Guitar virtuoso flies into SJT

Words and photos by Dave Barry

Born in Morocco, raised in Spain and now living in North Yorkshire and playing all over the world - including Scarborough.

Guitar virtuoso Eduardo Niebla returned to the Stephen Joseph Theatre with fellow guitarist Matthew Robinson and tabla player Dharmesh Parmar.

The lightning-fingered trio enthralled a large audience in the round with two sets of exhilarating flamenco / jazz fusion.

Perhaps the most sustained applause came at the end after the two guitarists used their instruments as beatboxes to build to a thunderous crescendo.

It was easy to see why Niebla has been chosen for collaborations with George Michael, Craig David and an eclectic mix of artists on the international stage including Indian sitar virtuoso Nishat Khan, jazz saxophonist Lol Coxhill, Palestinian oud player Adel Salameh, the Dante string quartet and gypsies from the desert of Rajasthan.

The concert featured 12 compositions from Eduardo’s 40-year repertoire. 

This programme was a snapshot of his international life; a passionate journey from his early years in Morocco to his impoverished flamenco roots in Spain and his discovery of jazz and the freedom of improvisation.

Pieces such as Calle de la Tiña vividly evoked the life in Albaicín Granada, Rosie the influence of Arabic culture, while My Gypsy Waltz is a virtuosic dedication to gypsy styles of playing around the world.

India and the raga Bluebells Garden are directly inspired by Niebla’s tours there and his Django Reinhardt inspired number I Can Fly Now says it all.

It is this mastery of the guitar and its many disciplines that has enabled Niebla to fly, musically speaking, creating a highly lyrical and virtuosic style of playing.