Ronald Radford

Flamenco Artist Entices The Imagination

A Review by Jocelyn Barton

Ronald Radford does not play his guitar. He coaxes out images colored by the vibrant hues of a gypsy dancer's skirt and tempered with the centuries-old eyes of a traveling flamenco player. During his solo two-hour-plus show Wednesday night in Meacham Auditorium, Radford offered a concert that brought the full house to its feet and elicited spontaneous shouts of "Ole!"

The show opened with a brief introduction to flamenco as an art form, which Radford defined as a "spontaneous and creative unwritten folk music." Radford's concert was unique in that he carried on a conversation with the audience about the customs and history of flamenco and Andalucia - the sunny, southern region of Spain where flamenco originates. But Radford didn't lecture; he enthused, enchanted with his subject.

After his introduction the magic began. Like an elegant spider spinning its web in the branches, Radford's fingers moved through the strings, creating sounds which seemed impossible. At times the instrument became a distant snare drum, snapping out a martial rhythm. It became the trilling wail of a gypsy singer. And at times, it became the snap of a flamenco dancer's heels on the hard-wood floor.

Perhaps one of the most entrancing was the zambra, the sounds of which are traced back to the medieval Moorish toots of Spain. In it Radford conjured up images of weathered men sitting around an open fire, listening as their cares are strummed away.

Radford closed the evening with his personal favorite, a mournful Taranta. It brought the crowd to its feet with demands of "Otro, otro," begging for an encore.

The encore capped an evening filled with the spirit of Spain, and the shouts of "Ole" perhaps will still echo until Radford again visits the Norman campus.

The Oklahoma Daily, Norman, Ok - By Jocelyn Barton.