 2009
 

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

Spend one year learning all the palos from the JM books.
After that, start locating a more advanced version of each
palo. Also- start adding ones that arent included in JM.
Use as many resources as possible.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 10:34:44
 
Schalli

 

Posts: 94
Joined: Sep. 15 2010
From: Mannheim, Germany

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

JM?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 10:58:16
 
sean65

Posts: 414
Joined: Jan. 4 2010
From: London

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

JM? = Juan Martin

Thanks guys, I think we're treading a similar path.

quote:

Use as many resources as possible.


I think that's the problem at the moment. I have too many resources and not enough discipline to organise them all. I sometimes feel I would be better sticking to one method series. Oscar Herrero for example, and exhausting that before trying new stuff.

I'll sit down and write out a plan sometime, I think it may help to break things down and split things off into technique studies and tune studies, and just modify the plan when I need to move on.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 11:46:21
 
bursche

Posts: 1182
Joined: Jul. 19 2007
From: Frankfurt, Germany

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

After one year with Graf Martinez I started to try compositions by Paco de Lucia.
I tried to memorize them but was playing them really badly.
When I came into contact with my teacher he told me to do a lot of metronome practice. I started with Cepa Andaluza and played it with a metronome at less than half speed several times everyday.
I must have been after about 2 years when I could play Cepa Andaluza more or less rhythmically for the first time.

It is important to stay concentrated on the things you really want to do at the moment. If you want to play compositions you should start trying them very early.
If you want to play for dancers it seems just right what Schalli is doing.
Finding singers to learn from will be difiicult outside Andalucía.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 12:10:02
 
Lucerom

 

Posts: 60
Joined: Feb. 13 2006
From: Denver, Colorado

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

I agree with Christe, "Use as many resources as possible.

The problem with most didactic material by themselves is that they are not comprehensive and are targeted to different learning levels (even though they all say they are for the beginning student).


Here is a list of recourses that I currently use:
1. Guitarra Flamenca en 48 Clases by Jose Manuel Montoya
2. Flamenco Guitar Method vol1. by Gerhard Graf-Martinez
3. El Arte de la Guitarra Flamenca by Juan Martin
4. Método elemental de guitarra flamenca by Manuel Granados
5. Estudio técnico de la guitarra flamenca. Vol. 1 by Manuel Granados
6. Guitar Fretboard Workbook, by Barrett Tagliarino

I use the "Guitarra Flamenca en 48 Clases" series by Jose Manuel Montoya as my principle learning tool because it is well suited for the beginner and contains relevant material. At the same time I use the Gehard Graf-Martinez material to apply and reinforce the technique previously learn in the Montoya lessons. Since the GM material doesn't really teach you a full song and Montoya doesn't teach songs until the final stages of his series, I use Juan Martin's book to build my beginning repertoire. Manuel Granados is good for developing and maintaining technique. Finally, I use the Guitar Fretboard Workbook to learning the fretboard and theory. Most of the material I transcribe using Guitarpro software so I can play in time at a speed that I can keep up with and then I either increase the bpm or use the software's speed trainer function to help me increase my speed.

This should keep me busy for the entire new year. Depending on how well I've progressed, the following year I'll either work my way through the Oscar Herrero series, start learning actual songs from transcriptions, or sign-up for Jason Mcguire's lessons.

I've attached a snapshot of how I structure my practice using the material mentioned above.

Hopefully this at least gives you some ideas of how to approach your studies for the new year. Note: I've used teachers in the past but they are quite expensive, don't seem to be this organized, and you don't have as much control over the material you learn. There are pluses to having a good teacher, especially if you don't have a clue how to approach a technique or song. I opened a fortune cookie once and the fortune read, "Practice is the best teacher". I still have it taped to my music stand. Just make sure you practice correctly.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 14:34:25
 
veet

 

Posts: 231
Joined: Nov. 29 2004
From: L.A.

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

A tune a week? WAY too ambitious.
#1 rule, as others have mentioned - practice SLOW. This also applies to setting goals for how fast you will learn.

I'd recommend working with a teacher over working just out of books, for a couple of reasons: Motivation, and feedback. OK, 3 reasons: Tricks.
And it makes you less of a hermit.

If a live teacher isn't easily available, there are a number of online lessons sites that give opportunity for feedback and correction. Jose Tanaka, Ricardo, Jason, etc.

Suerte.
Remember, go Slow. And with a metronome.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 15:13:11
 
Lucerom

 

Posts: 60
Joined: Feb. 13 2006
From: Denver, Colorado

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to veet

I agree veet, Depending on the material... I found that a tune a week is unrealistic.

Although the premise of Jose Manuel Montoya's DVD series is 1 lesson a week, I've followed Jamie Andrea's rule of, "Goal Lines NOT Dead Lines". Some of the material has taken me 4 weeks to master. I'll also carry material (studies, technique, and repertoire) over to new lessons so I can improve upon them and increase speed. While I prefer not to work with a teach for the time being I do practice with a friend once a week so we can help each other. It makes learning much more fun.

Once I get to a point where I want to play for dancers or play difficult songs, I'll probably hire a good teacher again to help me work things out.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 15:59:41
 
sean65

Posts: 414
Joined: Jan. 4 2010
From: London

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to veet

quote:

A tune a week? WAY too ambitious.


Perhaps, but they are very short tunes in the JM book. What I had been doing with the JM book was 'memorising' a tune each week then it goes into the Sunday bag which is when I can sit down on Sundays and practice ALL the tunes I've memorised so far.

Lucerom,

I've been checking out some of the books you've listed. Many thanks. I'm not familiar with a few of them.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 16:16:08
 
xirdneH_imiJ

Posts: 1907
Joined: Dec. 2 2006
From: Budapest, now in Southampton

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

i envy you guys who have the discipline to stick to methods and timetables when practicing...
i have a bunch of stuff and it's always been like i played whatever i felt like playing...one day i would play stuff from Riqueni, the other day only alegrías, the third day anything in a weird tuning...other days just random...
to me playing the guitar has got to be fun, and trying to stick to a method detracts from it for me...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 16:40:30
 
Lucerom

 

Posts: 60
Joined: Feb. 13 2006
From: Denver, Colorado

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to xirdneH_imiJ

Jimi_Hendrix LOL

You hit the nail on the head. The key to NOT being a good player is "distraction". Like you, I used to play random measures from books, dvds, and the internet with no real focus. This is referred to as "NOODLING". It took me 11 years to figure out that the reason why I couldn't play any song well was because I didn't have any real focus. Noodling is good if you just want to release some stress and don't really care about performing. However, if you ever decided to actually play for an audience whether in front of your family, friends, or on stage... you'll need a focused approach. Buy the way... as you progress through the methods you will be able to play more interesting and enjoyable exercises and pieces and you will be able to play them well. And that my friend is pleasing and fun.

Thanks to the advice taken from the FORO I have a new approach that seems to be working well for me.

Thank you FORO

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 17:14:19
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3625
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

quote:

I'm wondering how to move forward for the next year.


you're in london, right? There are several teachers, there is a peña, there are dance classes, there was a thread not so long ago about teachers in london, there is Francisco Antonio "Tony" Clinton, Ramon Ruiz, Tito Heredia, Steve Homes....

Some of them also do courses etc.

http://www.estiloflamenco.com/index.html

http://www.flamenco-london.org.uk/

just google around, there's lots happening
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 22:38:07
 
larrygraham

 

Posts: 28
Joined: Mar. 29 2005
 

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to Lucerom

quote:

I've attached a snapshot of how I structure my practice


The weekly practice routine software is cool. It will keep things organized.
What is the name of this software? Where can I get it?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 1 2010 23:29:11
 
sean65

Posts: 414
Joined: Jan. 4 2010
From: London

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

you're in london, right? There are several teachers, there is a peña, there are dance classes, there was a thread not so long ago about teachers in london, there is Francisco Antonio "Tony" Clinton, Ramon Ruiz, Tito Heredia, Steve Homes....


Thanks Mark,

You're absolutely right, you can't beat lessons with a teacher. In spite of all the great advances in multimedia technology you can't beat getting out there and meeting people.

I may well make the effort and get booked up for a fortnightly lesson and just use all my other material for extra curricular study. I'm pretty sure it would make my studies more focused, less insular and a lot more enjoyable.

Thanks for reminding me of the 'blindingly obvious'.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2010 6:19:50
 
stratos13

 

Posts: 222
Joined: Apr. 11 2005
From: Αθήνα

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to Lucerom

quote:

ORIGINAL: Lucerom

Noodling is good if you just want to release some stress and don't really care about performing. However, if you ever decided to actually play for an audience whether in front of your family, friends, or on stage... you'll need a focused approach.


I agree 100%. I may also add to that, a lesson well learned for me.
Every and i mean every single good player i have ever met and played with, has had a big repertoire. Even if they chose to play their own material, you could see that they had played in the past all of tomatito's and paco's falsetas.

This simply means to me. You learn every day something new? You get to be a better player. And that - i firmly believe - is the only sure way to advancing. Study, study, study, new things all the time. No noodling around. Seriously.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2010 8:50:29
 
mezzo

Posts: 1409
Joined: Feb. 18 2010
From: .fr

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to Lucerom

quote:

Noodling is good if you just want to release some stress and don't really care about performing. However, if you ever decided to actually play for an audience whether in front of your family, friends, or on stage... you'll need a focused approach. Buy the way...


what i do is record myself playing and make it public via youtube. IMO this is a very good way to improve coz you try to do it the best you can.
It's easy and you do not need to wait for an audience.

All you need are BALLS!

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"The most important part of Flamenco is not in knowing how to interpret it. The higher art is in knowing how to listen." (Luis Agujetas)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2010 9:05:31
 
marduk

Posts: 600
Joined: Feb. 3 2010
 

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to veet

quote:

A tune a week? WAY too ambitious.
#1 rule, as others have mentioned - practice SLOW. This also applies to setting goals for how fast you will learn.


i agree with this totally. i started learning about a year ago too, and this week i just started going back over all my lessons right from the very start, with the goal of recording everything i have learned until i can do it in compas
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2010 10:57:50
 
Schalli

 

Posts: 94
Joined: Sep. 15 2010
From: Mannheim, Germany

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

Yes! To be honest, i need up to three weeks (or even longer) to learn a little soleá falseta that's not bigger than 3 Compases...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2010 11:51:34
 
Lucerom

 

Posts: 60
Joined: Feb. 13 2006
From: Denver, Colorado

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to larrygraham

Larry - I created the Weekly Practice Routine table using Microsoft Excel, using a feature called a PivotTable. You can email me if you'd like and I can send you a template.

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“Think Outside the Cajón”.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2010 15:44:02
 
daverod

 

Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 19 2008
 

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to Lucerom

Lucerom,

Your comments describe me to a tee! I can't play anything well because I noodle everytime I sit down. Much like you were, I lack focus and need to buckle down because I've been playing guitar for long enough that I feel like friends and family are starting to wonder why I don't play in front of them.

Anyhow, I'd love to have a copy of your template if you wouldn't mind sharing. Thanks for the list of resources, as well!

thanks
Dave
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2011 3:14:30
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14993
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

learning flamenco should be about rhythm. If you put the metronome on and start
playing or tap your foot and keep compas, you can learn in "real time". No good to
"noodle" or plunk around slow with a piece over and over till you "get it". I made a
video last year to show how I personally learn a falseta of say tomatito. Literally one
note at a time, but IN RHYTHM at tempo by repetition. It gets memorized and well,
"mastered" or at least functioning and playable depending only on how long it is, how
many notes it is.

This is just one falseta but that is how flamenco is supposed be learned, a falseta at a
time, a compas pattern at a time etc. Only 8 minutes it took me for that one. Multiply
that by the amount of time you might have in a year and you can really get some
material under your belt.

People that want to perform "pieces" dont' really have the right idea. If you can not just
play compas and "improvise" a few falsetas, then you are not on the right track yet.
With only a few falsetas per palo, any guitarist should be able to have a concert worth
of material because of all the time you can fill doing cool rhythmic strumming and such.

And no need to go through program or graduating method. Just play a falseta or even a
small part of a falseta that inspires you
and is within your technique ability. Don't practice or play just to do it. Practice makes
permanent, not perfect.




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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2011 13:13:17
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo
because of all the time you can fill doing cool rhythmic strumming and such.


time killer
but its cool i love it.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2011 15:41:21
 
Leendert

Posts: 153
Joined: May 27 2010
From: WI, USA

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to sean65

quote:

Only 8 minutes it took me for that one


How did you know what to play though? You must have memorized the notes already prior to practicing it.....or are you reading it off of something that I am missing?
It seems memorizing the notes always seem to take me the longest, if I just would not have to read it off of something it would go much faster....once I got the notes in my head, that's half my battle....any advice on that?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2011 19:43:35
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14993
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to Leendert

quote:

How did you know what to play though?


I can't find the original thread where this was asked. I requested a falseta to show,
someone picked this, and uploaded this video 30 minutes later or so. Luckily I had the
Encuentro video and book on hand. I watched the video a few time tapping my foot to
get the gist of the timing, when to start and such. The book had the fingering which
again I glanced at or played through with guitar in had for the "grips" but careful to not
learn any of it without my foot going.

The book was in front of me there on the table but honestly just glancing at it was
enough to get started. You are watching me literally working it out and memorizing
from just that bit of info. The notes sort of added themselves up so long as I stuck to
that steady rhythm.

So maybe I am above average for getting the "grips" fast, but it would only take a few
minutes longer to do this with the book there. Just don't read through the whole
falseta over and over or try to "sight read" it. Use the book but just a phrase mastered
at a time, keep the foot going. Dont' think 12 beats or any of that, just one beat to the
next. The same can be done with the actual video or a slowed down audio, but it can
be annoying I think to stop and start each phrase.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2011 20:21:56
 
Leendert

Posts: 153
Joined: May 27 2010
From: WI, USA

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

quote:

How did you know what to play though?


I can't find the original thread where this was asked. I requested a falseta to show,
someone picked this, and uploaded this video 30 minutes later or so. Luckily I had the
Encuentro video and book on hand. I watched the video a few time tapping my foot to
get the gist of the timing, when to start and such. The book had the fingering which
again I glanced at or played through with guitar in had for the "grips" but careful to not
learn any of it without my foot going.

The book was in front of me there on the table but honestly just glancing at it was
enough to get started. You are watching me literally working it out and memorizing
from just that bit of info. The notes sort of added themselves up so long as I stuck to
that steady rhythm.

So maybe I am above average for getting the "grips" fast, but it would only take a few
minutes longer to do this with the book there. Just don't read through the whole
falseta over and over or try to "sight read" it. Use the book but just a phrase mastered
at a time, keep the foot going. Dont' think 12 beats or any of that, just one beat to the
next. The same can be done with the actual video or a slowed down audio, but it can
be annoying I think to stop and start each phrase.


Thank you for your reply, oh okay...so that does make more sense to me..
As far as you being above average, YEAH! you are! :)
You are obviously at a far more advanced level then most of us which I am sure enables you to pick up things way faster plus a lot of fingerings, techniques must sound immediately familiar....You probably can picture most things being played by just listening to it, am I right?
I think you are a fantastic guitarist and I hope someday to be able to pick up things that 'easily' and quick too.
Thanks for sharing some advice how to practice....I will make sure to implement and try the foot tapping and the other tips you layed out.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2011 21:51:47
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14993
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to Leendert

quote:

Thanks for sharing some advice how to practice


I found the original posting when I made that video. It was from this really cool post of Victor Wooten showing how to use a metronome for practicing.
http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=136277&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=victor%2Cwooten&tmode=&smode=&s=#136380

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2011 23:02:32
 
sean65

Posts: 414
Joined: Jan. 4 2010
From: London

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

learning flamenco should be about rhythm. If you put the metronome on and start
playing or tap your foot and keep compas, you can learn in "real time".


Since starting the original post I decided to leave all the books to one side and seek out one of the London teachers. I'm now studying with Francisco Antonio 'Tony' Clinton. He's a great player but more importantly a great teacher.

He made it clear we're not going to waste lesson time on Falseta. During the lessons we'll study flamenco structure in it's uncoloured form. At the moment we're looking at Solea and have nearly completed the basic ingredients. I guess when we're done we'll looking at ways of adding more colour/flavour etc to the basics and build on that.

It's a great no nonsense approach that covers the basics in such a way that I'd be able to play with cante by the time I've learned to play any particular palo. The right changes played in time and later, as I develop, I can get more creative with it i guess.

I listening to mostly old school flamenco at the moment because it's just much easier to hear to the forms, Sabicas et al...

Last year I feel like I wasted a lot of time messing around with books, so I'm looking forward to seeing where I'm at by the end of this year.

quote:

Practice makes permanent, not perfect.


Very true Ricardo. And anyone using technical study books should be sure they're using the correct technique before spending 50 hours or more practicing an exercise... I'm having a bit of an issue trying to correct my hand position for arpegios. Muscle memory is quite stubborn.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 18 2011 6:29:01
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: A year of Flamenco study (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo
This is just one falseta but that is how flamenco is supposed be learned


I wonder whether you tap your foot in 2s too when learning Alegrias, Solea falsetas (and also strummings)?

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Фламенко
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 18 2011 13:08:23
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