Talking flamenco: ‘It was so earthy… intricate but wild’

Flamenco guitar guru Damian Wright remembers sitting at home each day as a child with his sister, watching his father play piano.

Damian Wright brings his ARIA nominated guitar work to Bega’s Funhouse Studio on Saturday, September 16.from 7.30pm. Picture: Supplied

Damian Wright brings his ARIA nominated guitar work to Bega’s Funhouse Studio on Saturday, September 16.from 7.30pm. Picture: Supplied

“Dad would play vinyl records and try to work parts out on the piano,” Wright said.

‘He was the reason I got into flamenco guitar, he had everything from African and Indian, to jazz, classical and a whole bunch of 60s, 70s rock, like Peter Gabriel.”

I saw there were 10-year-old kids outplaying me, so I thought I could either curl up in a ball and cry, or learn.

Guitarist Damian Wright

Growing up in suburban Newcastle, it was Peter Gabriel’s Real World record label which gave Wright access to music from across the globe, before the internet reduced the geographical boundaries of art.

At the age of six his aunty bought him a nylon string guitar, and he’s never let go.

“I had classes at school with an old hippy lady who was a terrible teacher, but the only one around,” Wright said with a laugh.

“My parents took me to see a concert at the opera house celebrating gypsies from around the world, and I’d never heard anything like it before.

“It was so earthy… intricate but wild.”

Within a year of leaving high school Wright had moved to Spain, and was humbled by what he saw.

“I saw there were 10-year-old kids outplaying me, so I thought I could either curl up in a ball and cry, or learn,” he said.

Fresh from the Sydney Guitar Festival, the ARIA nominated guitarist explains the two ways he performs the art and culture of flamenco.

“These days you do have an element of the solo performance, which is what I do now, whereas when you’re performing with dancers the guitar is the accompaniment,” Wright said.

Mastering the art of flamenco requires a combination of dedication and passion, and the ability to improvise within boundaries.

“It is a real culture  and a language, which is why going to Spain is so important,” Wright said.

Wright brings his ARIA nominated guitar work to Bega’s Funhouse Studio on Saturday, September 16.from 7.30pm.

Tickets for adults are $25, Adult $25, Funhouse Studio members and concession holders $20, and children under 16 are free.