Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, Thu Jul 17
The Adelaide International Guitar Festival kicks off with an evening brim-full of sumptuous Spanish flavour. The packed house eagerly greets local ensemble Flamenco Areti; the swirling skirts of the five dancers are set in motion by guitarists Kieren Ray and Werner Neumann. Passionate vocals from Antonio Soria are at the forefront, spiriting the audience away to the exotic warmth of the Iberian Peninsula. The music is augmented by the clapping and vocal encouragement of other members of the troupe and, on occasion, members of the audience. It is a wonderfully evocative way to begin proceedings.
José Antonio Rodríguez, accompanied by his two confederates, takes the stage after the interval and sets about his night’s work with aplomb. His guitar is supported by a second guitar and an impressive array of hand-played percussion. Rodríguez’ beautiful playing is matched by his passion for his instrument. His understated but meaningful movements and expressions make it clear that he is totally immersed in his music – every chord, every note, counts. The audience, too, is in the thrall of what is being offered.
The affable Rodríguez, despite (by his own admission) not speaking much English, introduces his band members before reverting to his native tongue and proceeding to describe his works. Members of the audience possessing a similar linguistic talent enjoy his stories. Tomas Arroquero, the solo male dancer from Flamenco Areti, joins the trio to add some visual joy, and something of a climax, to the show. The time passes quickly and the performance draws to a close all too soon.
As an encore, all three members of the trio crowd Rodríguez’ guitar, and use six hands to provide two guitar parts and percussion on the one instrument. This is part novelty, but it speaks to the assured proficiency of the José Antonio Rodríguez Trio.
by David Robinson