Ronald Radford, known as the “American Master of Flamenco Guitar” will be performing at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, in the Mineral Area College Fine Arts Theater.
Radford is the only North American touring flamenco guitarist out of only about a half-dozen worldwide.
Scottye Adkins, of the Mineral Area Council on the Arts (MACOA) said, “MACOA is waiting with anticipation to present Radford in concert this January. Solo Flamenco guitar music, which is sometimes whimsically called ‘Gypsy jazz,’ only came into its own in the late 1930’s, when Carlos Montoya’s uncle Ramon Montoya legitimized it as a separate art form distinct from the usual guitar accompaniment of Flamenco singing and dancing.
Carlos Montoya inspired Radford to take up the unique musical form when he was in high school.
“I met him and played for him with the intention of asking for his advice as to where I should study in Spain,” Radford recalls.
That fateful meeting led to Radford studying with Montoya in New York as a private student. While in New York, he played professional concerts which included Carnegie Hall.
Following his studies in New York, Radford was the only individual ever to be awarded a Fulbright scholarship in Flamenco Guitar music, but there was no formal method of studying it.
“I had to find the individuals who were masters of the musical styles I wanted to learn,” he said.
Radford traveled thousands of miles in Spain immersing himself in the music and lifestyle of the Spanish Gypsies.
“I like to compare Flamenco to American Bluegrass music, which I also play a little,” he says. “It’s not an exact parallel, but they’re both based on non-written oral traditions handed down through the generations. The forms serve as a reference point for the individual interpretation, which never sounds quite the same way twice.”
Adkins said, “Radford will mesmerize the audience as the lone guitarist in the spotlight, yet he is approachable, personable, and will weave the Gypsy folklore throughout the performance. The Mineral Area College Fine Arts Theater will be the perfect intimate setting for this unique experience.
Financial assistance for this event is provided by the Missouri Arts Council. Tickets for Radford’s concert are $10 for adults and $5 for students. They are now available at the Mineral Area College Bookstore and Eventbrite.com.
For more information call Scottye Adkins at 573-518-2125 or email sadkins@MineralArea.edu.