The amount of knowledge that I have regarding flamenco music can fit on the back of a very small postage stamp. Yet when I found myself in Corsica and heard that there would be a little music festival in the picturesque cliffside town of Patrimonio, I couldn’t help but purchase some tickets, despite having never heard of Luis Salinas and Tomatito.
Unbeknownst to me, they just so happened to be two of the world’s most celebrated flamenco guitarists. Sitting there and listening to their genius it was easy to see why. Luis started off the show. He came out to tumultuous applause, whoops and cheers. Clad in a simple black T and matching jacket, he sat down, took a classical guitar and started playing one of the most complicated and bewildering pieces of music my ears have ever heard.
Being a flamenco novice, it took me a while to really appreciate what a sensational art form it is. The skill needed to perform such music is mind-blowing and it took my ears a while to adapt to the sheer onslaught of notes used in the spanish folk music. Yet Luis Salinas had a little trick up his sleeve. I had no idea that he was actually a maestro of latin jazz fusion – not only that – he also enjoys playing rock music. It was the first time I had ever seen an individual play such a wide range of music, and he played each style as well as the next. The combination of traditional flamenco, jazz and shredding guitar solos was really something to behold. His facial expressions were also ‘something to behold’, reminiscent of Jack Black in School of Rock.
Unfortunately his set had to come to an end, but not without an encore and playing a number of songs with one of his young prodigies. However our disappointment was not long lived. After a short interlude, Tomatito, who belongs to the elite of flamenco guitarists, and his band strolled onstage. They took to their seats and started to pluck, pick and do marvelous things with nylon strings. If all of this wasn’t enough, Luis Salinas came on stage to join the flamenco maestro and I was treated to an awe-inspiring display of guitar playing.
The passion, the feel for the guitars, the love of their craft and their respect for one another’s work could be felt oozing from the stage in waves. When it comes to Luis Salinas and Tomatito there’s no doubting their legendary statues amongst the world of guitarists.