Widening classical horizon

KATHMANDU: Pratham Pokharel went onstage and played a Flamenco piece, softly. On his left was classical guitarist Brendan Evans, who listened to him play. After a minute of his playing, Evans asked him, “Tell me what do you find difficult?”

He answered it was in Flamenco strumming and fingering.

“The thing you need to work on most is about making a bigger sound,” Evans advised him. In the next few minutes, the guitarist pointed out where he lacked in that piece and gave him several strumming and fingering exercises for him to follow and play. And the 13-year-old aspiring classical guitarist repeated after him producing a louder sound.

From notes to placing the fingers to how to strum, Evans gave guitar lessons onstage. He told him, “Even though you can play fast, speed is not the goal. You can go slower and this is a principle of practising. If you practise slowly, your hands will know it.”

It was a one-on-one master class by Evans on September 18 at Hotel Yak & Yeti at the five-day Gharana Music Festival 2016, which started on September 14. Pokharel had joined the class to “know more about classical guitar” and he “got to know about the techniques of Flamenco music”.

There were other master classes during the festival on piano, cello and violin.

Another classical guitar enthusiast Ravindra was one of its participants. Twenty-eight-year-old Ravindra attended two other master classes — of Rupert Boyd and Paul Cesarczyk where he learnt the techniques to strengthen his playing and the basics of classical guitar.

“Master class is where you get to polish what you already know. You lack in certain technical aspects and skills and master classes tell you how to master those helping an artiste to produce good sound and be comfortable to perform.”

For him, it was “helpful and fruitful”. He added, “I got to perform in front of audience during master class which is a prerequisite for me to perform any concert. It would be helpful for me. Secondly, we got to know about the vision of the top guitarists of the world and how they are good and got better.”

These artistes not only catered their knowledge in the festival but also showcased their talent. Performing artistes also included international and international artistes like violinist Rebecca Jackson, cellist Laura Metcalf, Night and KANTA dAb dAb among others. And the festival witnessed classical music, Nepali music and amazing collaborations.