International guitar festival GuitArt Plovdiv 2017
The three-day GuitArt Plovdiv 2017 festival edition included guitar recitals, concerts, workshops, masterclasses and discussions, all featured under the calendar of Autumn Art Salon Plovdiv.
The festival kicked off on October 27th with The Edu Vico Flamenco Sextet, led by innovative Spanish virtuoso Edu Vico. The audience awaited this fiery and passionate show with great anticipation, and kept calling the fabulous musicians out for encore after encore.
The closing show of the day brought the audience closer to another Spanish-speaking culture, this time from Latin America, in the form of the popular quartet Ritmos Negros, who performed at Plovdiv’ Bee Bop Café. Featuring members from Perú, Bulgaria, and Spain the band performed covers of traditional Afro-Peruvian songs, as well as original compositions that will be available in their self-titled debut release in early 2018. Comprised of Arnau Garrofé on sax/clarinet/flute, Boris Taslev on bass, Simeon Leonidov on guitar, and Piero Epifanía on vocals and percussion the band adds elements of jazz and rhythmic improvisations into the mix, taking the listener of great journey along the way.
During the second day of the festival were held a large number of workshops at the TrakArt Cultural Center. Starting off at 10:30 am guitarists of all shapes and sizes came out to learn from master-guitarist Edu Vico, with simultaneous translation from Spanish to Bulgarian by festival producer Boyan “Bo” Boiadjiev. The day continued under the guidance of bass player extraordinaire Ivaylo Zvezdomirov, who fascinated beginner and advanced players alike with his focused approach to the instrument. During the workshop entitled “The role of the bass guitar in contemporary music styles”, Mr. Zvezdomirov laid out, in a detailed and poignant fashion, his thoughts on practicing beat and rhythmic placements, instrument tune up, and the functions of the rhythm section in a live band, be that of a large size or small. The final workshop of the day, entitled “Chords: the inspiration and the canvas onto which we improvise” was delivered by Boyan “Bo” Boiadjiev. During the session Boyan Bo stressed the importance of using chordal shortcuts in order to switch easily between modalities and focusing on particular chord tones in order to invoke a certain mood while improvising.
The evening’s concert program started at 7:30pm with a recital by renowned and celebrate master of the classical guitar Marco Tamayo. The Cuban-born, Austria-residing guitarist reminded the full hall at Plovdiv’s Dramatic Theater why the Italian newspaper “La Stampa” had dubbed him “the king of guitar.” With a few surprise changes in this program, Maestro Tamayo mesmerized the audience members who left the theater smiling and elated. Mr. Tamayo is the winner of countless prestigious international guitar competitions, and was a featured soloist for many orchestral performances. He is currently also a leading figure in classical guitar education.
The last show of the evening started at 9:00pm and featured the guitar duet of Jes Psaila (Malta) and Vesselin Koychev (Bulgaria), who took the audience on a retrospective of some of jazz’s most popular standards at Bee Bop Café. Jes Psaila’s participation at GuitArt Festival came to be with the invaluable support of Yamaha Music Export, an endorser of Mr. Psaila.
This was a busy day for Maestro Marco Tamayo, who held a series of masterclasses with talented Bulgarian guitar students at the Academy of Music, Dance, and Fine Arts (Plovdiv).
Meanwhile, the TrakArt Cultural Center welcomed visitors to a second series of workshops. The day started with Jes Psaila and Koychev who delved into the topic of “Technique, phrasing, spirit: improvisation as a style.” The two experience guitarists shared their views on the different aspects of improvisation drawing on the practical and intuitive versus the theoretical and learned approach. Bulgarian guitarist Atanas Shishkov left all visitors (and simulcast viewers) speechless with this “Tapping Technique” workshop. Mr. Shishkov combines his blazing technique and chops with a focused explanation of his influences, guitar tone tips, and practice routines, laying down a path for any guitarist seeking a similar level of mastery to follow.
The TrakArt Cultural Center also played host to an interactive exhibit of Yamaha Instruments and Accessories, courtesy of Yamaha Music Export and Dynacord (the Bulgarian Yamaha distributor),
The final evening of the festival brought audience back to the Bee Bop Café, Starting off at 9:00 pm the audience were treated to a very special project – The Jes Psaila Quartet - a quartet assembled to showcase Mr. Psaila’s compositions, as well as talented and acclaimed Bulgarian musicians Stoyan Yankulov (Stundji) on percussion, Yassen Velchev on keyboards, and Ivaylo Zvezdomirov on bass. An evening full of emotion, improvisation, and great music. A fitting conclusion to the 2017 edition of GuitArt Festival, Plovdiv.