Ronald Radford

Flamenco Guitarist "Phenomenal"

A Review by Tim O'Gorman

On Monday evening, March 21, Libby Community concert-goers were treated to a virtuoso performance of Flamenco guitar music by Ronald Radford, hailed as one of the world's premier non-Spanish Flamenco guitarists. For those of us whose acquaintance with guitars is limited to folk music and electric rock and roll, the variety of sounds and quality of music produced on a nylon stringed guitar by Mr. Radford was phenomenal to hear and behold. Radford's artistry kept the audience in fascinated awe, almost not believing the music being heard. Who would have guessed that a guitar could be picked with the left hand on the neck of the guitar while the right hand maintained a strum, or that a guitar could be made to sound like a drum and bugle as in the "Seguiriyas - the holy week parade in Seville?"

No doubt few people in the audience had been exposed to Flamenco music to any great length and perhaps it was with some reluctance mixed with curiosity that we attended in the first place. But Radford, who is a native of Oklahoma, put us at ease with his opening remark, "Muchas gracias, y'all," and quickly established a strong rapport with the audience. His enthusiasm and love for the ancient folk music of Spain was transmitted to us as he told of the history of the music, comparing it to American bluegrass, unwritten and passed down by musicians through the centuries.

Radford related that as a boy raised in Oklahoma he picked up a record of Carlos Montoya and had his life changed, from an aspiring rock and roll musician to a devotee of Flamenco music. He described his life since then as following a rainbow, first to the tutelage of Carlos Montoya, then to southern Spain to learn from Gypsy masters, attend festivals and "juergas" (Flamenco jam sessions), patiently learning his art. That rainbow has carried him to world acclaim in concert halls across the nation, including his stop in Libby. For that we say, "Muchas gracias, Ronald Radford." We hope that rainbow leads you to Libby again.

Western News, Libby, Montana - By Tim O'Gorman.