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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Time Travel, The Cycle of Life and Guitar Festivals

One week of concerts brings them all together

This afternoon I travel by train to Chichester from London. Not far from Chichester is The West Dean Estate, one of the most beautiful locations in England. I will play there this evening. The Sussex Downs and its rolling hills stretch out in front of the magnificent stately home, now endowed to the nation and dedicated to the pursuit of Arts and Crafts. It is also the home of UK Guitar Festival which takes it over every year at this time.

On Monday I continue to Taormina in Sicily. Here there is a medieval town built high up on the hill. As you look down from various vantage points you see the Mediterranean sea lapping against the sheer rocks, a spectacular sight, cherished by the great Italian actors of the 1950’s including Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren who made it their summer retreat and holiday spot. I will play there on Tuesday.

On Thursday I continue to Derry in Ireland. The City walls and the black and white paintings along the sides of the brick houses are alone worth a visit. Here too I will be playing, on Saturday night.

I have played in each of these places very frequently. In West Dean I first taught and played in the 1980’s before the start of the festival. I have visited Taormina and Derry every year for some considerable time. Revisiting festivals is a way of meeting up with old friends and making new ones. The passage of time, even one year, reveals small but significant changes, some for the better too! Seeing and meeting new guitar lovers of a much younger generation is very encouraging and inspiring.

But there s a longer time cycle of which I am aware. It extends back 50, 100, 500 and millions of years. Take the The West Dean Estate: it was owned by Edward James who befriended artists including Salvador Dali more than 60 years ago. He designed and created a sofa in the shape of Mae West’s lips. It is still there to view in the house. Outside the Sussex Downs have been there for millions of years, gradually taking their present form with human landscaping. Then there is Taormina. A perfectly preserved medieval town takes me back 600 years, and the rocks below millions of years. The sea has lapped against the rocks for tens of thousands of years. I imagine once the sea and ice covered the entire area, then as they gradually retreated rocks and precipices were created a few centimetres per year. Derry too has a past. Some of it is better forgotten, although impossible to do so. The past is all around : in the medieval walls, in the paintings, in the conversations of the people. History has marked it, and made it all the wiser. History - recent, ancient, and pre-human – is everywhere to see, to hear, and to learn. It moves in different cycles, from the yearly to the unimaginably long.

How does that awareness affect my concerts this week? I don’t know! But I will tell you one thing: making the odd slip here and there no longer means the end of the world. The world started thousands of millions years ago and will continue for some considerable time longer after my guitar has stopped resonating.

Meanwhile I will do my best to enjoy every moment of the present.

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Taromina, Sicily:


Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=677 .
© 2019.

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