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Kevin James Shanahan

Posts: 407
Joined: Oct. 10 2010
From: Wooli, NSW Australia

connecting 

I am hoping to start a discussion on connecting . For me it is an essential element for the aspiring performing musician . I would like to hear from guitarists here that have expierienced the effect thier music has had on an environment .
Personaly my gigs are generaly background music in restaurants . I thoroughly enjoy this role as I get a lot of time to learn about the effects of my music to people .
I have learnt when an environment becomes noisy I need to focus on tone not volume as volume will make the room louder . I have learnt that if I play pieces with an introspective minor feel I can sense the energy of a room deplete . I have also learnt that people generaly want to relax and a simple piece played well will settle a room far greater than a piece with complexity .
So for me here the the question to the foro is .
What is more important satisfying your personal tastes as a guitarist wishing to be recognized as having talent .
Or playing for people , giving them what you believe will bring them peace .

_____________________________

Peace.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 27 2012 10:32:22
 
Derek Woulds

Posts: 30
Joined: Jun. 23 2011
From: Suffolk

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

These are interesting questions. I cannot really comment on the type of gig you are discussing because being new to Flamenco I have not played any gigs of this type.
My experience is years of playing in a rock band where the purpose of the exercise, as I saw it, was to make sure that everyone including the band had a good time. Whilst playing a gig I was not thinking about how good a guitarist people thought I was the satisfaction came from entertaining people. Of course I always wnated the band to perform well. I think this philosophy could apply to some Flamenco gigs but the type of situation you are playing in is of course entirely different and at present I don't know how to answer your question. I look forward to seeing others comments.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 27 2012 11:07:13
 
Kevin James Shanahan

Posts: 407
Joined: Oct. 10 2010
From: Wooli, NSW Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

quote:

Whilst playing a gig I was not thinking about how good a guitarist people thought I was the satisfaction came from entertaining people.

Thank you Derek

_____________________________

Peace.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 27 2012 11:25:55
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

quote:

What is more important satisfying your personal tastes as a guitarist wishing to be recognized as having talent .
Or playing for people , giving them what you believe will bring them peace .

That really depends on the situation you are in...I mean if you are playing in a flamenco festival or something then you probably want to show people that you know your stuff.
I've done more than my share of restaurant work and learnt early on that you can finish a set with a bulerias but mostly you play either classical pieces or bits of granaina, soleares, minera etc.
The idea that a virtuoso piece is harder to perform than an introspective piece is not true. Its much harder to play an Albeniz serenata cleanly than a percussive bulerias. I think the secret to both being recognised as a good player AND connecting with your audience is playing as cleanly and accurately as possible. If you can nail 40 minutes of moderate material without finger errors then you have achieved a lot as a performer and that is what carries across to your audience.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 27 2012 13:35:58
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

Most people who hired me for private party's/exhibitions/restaurants had no idea what flamenco really was. So i gave them what they expected, nice music played on a nylon string guitar. I only adapted a few flamenco pieces that had proven to be to everybody's taste over the years. On top i played various easy listening songs i composed or arranged myself. I loved to play them myself, so no conflict of interests on that era (and if they happened to like flamenco after all i could change program at the spot).

On top i was part of a flamenco group, playing festivals and big concert hals. There we did perform flamenco only, just to our likings. And my work at various dancing schools (on top of being just a job) could be quite satisfying as well. To me general public recognition for talent is a farce (i'm not talking knowledgable people here). They clap even harder for the bad concerts as for the good ones. Paco de Lucia received more appreciation for his meeting of the spirits picado's than for let's say la barossa over the years, as far as general public appreciation is concerned. But i guess he has no reason to complain either. For Paco meeting of the spirits was a very demanding and challenging adventure at that period of time which showed him a completely new way of making music that altered his own music once again in the fallowing years.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 27 2012 14:06:12
 
Don Dionisio

 

Posts: 360
Joined: Feb. 16 2011
From: Durham, NC

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

Kevin,
I've played many restaurant/noisy events in my day. I usually play classical guitar
Music with some flamenco. I agree with you that simpler pieces played well are better
in noisy environments. A piece that isn't too difficult that I like to play
in a noisier environment might be Capricho Catalan by Albeniz. The low D tuning
and general mellowness of the piece lends to keeping me calm and occasionally
the party-goers. It is a great piece to do lots of repeats as well.
And, when things get really loud I play por bulerias or tangos and use a lot
of llamadas and rasgueos and usually some folks might stop carrying on.
It's definitely a challenge to do these gigs. Often I think of it as a good way
to try out new material.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 27 2012 18:10:33
 
Kevin James Shanahan

Posts: 407
Joined: Oct. 10 2010
From: Wooli, NSW Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

Thank you so much , your experience and wisdom as performers is priceless . Some really good advice here and a couple of pieces for me to look up for my sets .
My position in this discussion is that people come first . I try to keep a focus in my mind that it is not about me , that I am here to give . Certain pieces cause reactions in people , It is quite a responsibility to be dishing out feelings to people . When I play in public my mindset is very different to how I play at home . The very first sound I make ( like pimientito said ) I try to play as cleanly and as acurately as I can . As the sound comes out I am listening not just to the guitar but my affect on the space , then I try to sustain my awareness for the entire evening , constantly gauging the room, the people in the room and my tone and dynamics .

_____________________________

Peace.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 27 2012 20:56:13
 
Florian

Posts: 9282
Joined: Jul. 14 2003
From: Adelaide/Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

Great topic


as everyone else says each occasion calls for quick assessment and based on past experience...what you think it will work..ofcourse sometimes you are pleasantly surprised...but i wouldn't relie on it ...most of the time it is what it is...they ARE thinking Malaguena and the sound effects from Zorro

if i play to people who dont know flamenco or some background... i am not going to play them a bulerias or seguirulla...gonna play something "pretty" or melodic like a guajira, farruca etc...


Then theres the stuff what happens when it is a flamenco gig but you dont have everyone there...like when they just want a dancer and a guitarist...that requires more thinking and planing, at times you have to be all, percussionist...palmero, singer and an orchestra .....

personally i do hate just playing accompanying chords cause dancer is used to it for an alegrias for example when theres no singer...its not very interactive, not all that expressive, feels fake...like we just sold our souls for money and let this people who dont know any better reduce what we do ......and its stupid has no meaning, u play cante chords for the purpose of cante...so unless it needs it cause dancer cant hear the compas in the falseta, or is a inexperienced dancer and you can tell shes gonna have problems with it ....or i get specifically asked ...i like playing rhythmical driven falsetas where singing would be ...says more than just chords, it has purpose ...IMO
(has to be the right feel falseta, they dont all work and you have to come in as cante would...immediately after the llamada)


same with bulerias...where there would be cante straight after the llamada to bring singer in i play a falseta...has to be on that lifts and goes with the feel...not one that brings it down

the hardest is solea when theres no singer...because theres no way around it, the falseta feel cant possibly substitute or imitate the cante
or those long chords and accompaniment, if you play a falseta where cant would be you end up with a number that dosent feel like solea... imo...the 'pretty melody" instead of cante takes away from the solea feel...so i have to play singing chords...but i try to ad melody and variation where i can, even within it ...and than theres the falseta part which dosent have any effect if it comes after another falseta...

then theres the escobilla where you are helping out more at times if you do palo seco and percussive so that you bring out and help what the dancer is doing...which normally would be done by palmas or cajon...than towards the end of escobilla as she builds up to the end you would come in for max build up effect...

theres a lot of fine planning and better ways to help when theres just a guitarist and dancer...i dont understand those people that dont think to change format and approach and play like thers is a cajon player and a singer when there isn't one...makes for a boring show...or theres the oposite ...the guy that plays too many falsetas and is not even looking up to notice hes bringing it down...because his Diego del Morao sparce falsetas aren't working without palmas or cajon or with the feel of the moment

quote:

What is more important satisfying your personal tastes as a guitarist wishing to be recognized as having talent .
Or playing for people , giving them what you believe will bring them peace


they are not mutually exclusive ...you can do both if you believe in and love what you do...id find something that does both...just trying to satisfy people with things that go against your personal taste is not gonna work either IMO..noone is bringing anyone any peace by doing pieces they dont believe in or like themselves...id rather play a song i like cause i know i am 100% in it...rather then a song they like at 20%...to me that feels more honest and respectful

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 27 2012 21:29:59
 
shaun

Posts: 176
Joined: May 11 2012
From: Edmonton, Canada

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

I usually play at cafés and restaurants where the crowds are a mix of attentive listeners and people treating it as background music. I try to play more for the attentive listeners than the backgrounders but I try to convert some of them to attentive listeners as well. Because I am located in a place where most people are not familiar with flamenco, I usually start with a rumba or something else that will draw people in.

As far as playing music that satisfies my tastes or playing for the people... I don't think there is really a difference. I play the music I play because it is the music I love. I try to order my sets in a way that I think will seem the most appealing to the crowd and myself but sometimes I change it as I go because of the feeling in the room.

As a performer I want the audience to feel what I'm feeling in the music. When that happens it ends up coming back to me. There's a synergy to it. You need to believe in it, feel it, and play it beautiful.

And, as my father [Duke] used to tell me growing up, "Play it beautiful, play it beautiful." He said, "I don’t care if you don’t hit all of the notes. If you don’t move a person’s heart, it’s not music." - Christopher Parkening
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 28 2012 2:11:05
 
Kevin James Shanahan

Posts: 407
Joined: Oct. 10 2010
From: Wooli, NSW Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

quote:

"I don’t care if you don’t hit all of the notes. If you don’t move a person’s heart, it’s not music." - Christopher Parkening

Great replies thank you flow thank you Shaun . I am glad that the point of playing music that your heart is not in will not work . I also like the common thread in this discussion that the free form palos seem to be the favoured form for non flamenco initiated listeners .

_____________________________

Peace.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 28 2012 6:17:32
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: connecting (in reply to Florian

quote:

ORIGINAL: Florian

if i play to people who dont know flamenco or some background... i am not going to play them a bulerias


That happens to be one of the pieces i consider to be "to everybody's taste". More often then not it generates the biggest (if not only) applause and for that reason i always saved it for the end (i often included two of them in different sets).

If possible i favored to play 3 pieces in one set (the timespan average people seemed to be able to cope best) When i had to play a lot of sets without the possibility to repeat pieces i sometimes used the sandwich construction .... hiding one "lesser appealing" piece between 2 pieces that were supposed to be more public friendly. I had over an hour of material, more then most other locals could deliver at the time.

Speaking about public appreciation... some seem to link your qualities to your financial demands. I ones was called by local government who were in desperate need for a musician for tonights spanish party .....unfortunately we can not pay you a lot...... so what do you charge? Since i needed the money, the gig was only an hour (at walking distance) and included a free meal i decided to ask a very modest 50 (still a lot if you have only 350,- a mound to spend) .....OK .....well.....ummm.... we'll think about it.

I thought they showed no further interest because i was "to expensive" after all but as it turned out it was because i was "suspiciously cheap". So they hired a more expensive/promising lat in stead. That happened to be one of my new students who could only play 1 piece.....he repeated the same bloody piece for 60 minutes. That serves them right! I was one of few who could have offered them over 12 different songs. Back in the 50's my fathers band performed 6 hours a day, 7days a week with over 40 hour of instant material. Times change.

And Duke was right...if you don't move a persons heart it's not music. Personally i value my own heart most (which happens to be harder to please than most).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 1:05:16
 
Florian

Posts: 9282
Joined: Jul. 14 2003
From: Adelaide/Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to Erik van Goch

quote:

That happens to be one of the pieces i consider to be "to everybody's taste".


hmm maybe il give it another try next time ...haven't tried on non flamenco people in along time

quote:

I thought they showed no further interest because i was "to expensive" after all but as it turned out it was because i was "suspiciously cheap". So they hired a more expensive/promising lat in stead. .


yes exactly...they dont appreciate it if you give it away that cheap, they will automatically assume the guy that charges more is better, must be more professional...its better to quote higher and let them negotiate you down than too low

at times for gigs that i didn't really wanna do, like 2 hours drive in the middle of nowhere or something il just throw a sum thinking it will put them off (cause i already said that i am free that day)...sometimes to my surprise it dosent...but then i dont mind it cause the money makes up for the lack of "flamenco satisfaction "...i enjoy it more when i know that people know what it is, and want dancers and cajon and singer too...even if the money is not spectacular ...i get my flamenco fix...i want either the chance to show someone flamenco properly (u know...best we can) and do some good flamenco with everyone in the group...or money...its not that i am all about money....its just that everything i want and need asks for it...

today i went to the mall with my girlfriend, got a haircut, a packet of cigarettes, got one dvd, got a key cut and had 2 lates....around $100


this days having $100 in your pocket its like having $20 10 years ago

quote:

unfortunately we can not pay you a lot.


yeah no one has ever got money for musicians...ever has anyone ever said anything different to you at first ? i am a bit immune to that one now (like they haven't even said it, they pay a dj 500 - 1000)....they got money for drinks, food, cake, waiters get paid , chefs gets paid, everyone gets paid their fee, you cant negotiate with them..., except musicians...lets see how cheap we can get them for...lets see if they do it for parking money

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 3:58:26
 
Kevin James Shanahan

Posts: 407
Joined: Oct. 10 2010
From: Wooli, NSW Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

Thx Erik more great expierience shared . I love your sandwich formula . And very interesting that your fee is thought of as an indication of talent . Maybe free form for background , bulerias and the like for getting attenetion .

_____________________________

Peace.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 4:01:23
 
KMMI77

Posts: 1821
Joined: Jul. 26 2009
From: The land down under

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

I try to connect with myself. It's there that the music comes to life for me. Only then can i connect with anyone else. There is never a guarantee no matter how much i practice or choice of material.

If i connect then i feel ok to play anything i know. But if i can't find anything, feel down, bad vibes, etc.. I will usually go into reserved mode and play it safe and disappear into the background. The truth always comes out one way or another. So that's what the audience ends up with.

Here is a pic from my gig on friday. We had a pro singer from Madrid and had great time!

This set up works great. A tablao style setting where everyone is up close and involved. We had room for about 90 people. That's my mum and dad looking on in the foreground of the pic



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 4:45:50
 
Florian

Posts: 9282
Joined: Jul. 14 2003
From: Adelaide/Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

quote:

This set up works great. A tablao style setting where everyone is up close and involved. We had room for about 90 people. That's my mum and dad looking on in the foreground of the pic


i love those !! that's why i got into flamenco...those flamenco satisfying ones you are proud off, with the cante and the duende ...u feel like "YES...i am doing flamenco !!" its so important to me lately...i left my regular gig at tapas bar...

Cause i just need to believe in what i do for the most part....and its was getting hard too...getting students who are having basic compas problems to accompany...didn't feel very satisfying...I cant have that as the base of what i do, i dont mind doing it sometimes but not every friday night and it becomes the majority of what i do....id rather do 2 shows a year i am proud off than show every friday that is not very satisfying...i mean it was money in the pocket...but i dont want it at that cost...believing in what i do is the most important thing in the world to me.....

I just cant stomach knowing we can do it better......its not the girls fault...we dont get paid enough to have all the advanced ones and teachers at once and cajon player etc......so they have to put one good one surrounded by students, but the problem is every semester they bring me new ones, like anyone that puts their hands up ...i understand...but understanding dosent make it any easier at times...id rather not than knowingly do it at half strength, sometimes not even that... every friday...


like 2 fridays ago, it just hit me and i said no more...i play a falseta in guajira straight after a remate dancers do...but everytime they mess it up with the compas and my falseta relies on them finishing at the right time......everyone the guajira that night was a student, some knew the body movements that resembled dancing... but in my opinion not ready to be onstage ...i thought that's it...no more...just made me decide then and there...either that or id be bitter and making faces onstage...when i get more of a flamenco kick practicing at home alone with a loop ...i think its wise to have a rest from that gig..



and then theres the other ones u do cause u are always broke after the satisfying ones ... ...but those are quick...in and out, at a undisclosed location.....not regularly...in a place all my friends know that can find me every friday

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 4:57:11
 
KMMI77

Posts: 1821
Joined: Jul. 26 2009
From: The land down under

RE: connecting (in reply to Florian

quote:

and then theres the other ones u do cause u are always broke after the satisfying ones ...


Yep, there are plenty of those

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 5:06:51
 
paleto3

 

Posts: 149
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: San Diego, CA

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

I think everyone has to find their own answer to this question.

I think I don't connect with many people because I refuse to play nice classical tunes and I refuse to play Gipsy Kings, Ottmar Liebert, Armik, Jesse Cook and the like. Some restaurants only want that. I tell them that's not what I do, which is best in the long run anyway. Let them hire people who want to play that. I create my own opportunities just from being myself and being professional. However, I do think I usually connect with a few people who would like what I play because they enjoy the styles I choose to play. You will only connect with those who are capable of connecting with what you choose to play. Others will not be on the same wavelength.

If you play mellow music, those who like that will tell you so. The ones who are bored by it won't say anything.

If you play intense, uptempo music, those who like will tell you so (often they are the most vocal). Those who don't won't say anything (those who like mellow are usually more apt to remain quiet).

I only play Núñez, Vicente Amigo, Rafael Riqueni, Manolo Franco, Paco Peña and soon Viejín and Ramón Jiménez because it speaks to me and in that sense, I play from my own heart or soul to the degree possible when playing someone else's music. There is definitely a range of tempo because I play most of the song forms. I play Paco Peña's malagueña, but not Ernesto Lecuona's. When they ask, I tell them it was written by a Cuban, and that flamenco is Spanish and I do flamenco. I smile too and I say it respectfully. Some people want to hear those old tunes, and I can't blame them, they want you to bring back memories, which is a nice thing. However, that's not the kind of musician I choose to be.

I think you have to accept that everyone will have their own opinion and will like what they are going to like almost despite what you do. Others will like what you play because they like you, which is a great thing.

I have seen people drunk not from alcohol, but from having enjoyed the way the range of music I have played made them feel. I have also seen people who really don't get it at all. I don't care about the ones who don't get it, they usually aren't very sophisticated listeners and usually are musical idiots.

My attitude is, I'm going to give what I am best at, some will like it and connect. Others won't and I can't nor do I want to control that. I will do what I am best at and be happy with that.

I play pretty much only corporate, private and weddings and refuse to play restaurants because they refuse to pay a livable wage. I too am often background, but I am not going to try to turn flamenco into elevator music either. Although some of you will say I do play elevator music because I play Bolero a Marcos and soon I hope to have a transcription of Bolero del Amigo. I break out my laúd for some tunes too, which is a nice contrast to guitar - I figured out a really nice scale/melody to play over a nice alegrías we play. I have had people say they liked it a lot. Some 20 year olds probably think it's an anachronism, but it's really a nice, different sound. You can see me play it a little in the Bolero a Marcos video in the video upload section.

I don't think flamenco was designed to give people peace, so if you are looking to play flamenco and give people peace, you might find yourself at odds. It is inherently tense, and I have always thought that it's because some of the more gypsy song forms like soleá and bulerías often reflect their marginalization.

The loud environment can be a huge problem, but I agree you are right to focus on tone, not volume. Just have a monitor near you so you can hear yourself clearly and let them hear what they can if they don't want to shut up and listen :-)

Some people are bored by peaceful music, some people love it. You will attract like minded people no matter what you play. When possible, I'll play a granaína and then a fast alegría or rumba or soleá por bulería or whatever so the dynamics are always changing. I always intersperse 4/4 song forms with 3/4 song forms to keep it fresh and interesting.

I got to do a little concert a couple days ago with one dancer. It sucked for me because she didn't have to time to rehearse, and then her palmas patterns didn't match what I was playing very well, she was hesitating when I wanted her to clap very strong, then she hesitated while she danced and I wanted her to dance really strong (she was worried it would screw up the falsetas, but I just wanted us to sound strong)...I got to say a lot about flamenco and gave them a little education, which most of them really liked. Then I noticed an older guy falling asleep. I laughed my ass off. There was that one person who just didn't get it. That's his loss.

Unfortunately, it was at a library that didn't have much of a budget. If we could have been a quartet with 2 dancers like in the videos I posted we would have knocked their socks off.

I hope I can get the director to bring us back next year as a quartet with 2 dancers. Then we can really leave a strong impression.

In any case, you will connect with some, but not with everyone. Just do what you are best at and put your heart into it and you will receive compliments from those ready to grasp what you have to offer.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 6:04:28
 
Kevin James Shanahan

Posts: 407
Joined: Oct. 10 2010
From: Wooli, NSW Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

quote:

I try to connect with myself. It's there that the music comes to life for me

This is great Kris , reminds me of the saying " If you cannot love yourself you can love nobbody else ". That setting looks so inviting , that realy lets people connect with you . Awesome

_____________________________

Peace.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 6:05:56
 
paleto3

 

Posts: 149
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: San Diego, CA

RE: connecting (in reply to Florian

Florian, I am right there with you.

Read my essay below;-)

You have to learn to refuse to play for low wages and sit at home sometimes.

Work your ass off so you sound really tight with 2 or 3 key people and when they want you to play for cheap say that it takes a **** load of time to rehearse and play well and that you will only play when you are paid fairly. Tell them you have financial responsibilities too and that what they are offering is simply not livable. People will continue to take advantage of you time after time until you train them to pay you fairly.

I just had to raise my prices, and I got pissed over the last 2 days because 2 separate companies decided not to pay $500 each for 2 3-hour gigs on consecutive nights, and another company refused $575 for a different 4 hour gig. I tell them that I have printing and advertising expenses, I have to buy a $900 insurance policy (because I do to work at certain properties this year), that I pay web hosting, that my equipment is not free, that I have to practice on a daily basis both alone and with others, that I make calls all day to hotels and resorts to get gigs, an that takes time that should be paid, etc.

**** 'em. The only way they will learn is when they get a ****ty show, or if a less than responsible person is late or screws up somehow - and they will. Only problem is I lost out to an iPod on one of them..Nothing I can do either, except perhaps enforce a law that no-one can use an iPod at a wedding or party:-) Good luck on that.

By the same token, you have to be responsible, polished and professional. When the right people know you are professional, accountable and reliable, better and better gigs will come your way.

Find 2 or three others who are serious about it, polish your tunes and choreography, charge a professional rate that allows you to make a living and refuse to work for cheap.

You will lose some, but often, it ends up better that you lost them anyway because they were just going to keep working you for all you will give them.

Screw 'em. You gotta make a living too.

Hang in there, be strong about your pricing and don't give in. If they've got the $$, they will find it. If not, another person with a decent budget will find you.

-Anthony
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 6:21:02
 
Kevin James Shanahan

Posts: 407
Joined: Oct. 10 2010
From: Wooli, NSW Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

quote:

I don't think flamenco was designed to give people peace, so if you are looking to play flamenco and give people peace, you might find yourself at odds. It is inherently tense, and I have always thought that it's because some of the more gypsy song forms like soleá and bulerías often reflect their marginalization

Great stuff Paleto , So much good imformation there , also emphasising the point that you must satisfy yourself first . I pulled this quote as I found it very interesting to this topic of connecting . I do believe that flamenco brought and brings peace to those that have and do live and breathe it , by venting feelings and deep thoughts usually kept locked away . However the form as you say and I agree does not lend itself to bringing peace to those on the outside . More so a way of keeping a collective of people connected .
Once again great post thank you

_____________________________

Peace.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 6:23:57
 
paleto3

 

Posts: 149
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: San Diego, CA

RE: connecting (in reply to Florian

Don't follow their remate with your falseta, put 2 or 3 12 beat compáses of I-V-I in there so you can all lock in together if they screw it up.

I intersperse many songs we play with simple I-V-I sections after a falseta or verse as a place to come together if we somehow screw up.

-A
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 6:28:40
 
KMMI77

Posts: 1821
Joined: Jul. 26 2009
From: The land down under

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

Lots of great thoughts in this thread from everyone!

I believe i am a musician at heart, but I work as a delivery driver to keep my sanity

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 6:50:23
 
paleto3

 

Posts: 149
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: San Diego, CA

RE: connecting (in reply to KMMI77

Understood, because my sanity is on the verge of insanity on a regular basis. Yesterday being a perfect example. If you have to do a regular job to keep it, at least you keep your sanity because mine is gone;-)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 10:36:35
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: connecting (in reply to KMMI77

quote:

ORIGINAL: KMMI77

I try to connect with myself. It's there that the music comes to life for me. Only then can i connect with anyone else. There is never a guarantee no matter how much i practice or choice of material.

If i connect then i feel ok to play anything i know. But if i can't find anything, feel down, bad vibes, etc.. I will usually go into reserved mode and play it safe and disappear into the background. The truth always comes out one way or another. So that's what the audience ends up with.

/quote]

How very well put. Exactly the same with me.

To get myself inspired i prefer to do the warming up with tempered strings. It helps you to appreciate the sound of a well played guitar with fresh ears later on (in stead of hearing the flaws only). On top it always gives you a "wow that sounds great" experience ones seated in front of the audience. Nothing is worse than having a warming up in perfect conditions and experiencing bad acoustics ones seated. Tempered strings also makes you play more relaxed and rhythmical, improving input balance in the process. It really makes you to play the guitar differently and better (unless you're a natural) so i do it at home as well on a regular base

Once on stage i try to maintain that relaxed and well dosed energy input. It took me some time to prevail it over volume at all times. The only person i know that is able to combine the two is Paco Pena. When he want's a note to stand out over a longer period of time he plays it softer (not harder) since a hard note also dies more quickly. We think in energy levels on top of dynamics, which is quite another thing. So i try not to confront bad conditions....if they lack sound equipment and choose to talk that's there problem, not mine. My only task is to play music that fits the situation and to play it as beautiful, respectful and musical as i can...... not as hard as i can.

I once played a restaurant were nobody payed any attention at all. The acoustics were crap (good hardly hear myself) and everyone was talking. With the exception of one nice couple no one applauded, ....until they played a cd during my break. Everybody stood up, started to dance and gave a judge applause afterwards.....for the f@#$ cd!

That was the work my father did in the 50's. No cd or dj at that time of period but a live band covering every song imaginable, playing 6 hours on a row without a break. His band was the very best, playing the hottest place in town. They were fully booked 362 days a year. They could fill their agenda's years in front if they wanted but you could only book them up to 2 years in front because they had to be able to adapt to price developments. They performed over 20.000 hours on stage in a 10 year period. Every week they added new material and they had enough material to play for a week without repeating a single track (42hours).

When he became a classical guitar teacher at Rotterdam University of Music on top of the normal classical program he made his students a songbook covering loads of popular songs arranged for solo guitar, so they could face the challenge of accepting gigs. Very simple things most of you would not consider to play (yesterday etc.). But you and i lack 20.000 hours experience. What counts is a beautiful sound and a musical interpretation, not the complexity.

My fathers band played those Beatles songs themselves in the 60's. Playing the hottest spot of Amsterdam they once had a unexpected visitor when John Lennon himself walked in, enjoying the Amsterdam night live after performing his one and only Dutch Beatle concert ever. He joined in a couple of songs. The next day tv reporters showed thousands of people trying to meet John earlier that day, and the guy just walked in and had a gig with a talented stranger who happened to be my father.

In the 50's and 60's those hotspots hosted numerous guest artist as well, often accompanied by my fathers band. This included flamenco as well and my father remembers flamenco songs that are (partly) forgotten ever since. Some of them he included in the judge databank he singlehandedly wrote for Paco Pena's Flamenco University course, over a 1000 pages of the best flamenco transcriptions in existence, not available for general public and only partial available for students of Paco Pena.

In the 50's he never met Carmen Amaya, but he did met Manolo Marin, one of the most complete dancers of his time. In that period of time a flamenco guitar solo was restricted to either Granainas or Zambra Mora.

According to my father you must change key after each song (unless you play a totally different kind of music next) So don't play a bulerias, a tientos/tangos and a sevillanas in A directly after each other.

And some last advise from me ....don't think general public hears your music the same way as you do. You have trained ears and a taste that passed a hole evolution. Would you have grasped and appreciated the complex solo you just played with your ears from 10/20 years ago? And does the simple tune that made you start loving and playing flamenco in the first place suddenly lose all value because you prefer the more complex ones now days? Try to remember what inspired you 30 years ago (when you still liked meeting of the spirits and not saw it as 3 guys freaking out with meaningless music).

It can even be of some comfort when you fail to produce the goods. When i entered Paco's Flamenco corse for the very first time i heart him play a duet behind closed doors with somebody equally good as him. As it turned out it happened to be 2 classmates of me. To my 1985 ears all 10 of them were equally good as Paco Pena himself. Over the years we became better and better but the distance between us and Paco became bigger and bigger as well. Not because Paco improved himself as well but simply because we learned to hear and appreciate qualities in his technique and interpretation we fail to spot before. If the 1985 erik could have seen the 1995 erik he would have granted him Paco Pena level as well. Since i failed to spot the difference back then , so will general public right now, especially since my 1985 ears were already way ahead of most of them. It's my experience that most people enjoy what i enjoyed as a youngster. The majority will prefer Paco pena's fabulous Alegrias de Cordoba over Paco de lucia's even more fabulous La Barossa. I try to keep that in mind when i choose material and/or fail to produce the goods.

O, and people tent to judge you on your first impression and your last notes only, so make sure your opening and final piece are audience prove.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 13:59:02
 
Florian

Posts: 9282
Joined: Jul. 14 2003
From: Adelaide/Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to paleto3

quote:

Don't follow their remate with your falseta, put 2 or 3 12 beat compáses of I-V-I in there so you can all lock in together if they screw it up.


i could do that but then half of the effect and the reason i even transcribed that falseta is gone...and the teacher did their choreography for the falseta to start there...straight after is a llamada that goes into something else so there isn't 2 compases or one to spare ...either start there or end midfalseta....btw...this falseta that particular night....was just the point where i decided i had enough...but it wasent just that...its not like they gonna totaly screw up the timing in one guajira falseta and then do everything else in perfect compas

quote:

Hang in there, be strong about your pricing and don't give in. If they've got the $$, they will find it. If not, another person with a decent budget will find you.



dont worry Anthony i think we all understand and know your frustration ...its how it works...that's why i dont get upset or take it personal...i tell them what i want...if i dont get it...unless I myself see the benefits i dont do it..(sometimes theres other benefits, like if it leads to more work, or true exposure...but not when they tell me!, cause they always use that one too...when i think it and see it for myself)

nobody decides to have a party and pays for everything...and when they have $100 left in the budget decide they want live flamenco..and really expect to get it....if you had a party and truly $100 left in your budget ...you dont call to see if u can get a live act in there...

i love it when they call 2 months in advance and say all they can afford is $100...its like ...well ...u got 2 months...if you truly wanted it ...you got time to come up with what you need...i dont think that i am the one that should sacrifice so that your party or engagement or wedding or function...will be awesome I dont really know you.......people with truly "no money" dont decide to have parties

when i am $5 short i dont go to the store to see if i can get a packet of cigarets with it

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 16:09:27
 
shaun

Posts: 176
Joined: May 11 2012
From: Edmonton, Canada

RE: connecting (in reply to Kevin James Shanahan

The vast majority of my performances get a great response. But, I've had one performance where there seemed to be no connection. I was playing at a fundraiser dinner. There was a silent auction, the usual speeches, a meal, and live music before and after the meal. I was the pre-meal entertainment. I started with the usual super-catchy rumba and proceeded through my set list. Nothing got an applause. Nothing got anybody even looking at me while I played. The MC interrupted one of my songs to say something about the silent auction going on. Like he couldn't wait one minute for the song to end. Throughout the set I kept thinking, "Was that alright? Who gives a sh!t." When it was over, the husband of one of the organizers said, "These people are so ignorant they don't recognize something good when it's happening right in front of them." I sat down for my meal. One of the women at the table asked who I was. When she was told that I was the guitarist, she was already drunk enough to admit that she didn't even notice there was music. I really don't think there was anything I could've done to get that crowd to even notice me without yelling, swearing, and generally "making a scene". It was a loud environment and not one that I think was suited for live music. I am friends with the organizers so it was easy to have them understand that I wouldn't be playing that fundraiser again this year. So, I ended up playing a much more welcoming (and better paying) gig that weekend.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 17:20:09
 
Florian

Posts: 9282
Joined: Jul. 14 2003
From: Adelaide/Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to shaun

quote:

without yelling, swearing, and generally "making a scene".


so ....whats the problem ?


" - hey fuc*head !! I am playing romantic freaking guitar over here !!" ......." - douchebag "........" - I am not gonna tell you again...I dont give a damn if you're the brides grandma"

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 17:23:12
 
paleto3

 

Posts: 149
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: San Diego, CA

RE: connecting (in reply to Florian

Yeah, in 2 months they would find it if they felt it was that much of a priority.

Always tell them about how you don't have the option of negotiating a price for your water or electricity or rent bill.

People always use the exposure thing. If you can, smile or even laugh and say you've heard that one before. Tell them you can't pay your bills with exposure.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 19:30:05
 
paleto3

 

Posts: 149
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: San Diego, CA

RE: connecting (in reply to shaun

Good.

Sometimes you have to learn to refuse gigs that aren't worth your investment or when the client is not a good one.

Another problem is that there are 5 guys who usually suck and will play the gig for less or even nothing.

I have been hearing that there are musicians here in San Diego who pay to play! This is the stupidest idea I have ever heard. They do not realize that they are not only screwing it up for other musicians, but they are actually shooting themselves in the foot because that is what people will begin to expect.

The public must be trained to pay us fairly, and unfortunately it is our responsibility to educate them.

Do not let yourself get taken advantage of, because they will do it over and over and over ad nauseum.

Learn to refuse the crappy gigs, and be clear with the person trying to get you to do it that you need to be paid fairly for your investment in equipment and time spent rehearsing.

However, choose the ones that do deserve your support and do those if you have to for less or free. There is an event venue called The Darlington House here in San Diego, actually in La Jolla. It is a nice, Spanish style home that is rented as an event venue. The money they earn from renting it pays to support elderly people who live in an adjacent rest home. I am donating a 2 hour event for their auction, which will take place in the home of the winning bidder. They have me on their vendor list and I get work from them sometimes, so it is worth donating my service on an off night to someone donating money to support the elderly and the house itself. This is a worthy cause.

I choose to do it because it supports something that is worth while and they actively refer me to their clients, so there is a benefit to me as well.

-Anthony
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 19:35:23
 
Florian

Posts: 9282
Joined: Jul. 14 2003
From: Adelaide/Australia

RE: connecting (in reply to paleto3

quote:

The public must be trained to pay us fairly, and unfortunately it is our responsibility to educate them.



i know i agree....is there like a standard award pay list for musicians ?


there will always be someone who will do it for less...if the musicians in a respective genre were more together on prices they would all benefit...but theres always the guy thinking short term


sometimes its also a good indication of the person's hiring you respect for what you do or the arts...like would be the type of guy that if he didn't need you, would not think that being a musician is a job

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 19:37:07
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