Ronald Radford

Radford Is Entertaining, Educational, Impassioned

A Review by Hank Berumen

On Saturday, March 9, flamenco guitarist Ronald Radford performed at the First Methodist Church as part of the Arts under the Dome concert series. His performance was entertaining as well as educational, but most of all, it was impassioned. Here is a man who is truly driven by his art and lives it. Mr. Radford, who hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma, explained how he came to be involved with gypsy flamenco music, how he came to study under the maestro Carlos Montoya and how this led to his love of Spain and its different variations of flamenco.

He then proceeded to play these "dialects" with a precision and technique unsurpassed, filled with emotion that left the listener spellbound.

For those of you unfamiliar with this music, flamenco is a spontaneous, creative and unwritten style that has been passed down for centuries with its roots in gypsy and Moorish culture. It is an intensely emotional music, whether it's making you laugh and sing in its festive sound, or leaving you reflective and melancholy with its quiet emotion. Though it is folk music, indigenous to the region, I heard many ethnic threads throughout the music. In fact, I heard musical phrases that have shown up in rock and roll music, though it preceded rock by several centuries.

Mr. Radford showed his sense of humor many times throughout his concert and educated his audience, thereby drawing all those in attendance into the performance, making us one with flamenco. Mr. Radford definitely rose to the occasion this night, bringing all these emotions together with intricate fingerings and percussive attacks on his nylon string guitar. A true artist, he seemed oblivious to all that was around him once he began a piece, wrapped up emotionally and physically in the music, yet never letting his audience feel alienated or disconnected.

If we're lucky to have Mr. Radford come back our way, I strongly advise you to make plans to attend. For those who did attend this night, it was a great evening of family entertainment and just may have lit a sleeping passion in someone who has never been exposed to such a fascinating and emotional style of music.

Bay Press, Biloxi, MS - By Hank Berumen.