Month: February 2014

Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society Updates

Connie_sheuSunday March 9, 2014 3pm the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society presents Connie Sheu in concert. This event takes place at Settlement Music School located at 416 Queen Street 19147. Ms. Shue’s program will include pieces by Gugliemi, Kavenagh, Presti, Gubaidulina, Assad and Kruisbrink. Ticket information available at

Grammy Award winner Sharon Isbin performs at the 2014 Philadelphia ClassicalGUitar Festival on April 26 2014. The performance will take place at Trinity Center for Urban Life located at 22nd & Spruce Street. Ticket and information available at

SEASON EXTENSION: The PCGS is planning 2 more concerts after the Festival in April.
Philadelphia Local Artists Concert
(repetetion of the concert cancelled in December)
Sunday May 11, 2014 -3PM
Settlement Music School – 416 Queen St.
Solo Duo Concert and Master Class!
One of the best guitar duos in the world
Concert:  Saturday June 7 at 7:30 pm
Master Class – June 8 at 10:00 am
Location TBDThe Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society founded in 1968 is a community of members both supporters and musicians of all ages and accomplishments dedicated to the advancement of the art of the classical guitar. Through encouraging classical guitar activities throughout the Delaware Valley the PCGS present concerts, throughout the year along with informal Guitar Salons and a Classical Guitar Orchestra, providing members of all levels performance opportunities.  
Information on all events and membership is available at

Renowned Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia dies at 66

Spanish flamenco guitarist de Lucia plays a guitar during a rehearsal of closing concert of the Biennial of Flamenco in the Andalusian capital of Seville

MADRID Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:28am EST

(Reuters) – Paco de Lucia, the influential Spanish guitarist who vastly expanded the international audience for flamenco and merged it with other musical styles, died suddenly on Wednesday of a heart attack in Mexico.

The 66-year-old virtuoso, as happy playing seemingly impossible syncopated flamenco rhythms as he was improvising jazz or classical guitar, helped to legitimize flamenco in Spain itself at a time when it was shunned by the mainstream.

“I learned the guitar like a child learns to speak,” the guitarist said in a 2012 documentary.

Born Francisco Sanchez Gomez, he became famous in the 1970s after recording bestselling album “Entre Dos Aguas”, becoming the first flamenco musician to perform at Madrid’s opera house Teatro Real in 1975.

Paco’s albums such as “El Duende Flamenco de Paco de Lucia” and “Almoraima” reinvented traditional flamenco.

He toured extensively with well known international artists and played with the likes of Carlos Santana and Al Di Meola, happy to expand flamenco rhythms into jazz, although that upset flamenco purists.

“It has been said, and rightly so, that Paco de Lucia has never been surpassed by anyone and guitar playing today would not be understood without his revolutionary figure,” Spain’s arts association SGAE said in a statement.

De Lucia went on to record flamenco jazz fusion with Di Meola and John McLaughlin in a series of now legendary concerts, and also recorded with Chick Corea.

He was highly acclaimed after playing Joaquin de Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” at London’s Festival Hall in 1991, attended by the composer himself, and considered one of the best interpretations of the piece.

De Lucia memorised the piece by ear as he did not read music, and gave it a distinctive flamenco flavor.

“With the guitar I’ve suffered a great deal, but when I’ve had a good time, the suffering seemed worthwhile,” he said in the documentary.

He also formed a partnership in the 1970s with singer Camaron de la Isla which played a large part in creating the New Flamenco movement.

A spokesman for the city hall in Algeciras, where de Lucia was born, confirmed his death and said the city had decreed two days of official mourning.

(Additional reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel and Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Fiona Ortiz,Angus MacSwan and Michael Roddy)

Refusing Service; Arizona Senate Bill 1062

imgresA percentage of my income is derived from the event industry performing on the classical & flamenco guitar, Chinese pipa and bagpipes. Prior to my career in music and as I was developing and growing my business I supported myself as a baker developing my skills that enabled me to rise to the level of Pastry Chef. Never once have I worked for a bakery that denied or even cared about a person’s orientation. In my personal life my friendships are based off of character.

There’s my declaration of equality. Having said that, with the current debate over event services and the Arizona Bill regarding the denial of services to gay people on moral grounds I am reminded of an event request I had a few years ago.

The request was for my services for an event that would celebrate the retirement of a person who worked as a lobbyist in Washington, DC for a number of years. I was excited! It was DC, it was a political event, and it was a great opportunity for me to further my name establishing it deeper into the event industry in DC. After reading the email inquiry I Googled the persons name and came across information that matched very closely to the person mentioned in the email. The caveat was that this person had a strong background with the kkk and didn’t hide the fact. I decided at that point not to call back. I would not sell my talent for this event as I am morally opposed to his belief. In addition to it actually being his choice to pitch for that team.

I did question why they would call me with my very Jewish name to play Spanish and Chinese music for a kkk member’s party. I decided to reply to the call after all. Though the information was similar the party was not for the person I am morally opposed to. The party was for a different person with the same name. The person who contacted me was the partner of the man the party was for, they were Democrats and there would be a very nice mix of people. They were aware of the other person and were happy I called back. So was I! It was a great party and made great connections and picked up a few gigs from it.

Again I say that I do not condone any business or person that refuses service to anybody because of their sexual orientation based on their perception of what morality is. Regardless of the out come in my situation and that it wasn’t based on sexuality, I did the same thing when I made the decision not to play a party for a person who I am morally opposed to.

As an event service provider the only people I refuse to do business with are the one’s who say, “Well I did find someone who will do it for $100.” Sorry I will not do business with you.

18th Annual Millennium Music Conference

The weekend of February 21-23, 2014 will be filled the sound of strings in action from many guitars and cellos. The 18th Annual Millennium Music Conference will take place at the Best Western Hotel and Conference Center in Harrisburg, PA.

The conference features two afternoons of music business panels, clinics, workshops, networking, day stage, one-on-one mentoring and demo listening sessions. The conference events are  topped off with an industry trade show. In the evenings the event celebrates new music with three nights of showcase performances featuring over 300 original acts at 30 live music venues throughout Harrisburg.

Harrisburg at night

Getting people out between Valentines Day and St. Patrick’s Day is a tough challenge for any destination and business district.  The Millennium Music Conference will bring three hundred acts and artists to showcase…..hundreds more that participate from over sixteen states including locations throughout Pennsylvania. The hotels in Harrisburg will be filled and the restaurants for the weekend will present the showcases from the artists attending the conference. At the least, thirty restaurants will also become participants in this annual event.

The mention of cellos

The speakers at the conference have come to Harrisburg seeking talent. The event organizers have filled the showcases with just about every genre of music including classical music and it’s instrumental offshoots. Three artists under that category performing at this year’s event are:

Cello Fury
Friday February 21, 2014. 7pm Midtown Scholar 1302 N. 3rd St. Harrisburg, PA 17102.
Cello Fury will also perform on Thursday February 20th at the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia.

A cello rock powerhouse featuring three cellists and a drummer, Cello Fury’s original music combines the emotive and symphonic sounds of the cello with driving rock beats to create a cinematic, progressive rock sound.


Eric Loy
Friday February 21, 2014.10pm Suba Tapas Bar 272 North St. Harrisburg, PA 17102

“One word that doesn’t often come to mind is fearless. If there was one word to describe Dayton Ohio’s cult guitar icon Eric Loy, fearless would be that word.”

David Cohen (article author & webmaster)
Friday February 21, 2014 9pm Suba Tapas Bar 272 North St. Harrisburg, PA 17102

Most of the showcases are free and all opened to the public. The ability to create a close collaboration between all stakeholders in an event is extremely difficult. The Millennium Music Conference has successfully accomplished that challenge in the past and will so do again this year bringing tourism revenue to Harrisburg PA along with educational and career opportunities to a wide group of artists. Anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote, “ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” The 18th Annual Millennium Music Conference: 2 days of workshops, mentoring and trade show.  Three nights of live music! Showcase schedules and conference information is available at

Monnette Sudler’s 5Th Annual Guitar Summit

5th Annual Guitar Summit
Saturday February 8, 2014
MONTCO Science Center Theater
340 Dekalb Pike Blue Bell, PA
tickets & info: :  or call 215-641-6518

Every so often I go back to listen to some of the music that has influenced my musical development. There are some things that make me wonder what I found interesting but for the most part my lessons have stood the test of time.

A few years ago I was invited to play my bagpipes at composer Andrea Clearfield’s salon. My mistake was that I didn’t know who else was playing that night. After my set I put my pipes away and went back to the concert and listened to a guitar player that blew me away. I missed the name but after the show introduced myself. I had to find out who she was. When she told me her name I did a double take replying back, “Did you say Monnette Sudler?” the reply, “Yes.”  Now I found myself dressed in my formal kilt uniform speaking with Monnette Sudler an early influence whose guitar playing on the album The Other Side of Gemini had a huge impact on me. Clearly a Philadelphia guitar legend Monnette Sudler has six album to her credit. Growing up listening to Motown and Nat King Cole Sudler tributes her first teacher to introducing her to the music of Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens Paul Simon and Mississippi Reds. Later Monnette was influenced by John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davies to name a few. 

I am reminded of that meeting as Monnette Sudler’s 5th Annual Guitar Summit is coming up on Saturday, February 8, 2014 – 8:00 pm at Montgomery County Community College, Science Center Theater located at 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422. 

In this years Guitar Summit Sudler brings us in addition to her performance:

Tosin Abasi who is best known for playing the 7 and 8 stringed guitar in the instrumental progressive metal band, “Animals as Leaders”, of which he is the founder and lead guitarist. In the early 2000’s before founding “Animals as Leaders” he joined the band Reflux. Tosin utilizes the power of techniques and the endless possibilities of guitar playing in any genre. He is primarily self- taught, but studied jazz and classical guitar at the Atlanta Institute of Music. Through his compositions he hopes to break down the approach to utilizing the 7 and 8 string guitars, in both lead and rhythm work. His solo project “Amimals as Leaders”, on Prosthetic Records, the name is loosely derived from the book of Ishmael. Tosin recorded two albums, his self-titled debut “Animals as Leaders” and “Weightless”.

Hiroya Tsukamoto is a guitarist and songwriter originally from Kyoto, Japan. He began playing banjo when he was thirteen years old. In 2000, he received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and came to the US. Since then, he has been performing internationally including several appearances with his group at Blue Note in New York and released five albums as a leader. His latest album Heartland features a mixture of elements from several genres expressed in Japanese songs and acoustic guitar instrumentals that Hiroya spent years composing.

Mulebone is an American blues based duo of roots music specialist singer/guitarist Hugh Pool and multi-instrumentalist John Ragusa. The combo originally formed in 1996 to play at the Brotherhood of Thieves on Nantucket Island. The group continues to perform, expanding their area of operation and repertoire. They were featured, along with Sweet Honey in the Rock, Maria Muldaur and David Grisman on the award winning Ellipsis Arts compilation album, American Lullaby. Their own album Mulebone, was a collection of traditional’s, and charted in the Top 100 on the “Americana Roots Chart” for National radio airplay, as reported by the Album Network.

Sheryl Bailey is rated among the foremost bop-based guitarists to have emerged from the 90’s. Her attack can be direct and hard swinging, but she also exudes subtlety, elegance of phrase and a pure, warm liquid sound. She was voted a new “Rising Star” by the Downbeat Critics in 2013. As an educator, she has been an Associate Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of Music since 2000, The Collective School of Music in NYC, and has been a clinician for The National Guitar Workshop, The Stanford Jazz Workshop, The Duquesne Guitar Seminar, UARTS in Philadelphia, Southern Cross University in Australia, GIT, and LAMA. Her Mel Bay publication, “Moveable Shapes” is a top seller in their Jazz Curriculum series. Sheryl’s presentation will also feature special guest vocalist Sherry Butler.

monnette_sudler_|_david_cohen_bagpipes_|_guitar   David Cohen     Monnette Sudler
The 5th Annual Guitar Summit is offered in cooperation with Montgomery County Community college. Monnette Sudler’s CD”s are available at

Paco Pena Interview

Originally Published January 2006

Artist web site:

David Cohen: What was the first rhythm you learned?
Paco Pena: The first rhythm was Soleares.

Cohen: Was there ever pressure on you not to play the guitar but do something that would bring money?

Paco: That is a very good question. Well, the thing is, we were nine children in a very poor family and certainly the concern, particularly my mother’s was that everybody had a basic education and be good enough to get a decent job and so on. So I did go to school. I was into that and I eventually got a job in an office to soon, but never the less it was a job. My mother, wisely never objected to me going with other friends She made sure that the friends were good people. I was very young and they wanted me to go with them to play. I always played all day, everyday. She did realize it was a social connection with the world for me. It’s a very good question, I never thought about it. She never did object to me doing it. On the other hand she wanted me to have the skills to do something else, “a proper job”, like a job in an office. I suppose my love for music, for the guitar became strong and I left the job and I just decided to be a guitarist.
Cohen: Did you put pressure on yourself to make money?
Paco: Not to make money but to be able to survive. If you imagine a family of people who do manual work, my mother use to have a store in the market selling vegetables to feed us. She only had my older brother and me and seven girls. It’s a matter of necessity to make sure you are able to look after yourself in some way. It’s not making money as such, but being able to be alright in life. The pressure was never to strong, it was always wishing that I would bealright but never demanding strongly that I take a job.
Cohen: Was there a particular time when you took a deep breath and said, “I’ve made it” and what was the recording that was from that time.
Paco: That’s a good question, I suppose one could look at it and analyze it. It’s difficult, I’venever said “I’ve made it” in that way. There are significant landmarks. I always loved playing with flamenco dancers and flamenco singers, particularly with singers. I was never interested in being a soloist as such, I wanted to be in the background but one day I decided to be asoloist because I needed my life to be more interesting than it was. I don’t mean interesting artistically but more demanding on myself to achieve more, to go much further. So I decided I was going to be a soloist. Example, playing for my debut concert in the Wigmore Hall in London was a magnificent feeling , when the audience reacted to me, God forbid, who am I? When they reacted so nicely, so well to what I had to offer. I think that was a revelation and it was saying I want to do something, I have to continue to work and project this image.  Soon after that I played with Jimi Hendrix at the Royal Festival Hall in London. There were four different guitar acts, but to play with Jimi Hendrix was a fantastic event, really. So you could say those little things make you realize you made something of your life. They are little steps in becoming human, becoming what you are. I’m not one to say, “Oh you’ve made it“. I never felt that way.
Cohen: Where you familiar with Jimi Hendrix?
Paco: Yes of course. Not enough, I was to much into my own thing but I was aware of him as a fantastic artist.
Cohen: Have you ever played an electric guitar?
Paco: Well I tried now and then, it’s to difficult.
Cohen: When are you coming out with your new cd, Requiem for the Earth?
Paco: It’s being done at the moment. I’ve done it live, I have to analyze it and do it in the studio, I want to do it soon.
Cohen: Do you have artistic freedom with your record company?
Paco: Oh yes, I can do what I want.

CohenWas it hard getting Misa Flamenco out?

Paco: Not at all. They were really delighted to get something different out at that time. For me it was a bit of an experiment. I don’t like the word experiment, it was a trip, an adventure to combine two strong musical cultures like classical and flamenco in that way. It fascinated me and when talking to the record company they got excited talking to me because I was excited. So the same applies to the Requiem. It’s a very intense work, but it has a commenton what is happening to the Earth in a negative sense but it also has a positive theme like looking to the future and calling to our awareness so that we may learn to protect the future for our children.
Cohen: How much time do you spend practicing?
Paco: Really quit a lot, particularly if I have my responsibilities. If I have to do things then I need to practice. I suppose when I was younger I practiced more.
Cohen: Do you have a favorite rhythm?
Paco:  I guess it is still Soleares, the rhythm is fascinating. You drift into it. It’s wonderful, expressive, not difficult but demanding in wanting to get right into it and do more with it.

Cohen: It there one you think is difficult?

Paco: Well yes, in flamenco there are rhythms that have great complexity and you always try to find new bits of expression within them. The Buleria for example is so exciting and fast. Each rhythm has a moment. Sometimes you feel you’re doing something and everything happens right and sometimes you don’t.
Cohen: I remember driving to Connecticut to see you and then the next tour a club in New York, then Town Hall a few times and then Carnegie Hall. This is your first time in Philadelphia and there is another city you are playing in for the first time. Do you feel like you are conquering the United States?
Paco: No, its not a matter of conquering. I do what I do, it is what I believe. Therefore any people who feel that they want to experience it, I am delighted to go there and take the challenge and convince them. It’s not a matter of conquering. I’m connected to this tradition. I love it, so I do it with love not aggression.