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Kiwi Conquistador Wins Acclaim in Spain
When New Zealander Paul Bosauder first heard flamenco he knew he was hooked: “For me, it was love at first hearing” he explains. But loving this exciting, highly complex Spanish music is one thing. For a Kiwi to win acceptance among the ranks of professional flamenco artists, is quite another.
Yet not only is this Kiwi guitarist conquering Spanish audiences, he is now releasing his own album and undertaking a Pacific Tour in early 2018.
Flamenco is a music of song, dance and guitar with its roots buried deeply in ancient Spanish culture. It’s about as Spanish as being Spanish gets, creating enormous hurdles for foreign students.
It’s been a long road. For the past ten years Paul Bosauder has studied worked and created with Spain’s elite flamenco artists, receiving the Matricula d’Honor from the School of Music in Cataluna (Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya ESMUC). “I came to understand how the guitar, song and dance of flamenco are so interrelated.”
And that is where Paul met his true test: To understand how challenging the flamenco guitarist’s role can be, think 3D chess. Carried away by a performing frenzy, the dancer and the singer can suddenly break off in a new direction. The guitarist has to follow the dancer’s beat and the singer’s improvisation while improvising as well. Miss a chord change, drop a beat, and an audience of aficionados can politely drop you too.
Yet it is the thrill of that spontaneity which drew Paul deeper into the music, not just as an accompanist, but as a soloist. “The moments I get to express my own feelings and thoughts through solo guitar work are pure magic for me.”
Paul Bosauder’s emergence on Spanish stages as a soloist has allowed him to push the boundaries even further. This New Zealander captures the essence of traditional flamenco, combing it with innovative new elements to create a truly moving and emotive performance. Each note, crafted and formed with flamenco emotion, recreates Spanish landscapes through sound (paisajes sonoros). “Paul plays with dedicated conviction and passion and delivers beauty and fire,” says acclaimed jazz musician and fellow Kiwi Jonathan Crayford. Spanish Flamenco guitarist and producer Albero Lopez adds: “Paul is a sensitive and emotive performer with a deep understanding of flamenco music. His compositions are original and full of personality but still respectful to the traditions and building blocks of true flamenco music,”
Paul is returning home in January 2018 to present his personal flamenco project and introduce New Zealand to his début flamenco album. He last played here in 2016 at the Circa Theatre, Wellington; Q Theatre Auckland and Splore music festival. International performances include the V Festival of Concert Guitar in Barcelona; the JazzSi Club; Fringe Festival Torroella de Montgrí, Palau Robert, El Auditori, Auditori AXA, Auditori Sant Marti, Los Tarantos (all in Barcelona), Orillas de Triana; Caja Negra (Sevilla) and the Saint-Georges 8ª Guitar festival (Belgium) and WOMAD, NZ.
“During my first trip to Spain in early 2005, I met a young Spanish guitarist who was studying flamenco at a Conservatory in Barcelona and offered to put me in touch with the maestro from there. They sponsored me with a student visa so I could attend classes. Once I arrived, I began to travel all over Spain, studying with different teachers and learning as much as I could about flamenco song, dance and guitar.
Not more than nine months after my arrival I was asked to perform at the Feria in Barcelona, accompanying dancers from the local dance school. Shortly afterwards, I was performing up to 5 times a week in different flamenco clubs and bars.”
“In my family, music is all around; everyone plays an instrument and the guitar was everywhere. I had played in bands around Auckland since I was 14, but then I decided to explore my Lebanese roots and moved to Beirut in 2004.” Here he played guitar and sang for a show produced by a famous Lebanese musician and producer, Michel Elefteriades: “It was an amazing fusion of musicians from all over world, including Cuba, Romania, Spain, New Zealand (me) and Lebanon. There I met Jose Fernandez, an amazing flamenco guitar player: Backstage, listening to his playing I grew mesmerised by the rhythm, the sound and the flamenco folk song, or cante.”
A few months later Paul travelled to Spain, bought a cheap flamenco guitar, a book, and his journey began. “I started my formal studies in 2007 and graduated from Spain´s top flamenco Conservatory with Matricula de Honour in 2016. (Good things take time!)” he laughs.
“In 2010 I met Rafael Cañizares and that changed everything for me: He opened my ears and heart and encouraged me to concentrate on my technique and compose my own music. I found myself starting a journey resulting in the recording of my first solo flamenco guitar album.”
While the Spanish flamenco scene has many many levels, Paul believes he is well accepted and appreciated by many flamenco professionals, including some of Spain’s top flamenco guitar players: “Flamenco is a language and music that developed in communities… el pueblo, just like blues and jazz. If you know how to play, to accompany dance and song then they will accept you, even admire you. There is huge range of styles and tastes within Spain, but flamenco is a live music where young people strive to play, sing and dance the best they possibly can.”