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Eduardo Niebla – A Genius In Scarborough
Andrew Liddle, Features Writer
Eduardo Niebla
If passion is the genesis of genius, as Galileo said, then Eduardo Niebla must be a very passionate man – because we recognise his genius the moment he takes up the Spanish guitar and fires off the first salvo. All his compositions are full of passion and live and breathe the very soul of Spain, from the ferias of Seville to the bull-runs of Arcos. Although they might start quietly, it is a matter of time before they ascend to verbal pyrotechnics.

Actually, he was born in Morocco, the seventh of eleven children, but moved to Andalucia at an early age and started to hear the sound of Flamenco. At some stage he must have become a tocaore, a player, someone who had the toque, the touch.

On stage, he sits cross-legged legs as Flamenco guitarists do, head down, totally immersed in his music, extemporising around his own compositions, obviously a virtuosic master of the tremolo, golpe (the percussive knocking on the body of the guitar) and rasgueado (strumming) traditional techniques, most of which seem to the layman to come from the wrist – and produce music from the heart and soul At times, he plays so rapidly the picados, the runs up and down the frets, his hands are a mere blur.

The romance languages have beautiful words for beautiful things. The Spanish have a concept unknown to us – duende. It doesn’t adequately translate into English. ‘Soulful emotion’ stops short of a definition. You’d have to add in longing, nostalgia, personal loss and other deeply felt emotions. The existence of the word is justification in itself for learning the Spanish language. In Flamenco music the word is reserved for the very best players, those who exude the spirit of genius, the powerful force that conquers the audience, the way a bull-fighter might subdue a bull. Eduardo exudes that force. We feel it. We touch it. He gives it to his audience and didn’t they know it. The applause for him at every opportunity was thunderous.

I would have dearly loved to have seen and heard the great Sabicas, who to Flamenco guitar was probably what Louis Armstrong was to Jazz , Mahalia Jackson to Gospel, Carlos Gardel to Tango, Amalia Rodrigues to Fado. I would have given a year’s salary to see and hear Paco De Lucia. Alas they are before my time, before I discovered arguably the most exciting of all musical genres, but I felt as I sat in the SJT I was in their company listening to the greatest possible exponent of their music, taking it on in his own idiom.

Accompanied expertly by Matthew Robinson on guitar and Dharmesh Parmar, on tabla, Eduardo played a dozen of his compositions, taken from different stages of his career. I loved them all, particularly the Flamenco waltz, Rosie, and the mesmerising Bluebells Garden, if I had to pick out only two.

He comes to Ripon in September and Helmsley in February, on his nationwide tour. I hope to review him again … and again.

The Eduardo Niebla Experience was at the SJT, Scarborough, on 8th June.

Also by Andrew Liddle...
Birdsong At York Theatre Royal
Prince Henry's - A School At War By Graham Shutt
Birdsong In York
Two Puccini Operas On One Balmy Night In York
The Marriage Of Figaro Comes To York


Eduardo Niebla – A Genius In Scarborough, 9th June 2018, 16:53 PM