Mumbai gigs: Guitarist Matt Bacon to perform in BKC
Attend a gig by one of the leading tutors at AR Rahman's music school who's here to share some guitar chops
It was fate that brought classical guitarist Matt Bacon to India. Such that he describes his move and the appointment as a teacher at AR Rahman's KM Music Conservatory in Chennai as a 'total freak accident', when we speak to him before his upcoming gig at a BKC venue. "My resume got forwarded around from a job in California, that my now-coworker Adam Grieg ended up seeing. We had a Skype call where I spoke about how I didn't exactly want to come to India, but ended up hopping on a plane bound for Chennai a week later. I've loved it since the moment I got off that flight, and into my first autorickshaw ride. Bit ironic, how that worked out," says Bacon.
Having spent four years in India now, Bacon, who grew up listening to his father play Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix and picked up the instrument at the age of eight, has worked with AR Rahman on movies and projects. In fact, he has just wrapped up filming for a Netflix show at the conservatory. "AR Rahman is a guy who just doesn't stop working — he lives, eats and breathes music, and is constantly travelling. He's inspiring," says Bacon.
Since his move, he's found the Indian music scene phenomenally busier than the US — especially for a classical musician. "The repertoire American and European audiences may be familiar with, isn't too well known here. So, it feels like I'm hearing it for the first time again as I'm playing, and I learn new things from the audience. It feels like having a new set of ears," compares the musician, whose first guitar was an Olympic white Strat — reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix's guitar.
And Bacon as a teacher is as strict as he is meticulous, it seems. "No one is allowed to play anything beyond Mary had a Little Lamb till they've done the adequate technical and theory work. Once the drive is there, there is much scope to do a variety of music at the school," says the teacher who feels that the popularity of Spanish classical guitar is increasing as students realise the benefits of the technique involved in it.
The sounds and flavours of India have also made their way into Bacon's original works, evident from his recent album release — The Crossover — which comprises songs that reflect his time in India. He has played most of the instruments except the violin and the last track is an instrumental called Masala Blues, loosely based on a raag and rhythm he heard somewhere in India. He will be playing some flamenco-influenced classics like Leyenda, lyrical and romantic Spanish guitar solos and a few Latin American tangos during his gig in the city.
On January 5, 10 pm to 1 am
At Uno Mas, Inspire number 2, BKC.
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