. . . And Then Tomas Began to Play

Tomàs Rodrigues, performing at a house concert in Boise, Idaho, March 17, 2019

Tomàs Rodrigues, performing at a house concert in Boise, Idaho, March 17, 2019

As WC has written, he was lucky enough to attend four concerts in seven days. The fourth and last was a house concert, where WC had a front row seat for a recital by Tomas Rodriguez. You may not have heard of Tomas, but he is a New York-based classical guitarist, whose skill is far beyond WC’s poor powers of description. This is the third time WC has seen Tomas perform, and he never disappoints.

Tomàs is a high school classmate of Mrs WC; he still has family in Boise, so he is in town more often than he might be otherwise. He’s a friend that WC doesn’t get to see often enough.

While he knows and can perform almost any guitar genre, he has chosen to focus on Spanish – especially Gallacian gypsy – and South American guitar. That hasn’t stopped him from working through the roots of those musical traditions. Those explorations have taken him to  the music of Mali and Guinea, in Africa, to the uplands of Venezuela, his father’s home, and to the punto guajiro music of Cuba. While he is perfectly capable of superb performance of flamenco or classical music, Tomàs prefers to take his listeners on explorations of those roots and the lovely syntheses he has composed from those disparate genres.

He’s musical scholar as well. WC has written earlier of Tomas’s ability to make his guitar sound like the Kora, the 24-string mandinka harp played in Mali and nearby areas of West Africa. As an effort of composition, his adaptations of mandinka music to the classical guitar are extremely impressive and a musical delight. In many ways, the result is a new form of music, a remarkable achievement in itself. But in Tomas’s hands, it’s also very entertaining and engaging.

A thoughtful and introspective live act, he’s at a completely different pole of contemporary music than the party-down Jimmy Buffett, or the sly humor of Postmodern Jukebox.

Altogether a perfect conclusion to a week of music. Boise is currently in the throes of Treefort, it’s annual music festival. That’s well and good. But WC has already experienced his very own Treefort. WC’s thanks to Tomas Roriguez for a superb conclusion to WC’s private music festival. It was a great show, and it was delightful to see and hear Tomas again.