Sunday afternoon WC was treated to a house concert featuring the gifted and talented Tomàs Rodriguez, a high school classmate of Mrs. WC who has made himself one of the finest guitarists WC has ever heard.
The two sets Tomàs played for us were a world tour of the signature rhythms of guitar music. Some of the many rhythms of Brazil and Cuba, a touch of Venezuela, a sampling of Africa; even a bit of Liverpudlian music: the lovely Lennon/McCartney tune, “And I Love Her.” Perhaps most astonishing of all, for his closing piece, Tomàs made his guitar sound like the Kora, the 24-string mandinka harp played in Mali and nearby area of West Africa. It wasn’t simply that Tomàs had re-scored the song for the guitar; he had somehow re-tuned his guitar to approximate the notes of the kora, and then adapted the score. It was a masterful piece of work. WC was lucky enough to hear the African Guitar Summit recently, and Tomàs’s work would have fit in nicely.
In addition to exploring world music, Tomàs showed he can write in those genres as well. About a third of the tunes he played were his own compositions. And they were excellent. He has a new CD coming out soon, and promises two-thirds of the songs on it will be his work. WC looks forward to it.
House concerts are an especially intimate venue. They harken back to the chamber music of the 17th and 18th Centuries. not every artist is comfortable performing five feet from his audience. It requires an ease with your audience, a level of rapport, that many good musicians simply don’t have. Tomàs does. Which made the house concert especially delightful.
Tomàs lives in Brooklyn now, and mostly performs there. But if you have the chance to see him or hear his music, you should. He is an excellent, thoughtful and wide-ranging guitarist, a fine composer and a great act. WC will close with a Youtube performance by Tomàs and some of his friends:
P.S.: House concerts are even more fun when they are at someone else’s house. Thanks to Jim and Katie for hosting the show.