Originally published at The Whole U Posted on May 18, 2018 by Matthew Leib.
A few minutes into my conversation with Ricardo Garcia and it’s clear he prefers to let his guitar do most of the talking.
Perched on a chair in an office in the Music Building, he plucks out series after series of palos, the stylistic and geographic variations of his chosen art form—flamenco, which, like Garcia, can trace its origins to southern Spain and has carried across oceans to find fans at all corners of the world.
It’s May 3, a Thursday—the last day of Garcia’s term as Ethnomusicology visiting artist at the University of Washington. When Garcia does speak in between riffs on a guitar that looks how you’d imagine a guitar might look if it had traveled four continents, it’s not about himself or his music, but the nine UW students he’s been training daily for the past three weeks. In a few hours he’ll cap his residency by taking the Brechemin Auditorium stage for a special performance alongside them. Before commencing lessons with Garcia, six of the nine had never picked up a guitar.