Flamenco guitarist and composer Juan Martín looks back over a remarkable career with a new four-CD collection as he heads to Horsham.
He will be in concert at The Capitol this Sunday (March 10).
“The CD is a collection of my outstanding tracks from my whole recording career, four CDs with more than 70 pieces taken from 20 albums from 1974 to 2015.
“I have got another album in me right now that I’m hoping to record soon. But I just felt that it was time to do this because my earlier recordings on vinyl for Decca and EMI were fine majors in the recording area. And people realise you have had a long recording career, that I started off with these companies and that I was lucky enough to have a hit with the love theme from The Thornbirds…
“The pieces are in chronological order. You start with the early ones. It took a while to decide. It was more complex than you would think. It took a lot of consideration because each CD has its own groove. It is not the same as listening to an original album from that time. You have got to get the mix right and think this follows this and that follows that and get it right. You need to be thinking of the right tones, the right keys. You need to try all sorts of orders. But you can actually judge. You do an order and then you listen carefully. The total listening time is five hours. It does take a lot of really centred listening.”
But Juan is delighted with the result: “It is a life in music, to be honest. It is continual especially in something as insecure as making a career in music, the way the music industry is going, the big changes that came in with the internet when royalties virtually stopped because everybody was downloading without paying. But I put this together and I am thinking that I have managed to make my living, that I have got enough to eat and that I have got a roof over my head!
“But I think I am very centred. The dedication is there. If you are passionate enough, if you love something enough, then you will get there.”
But that’s not to say Juan has stood still: “Flamenco is always moving. The style is always moving on. You can never relax. There are new chords coming in, new ideas, new influences, but you do also need the absolute commitment, the absolute love. The day I look at a guitar and don’t want to pick it up, that’s the day I will be finished!”
Why the guitar?
“It is hard to say why something appeals to the soul. Some people will hear a piece of jazz and then they become a jazz person. I listened to a lot of classical music when I was younger. I think it is dangerous only to listen to guitar music because you are too limited, but I think listening to my father’s record collection was very important.”
Also important was playing for dancers and singers: “You have to learn to follow the feet. When you are playing for dancers or singers, you are like the waiter, and no one really wants to notice the waiter. But I love playing solo. It is like radio rather than television because you are wanting the listener to enter into the imagination of it all. It is very intimate. It can give people a wonderfully spiritual evening rather than the more carnal evening of watching dance.”
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