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Kiwi Classics

Master Emmanuel: A nexus of guitar talent and musical energy
Recommended While Reading: Tommy Emmanuel’s rendition of Classical Gas

There is a quote, often attributed to Beethoven, which the goes something like “the guitar is a miniature orchestra in itself”; nobody proves this to be more true (IMO) than the virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel. Born and raised in Australia, it is said (in internet bios) that his mother began teaching him at the age of four while he was sitting in her lap.

He has visited Kansas on numerous occasions: he was once a regular at the ‘Walnut Valley Blue Grass Festival’ in Winfield Kansas – this was my first encounter with the master guitarist – And years later I was lucky enough to see him at the Orpheum Theatre in Wichita Kansas; my point being that despite his renown, he is no stranger to homely or sometimes quaint venues. Considered one of the best’ finger picking guitarists in the world, Tommy has played on every continent (sans Antarctica) and is currently ‘touring strong’; unfortunately, after touring in Russian, Italy, France, and of course Australia, the closest he will get to Kansas in the near future is Denver Colorado (Feb 6, 2014).

Some of his best performances are live ones, where he often improvises and meshes multiple songs together –For instance, try searching ‘ Tommy Emmanuel – Medley Improvisation (RARE)’ and bare witness the to the simple joy and love of music he exudes while playing. At another concert he was recorded playing two songs at the same time on the guitar, sound gimmicky – Well, take a 1-minute-listen, a cheap price for a wonderful experience: Search for ‘Tommy Emmanuel –2 songs at the same time’ – it will give you a feel for his happy, easy-going stage personality.

And lastly, to round out this blog with two final examples of the Virtuoso’s guitar style, I present Tommy Emmanuel’s ‘Guitar Boogie’ where he takes a simple song, winds it up and demonstrates the orchestral quality of the guitar. By now, you’ve probably noticed the light patches on his guitars, those are from percussionistic-utilizations (scratches, taps, beats, and flicks on the guitar). And finally, I present a song that he wrote for his daughter, a peaceful track to leave you with, entitled ‘Angelina’.

Still not impressed with his speed? Search for this: ‘Tommy Emmanuel Showing Off”


Written by DJ Marsupial. Tune into Kiwi Classics every Thursday from 6-7pm on 90.7fm KJHK.