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Guitarist to heat things up in Yk

Laura Power
Northern News Services
Published Friday, October 26, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - He's played at the Royal Festival Theatre in London, England. He's played at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

And this weekend, Flamenco guitar player Juan Martin comes to Yellowknife.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Flamenco guitarist Juan Martin will perform at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre this weekend. - photo courtesy of NACC

This isn't the first time he's come, either. Martin has played at Folk on the Rocks and at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC) in the last few years, and he said he's now drawn back to perform in a city that holds appeal for him.

"Yellowknife is a very unique place, I think, and I love its sense of community and the fact that people help each other," he said. "I like the idea of the people from all sorts of places that end up living there."

Martin is from Andalucía, in southern Spain, and though he has travelled the world with his music, he said he enjoys travelling so far North to play.

"It's more of an adventure than if you're just doing a normal concert," he said.

He remembers warming up by the lake before his set at Folk on the Rocks in 2004, and looking up to see five or six people watching him.

"The First Nations people seem to feel something about flamenco," he said.

Martin has been playing music since he was six years old, influenced by his father's collection of records. He has since become a world-renowned flamenco guitarist, and his love of the music is still strong.

"It's very passionate," he said of the style. "It's got a lot of beautiful key changes in the chords in the guitar which is very nice to improvise around. It's a very demanding technique, which is a continual discipline in the instrument to always be at your best," he said.

Ben Nind, executive director of NACC said to get an artist of such a calibre to perform up here is very exciting.

"He brings a flair and a passion and an insight into the Mediterranean culture and I think any infusion of the Mediterranean into a community that's headed into winter is a good thing," he said.

Martin plans to give the audiences at this weekend's concerts a taste of three elements of flamenco. He will begin playing on the guitar, then singer Rosa Clavijo will be introduced. Finally, dancer Salvador Moreno will join them onstage to complete their efforts in the musical style Martin said people love.

"They love the rhythm, excitement of the rhythm," he said. "The dance is very visual."

The group will perform tonight at NACC and again tomorrow night. Both performances start at 8 p.m.