Had my first lesson with Pedro Sierra today. Maestro of the highest level. Another game changer. Flamenco is a never ending journey. I will forever be a student of this beautiful art. It's hard to describe how amazing it is to be an American flamenco guitarist in Sevilla sometimes, but I'll try to give the perspective of my first trip many years ago as I captured a touch of that joy again on this trip.
Imagine you've dedicated your life to rock/blues/metal in the 80's and you grew up in let's say, Russia. You've heard the music that is your passion for years, but never really seen it in it's natural environment, and it has yet to become widely available on the internet, so you have a limited amount of records. Youtube does not exist yet. A good group only comes once every two years to your hometown if you are lucky. You save for a couple years and fly to LA to finally see the real thing, study and soak in the roots for 5 months.
First you are surprised how friendly people are, and how open they are to share their way of life with you. You end up jamming night after night playing the classics, sometimes till the sun comes up. There are pros that are glad to give you constructive criticism and give you props when you get it right. The Moroccan hash flows freely and contributes to the general good mood of all attending.
Kids on the street can play Hendrix better than you. The food, drinks and clothes are half the price and of higher quality. Rent is half as well. No need for a car whatsoever, and it's absolutely normal to have your first ice cold beer at noon or whenever the fuck you feel like it, because most folks know how to drink without getting completely wasted.
You can walk into a neighborhood bar, and on any given night you could run into Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana or any American guitar hero you can imagine. They're usually down to have a beer with a stranger and talk rock and roll. They don't give a shit if your English sucks as long as you try and have listening skills, and your new friends give you plenty of time to catch up. These famous guitarists might have a big concert that week, but you also might see them in an intimate bar or rock venue for $10. Some of the artists go to bars after their concerts and play for fun as well. That might be when the real magic happens.
Imagine you can approach most of them, and get a lesson for a great price and decide who is the best fit for you. I always say why would you learn from an asshole if there are twice as many master players that are super cool? There are no secrets or mysteries that cannot be unfolded for you. They will show you anything they know, because they have already arrived. It's all a matter of how hard you work, and how strong your desire is to get better.
This is not a total exaggeration. At times, Sevilla can be a wonderland for an ambitious flamenco artist. If you want the real deal, you gotta go to the source. You'd be crazy not to.
Abrazos desde la tierra flamenca, Eric