I’m super excited to finally announce my new book, website and iPhone app, all called Flamenco Explained. This project has been a labor of love as I’ve looked for ways to share my 30 years of experience playing flamenco with students at all stages in their flamenco careers.
I’ve had some amazing experiences as a flamenco student and as a player, and though it’s easier than ever to find resources on flamenco, I still see every day how hard it can be to learn this amazing art without a lot of good guidance. So my hope is that Flamenco Explained will become an online community and that I’ll meet many of you, at least virtually, along the way.
The book wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my good friend Dr. Scott Wolf. Scott was the one who convinced me that the way I teach is a little different and helps students understand compás and the inner workings of flamenco better. He was also the one who came up with great ways to notate flamenco and to show how to build a compás – i.e. how to illustrate my whole thing about flamenco being modular.
Because flamenco has always been taught by rote – you sit with your teacher and they show you what and how to play – I was concerned about writing another flamenco method that doesn’t get at the good stuff we pick up in our lessons. Scott helped me find a way that I think fills in a lot of the gaps that I find in so many flamenco methods, and really breaks down how flamenco works. At least that’s the hope and my intention.
Writing the book made me realize that there was tons more that I wanted to share. So my partner Tara Stewart (who has shot end edited hundreds of guitars videos, first with three years at Fender and then for Guitar Salon, Cordoba, Guild and as a freelancer, and who designed this website) and I set out to design a website where we could share concepts that go beyond the scope of the book, as well as illustrate all of the concepts and material from the book. This led to FlamencoExplained.com. And in order to make it easier for folks to take their lessons with them we decided to make an iPhone app, too (if all goes well we’ll have an Android app in the not-too-distant future).
The goal of Flamenco Explained is to not only show how to play flamenco, but to really get into how it all works. It’s one thing to learn a solo flamenco guitar piece, but it’s another thing altogether to show how we improvise, how we accompany, and generally how we know where we are and what comes next when playing with other musicians, dancers and singers. This is information that is generally acquired over years of playing – first solo guitar, then maybe in dance classes and eventually with dancers, singers and other guitarists – and I do my best to share what I’ve learned over the past 30 years doing just this.
If you click over to FlamencoExplained.com you’ll find info on the book and you’ll also find a ton of free videos plus a subscription site that has even more great videos on everything from flamenco guitar technique to lessons on full pieces, compás, flamenco basics and even on playing with others. And we add new content all the time. The app is a free download, and if you subscribe you’ll have access to all of the videos on the site. And if you’d rather not subscribe you’ll still have access to the Video Glossary and all of the free videos.
The Video Glossary is where you can see really short videos that illustrate important flamenco terms, and we intend to continue growing the glossary until it’s as comprehensive as possible. There are palmas lessons. There are short introductions to the various Palos, as well as full tutorials and solo pieces for many of the Palos, and we’ll be growing this section all the time. There are also technique lessons and workouts, as well as compás lessons (arguably the most important part of the site!).
As I said at the top, the goal is to create an online community of flamenco performers and aficionados, so I hope you’ll check it out and let me know how we can make it better for you!