The Flamenco guitarist Ronald Radford performed for an older audience on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at TU’s School of Music. Growing up in Tulsa as a child, he didn’t have any experience with Spanish music, especially Flamenco, until his mother brought home a vinyl record of the great guitarist Carlos Montoya. He was in love with the instrument and style of music from that moment on and has devoted much of his life to the art form.
Radford’s performance was more than just a concert, including voice and storytelling spun from the heartland of Spain. It was like being at home listening to your grandpa tell a story you’d heard a thousand times before, but never grew tired of listening to.
You could feel the weight of his old fingers on each string and for a moment it felt like the room was filled with a vagabond spirit. Some rhythms he tapped on his guitar, and the reverberations were like hearty laughter. His encouragement for everyone to say “ole” while he played made the performance feel less stuffy and official.
The program detailed his eclectic performance, down to even the mood and backstory of each piece, but there was no formality to his storytelling and guitar playing; the concert was completely spontaneous and organic.
This American and Spanish connoisseur also gave inspirational advice on the way to live life as if each moment is the only one you have. Radford claimed that “the heart includes the mind, but the mind doesn’t always include the heart” and “an artist is a mirror.”
The whole atmosphere was that of a revival, a spiritual awakening, for the love of music.
With his one guitar, Radford created an entire processional march, sang about being under the moonlight more times than I can remember, gave a condensed autobiography, translated a lamenting poem from Spanish to English and received three separate standing ovations.