Marc Ribot arrived on stage with his Gibson guitar, sat down, and put his left foot on a shiny black guitar case. Then, head bent toward the strings, he began the flow of music.
The gifted American guitarist and composer played at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on June 24.
Seemingly shy, this somewhat vulnerable guitarist has taken what he learned from his Haitian professor of classical guitar and turned it into a new art form, somewhere between an extension of folk music and classicism with a modern touch.
John Garratt and Will Layman in PopMatters describe Ribot’s playing as “solo guitar at its finest.” Britain’s The Guardian called him “the quintessential downtown guitarist, a character actor sessioneer with an unmistakable sound.”
Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1945, Ribot’s 30-year career has produced a list of unique albums including one dedicated to his Haitian professor, Frantz Cassseus, who played at Carnegie hall in 1956. He is known as the Father of Haitian classical guitar.
Through Ribot’s initiative, a non-profit program for young guitarists in Port-au-Prince, the Frantz Casseus Young Guitarists Program, began in Haiti this year in memory of Casseus. The aim is to preserve the professor’s musical heritage as linked to the Haitian classical guitar.
Ribot has released some outstanding CDs, including Marc Ribot -- Plays the Works of Frantz Casseus; Marc Ribot: Silver Movies; Marc Ribot: Ceramic Dog, and Marc Ribot: Los Cubanos Postizos.
The Genius of Andres Segovia
Andres Segovia, one of the greatest Spanish concert virtuosos, made his debut at the age of 16 in 1909. He is widely considered to be one of the best-known and most influential classical guitar personalities of the 20th century.
He created music especially for classical guitar, which eventually led to the guitar playing a major role in the development of modern music.
A pupil of Francisco Tarrega (1852 to 1909), recognized as one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Segovia adapted the instrument to enable him to play complex compositions by serious composers.
Segovia plucked the strings with a combination of his fingernails and fingertips to produce a sharper sound, a technique that is now used by the vast majority of classical guitarists.
Susan Hallett is an award-winning writer and editor who has written for The Beaver, The Globe & Mail, Wine Tidings and Doctor’s Review among many others. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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