Mateo's Blog

The BOOK is finished and printed! (It’s even available!)

Love, Magic and the Guita by Scott Mateo DaviesYes. That's the big news, I guess. After 2 years, it's hard to believe but this project has finally come to fruition. I'm really very happy with the way it turned out. I had an insane amount of help from my dear friend, Janice Jahn, who typed, edited, proofed and did a million other things for me. So, for now at least, the book will be available through this website. Eventually, I'll get it out on e-book and Kindle and Nook etc, but for the moment, only hard copies are available. Purchase Here Oh yes----the BOOK is called "Love, Magic and the Guitar." It consists of 4 books, really. Book One is The Intrepid Guitar. In conjunction with that, I've created a YouTube channel of the same name. Thus my new passion/obsession: making videos, trying to create meaningful and compelling content. Also, trying to get views, followers, subscribers, all that. Book Two is The Book of Strategies and is probably as close to a "manual" as I will get. Strategies for practice and performance, memorization, improvisation, making money in music and so on. Book Three is Love Magick and the Guitar. Mostly, it is written in 3rd person, about a guy uncannily like me, named Matias. The book is a way to pay homage to and tribute the many great people who have helped me and influenced me in my 5 decade-long career. Book Four is The Blog Book, Glossary and Graphics. Selected blog entries from these very pages. I started writing my blog in 2007 and, although I haven't been terribly consistent in keeping it up, it does have items of interest. Then I put just a few musical studies and charts plus a long list of my favorite players. In all, the book is 214 pages of text. Considerable but not overwhelming. A pretty quick read, really. It has been a remarkable experience for me, an experience that has tied my life together in so many ways. It makes one realize the connectedness of their life and how, truly, "the child is the father to the man." I think Emerson wrote that, if I remember correctly. It has also helped me understand and solidify "my message." More about this in subsequent posts.
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ZOOM Classes During Trying Times….

I am back in Minneapolis MN after grabbing a last-minute flight out of Madrid. O'Hare airport was-----harrowing, to say the least. We are all attempting to deal with this very difficult time. At the very least, it is an EXCELLENT time to stay at home, set up a regular practice schedule and Play alot of Guitar!! I think it is important to keep your spirits (relatively) high, stay cheerful, take care of your personal appearance and maintain some type of routine. I'm starting to do alot of teaching and I'm having good luck with ZOOM. Normally, my teaching is pretty limited to around 8 students of flamenco guitar. But, since I'm not doing any live shows---I'm expanding the teaching segment. Flamenco technique, right and left hand, flamenco pieces and variations, rhythms and compas----yes, all of this. Also, particularly since working on my book, I've gotten off into strategies for effective practice, for effective use of time, for motivating oneself. Also, dealing with injuries and nail issues. Improvisational strategies are a great favorite. Argentine Tango has become a specialty of mine and I can offer a good deal of help with that. Gypsy jazz is a new passion---my right hand picking is pretty damn good (surprise!) probably from those many years of playing rock and pop. I've even got my '68 Les Paul Custom tuned up and in service. And oud, too. It's all music and it's all exciting, inspirational, and fun! So, I'm charging $30 for an hour class, payable to my Paypal account. Schedule at one's convenience. After all, we have time! And, I really love having contact with other musicians now that I'm not hanging out and jamming/performing with them as I have pretty much always done. Facebook me or [email protected]
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Me Quedo en Casa!

That's the Spanish equivalent of "shelter in place." It seems to be the most effective means of checking the spread of this dreadful and fearsomely deadly virus. Here in Madrid, just this morning the government put in place another order to stay inside for the next 15 days, at least. Spain had a very bad day yesterday: 3076 new cases and 372 new deaths bringing their totals to 28,572 cases and 1753 total deaths. So, it is VERY REAL here, don't doubt it. And despite what one may be hearing from the US government, it will likely far surpass Spain's suffering or even Italy's, who are incredibly hard-hit. I grieve for the Iranians who, despite having very high numbers of cases and deaths, are reeling under draconian sanctions imposed and even ratched-up by the US government. What is the most distressing to me is the brutality and indifference exhibited. Apparently, hard-core Republicans like the hard-ass approach---Marlboro Man once again! I am ashamed, to put it mildly. I've been to Iran twice and found their society and their people to be among the most generous, kind and friendly I've ever known. As a non-sequitar, let me add that they also produce a lot of really excellent flamenco guitarists! So, yes, I am staying inside, pretty much ALL the time. I did go out briefly, to the supermarket, for supplies yesterday. I waited in a block-long line of people 2 meters (6 feet) apart as admittance was being very carefully regulated. When my time came, I found the shelves quite full and found plenty of manchego, yoghurt, fruits, veggies and wine. I thanked everyone I dealt with for their brave service---they were, everyone, self-deprecating but appreciative. A couple of them opened up and gave me sincere reports of what they are dealing with. The Spanish people are an inspiration. They are very touchy-feely and also tend to live very long lives and this, in part, explains the impact of the virus. Every evening, at 8 pm, on the dot, they open their windows, balconies, patios and stand up, boisterously cheering and applauding the health-care workers. I can not help myself from getting very emotional and choked up. I suppose with my age and my A-fib heart condition I am at risk. I don't know, at this point, when I can return to the US---surely I'll face a quarantine when that happens. I do very much want to be with my children and their families. Apart from that, I'm fine remaining here. Lots and lots of guitar! Book editing is coming along, too. Looking into ZOOM classes. Shelter in place! Be safe!
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Madrid 2020 and Corona Virus

Here I am, on lock down, at my apartment in Lavapies. Ironically, the weather is magnificent, with temps in the 70s fahrenheit. Spain has been very hard hit and it happened quite suddenly. Hard to believe that when I arrived early Wednesday morning, there was little furor and no panic. That changed rapidly. For the most part, people are "social distancing" and seem to have a basically cheerful attitude. Personally speaking, I have a nice living situation. Plenty of food and drink, a guitar, my computer, books, a nice patio to catch some sun. I've been reading that fresh air and sunlight are excellent in situations like this and even kill the virus. Apparently, as antibiotics were being developed, the sunlight/fresh air treatment was much played down, even abandoned. There is no travel out of Madrid now so I can not leave---I was hoping to go to Jerez and meet up with some friends, but that may not happen. I see that I haven't posted on this blog for 11 months. That's because I've been actively engaged in writing my book. It is pretty much written now and we've begun the editing process. So that, too, keeps one busy during the self-imposed lock down. This has been an exciting project and I have good feelings about it. I will start posting different pages and articles from it, here on the site. I'm thinking of a Youtube vlog/channel in support of the book eventually.... The important thing, during this crisis, is to not only protect oneself, but also to do one's best not to infect others. Many people are at grave risk right now. As the cooperative sentiment grows (along with acting on that sentiment!), I feel people can truly come together and minimize the potentially horrific outcomes. Now is the time! Medicare for All!!!!!! Free testing and free tratment for all. A billionaire's fortune can not shield him or her from the less advantaged who can not afford to pay and have little or no insurance. And Trump has proven for once and for all that he is woefully unequipped to lead the nation. He is a criminal and an idiot and already has blood on his hands through weeks of denial and downplaying the epidemic for personal gain. HEINOUS! His presidency should be finished. I hope so! Good riddance. A shame that it took something this terrible to fully expose him and his cronies. Enough said. Stay well friends. Socially distance yourself. But don't forget to love your neighbor.
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Hello! I’m Still Here!

Yes, indeed. Since September, I've been doing a lot of writing, specifically, for "the book." Love, Magick, and the Flamenco Guitar it is called, at least as a working title. I'm generally happy and satisfied with the results so far. I think it's time to pull back, collate all the material---a lot of it is on my dictaphone, a prehistoric devise I bought on the internet but seems to work well. So, pull all this together, see where I am in the process, decide where I am and where/how to proceed. Could be, I've got enough (more than...!) material and it's time to begin the excruciating process of editing. I spent a good part of the winter in Madrid and it was a great place to be. Minnesota had a ferocious few months and I can not handle that type of cold anymore: Guatemala has changed me, I guess. I saw a lot of shows, nothing of any great consequence; still, it is fine and fun to see the more "grass roots" performances and "gigs," too. It is looking like I'll be in Minnesota for most of the summer. I'm feeling Guatemala's siren call, but too many activities happening here to get away. My director, Dame Libby Komaiko, died in January. She directed the Ensemble Espanol, in Chicago. I was guitarist with them for 24 years. This weekend is a large scale homage event for her, in Chicago, and I'm driving down there to participate. Libby was a dear and lovely friend, also a huge part of my career as flamenco guitarist. I got to work with so many great artists while with the Ensemble. Her work was magnificent, her outreach was vast, the good she did was, and is, legendary. It should be an emotional and cathartic weekend. My tango group, Rogue Tango, records a CD end of May. I'm performing an original work with my ballet dancer son, Aaron, in mid-May---his choreography to my music, entitled El Alma Preso. Lots of performances around town, finish up the book, chill out, take some walks, do some teaching: a busy summer. Maybe slip away some weekends; get back to Antigua, Guate end of August. That's the update!
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A Cab Driver’s Dream

Eerie. And frequently recurring 25 year old Matias drives in his cab Looking for a fare Dispatcher's voice comes over the radio An order for a pickup Its in Morse code Matias copies it, typing On the guitar's fretboard In a Jeff Beck style Blues improvisation Good God! What have we here? Multi-tasking Or locura?
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Utterly Fascinated, Nearly Dumbstruck…

...the 4 year old remains glued to the black and white TV screen. Les Paul accompanies his wife, singer Mary Ford. He plays a black Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar. The guitar is gorgeous, the playing out-of-this-world. It is the coolest thing young Matias has ever experienced, and, when it's over: "Mamma, Mamma! I wanna play guitar! Just like him!" He will not be put off. He continues badgering his poor mother until she gives in, saying, "Let's see about this tomorrow." Next morning, she's on the phone trying to arrange lessons. She is told they won't teach a 4 year old; he must wait until he's 8. This is the 50s, after all. Matias is, uncharacteristically, quiet about it. He holds his tongue, bides his time. A few years pass. School, play, books, friends, siblings, picnics. Then Boy Scouts, football, baseball. Finally, his 8th birthday! "Don't you like your presents, Honey? And, chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream is your favorite!" "Mamma, can I start guitar lessons now? That's all I want! Please!" Within days, Matias begins his new life, a guitar-centric life. 15 years later, he has a vintage black Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar of his own. Thousands of gigs later, he still has it. Still plays it on occasion. Although a Flamenco guitarist now---he owns several nylon string Spanish guitars, as well as an oud---the love affair with his Les Paul has never ended.
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What's Bred in the Bone….

...comes out in the flesh. Robertson Davies: one of my FAVORITE authors. As I get on in life, I find his world-view, his philosophy (never stated only implied), his humanity, appeal to me immensely. This work, in which a "daemon" named "Maimas" figures prominently, is captivating. It's helping me with things I ponder, particularly related to "Our Bones Are Thus." "Don't be distracted by trivialities, said the Daimon Maimas. What do the theologians say? Circumcise yourself as to the heart and not as to the foreskin. And never neglect what is bred in the bone. Do you think it was bred of Francis to be a victim all his life? How would that reflect on me? As a rather superior mortal once said to a sentimental friend, Clear your mind of cant! Shall we continue?" And, again: "Astrology is part of the science of the past, and of course the science of the present has no place for it, because it is rooted in a discredited notion of the universe, and puts forward a lot of Neo-Platonic ideas that don't make much sense---until you live with them for awhile. Astrology is based on a notion nobody wants to accept in our wonderfully reasonable Western World, which is that the position of the stars at the moment of your birth governs your life. 'As above, so below' is the principle in a nutshell. Utterly dotty, obviously." Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the midst of a most agreeably hot summer!
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3 May 2018 Madrid

Some comments on shows I've been seeing: Friday, 20 [email protected] Casa Patas Fundacion---Guadiana. Voice not unpleasant like years before. He has great feel, sentiment, pitch, soniquete. An 8.5 Accompanied by Carlos de Jacoba, who plays with really good swing. A little short of material, a little boring, his bulerias a 9+. 2 boys as palmeros who danced pataitas por bulerias super-well. A satisfying evening! Thursday, 3 May at the Fundacion, again. Capullo de Jerez: groove, soniquete, sentido, swing, verdad---inspirado! With Manuel Jero, son of Ninyo Jero, he's also called Jerito. He's got all the mugging looks, smiles, arcane glances of his father. Similarly, his limited technique: mostly thumb, virtually no picado, arpegio, horquilla, tremelo. But, along with 2 wonderful palmeros, produced a grooving pocket of flamenquismo that was damn engaging! Contrasting the "jazz" of Jorge Pardo with Josemi Carmona, Javier Colina, and Bandolero (May 1st at Club Bogui in Chueca): jazz without swing (don' mean a thing...), too damn many useless notes and scales, fast and loud and furious; everyone competing to outdo each other. Did I say I generally detest bass and drum solos? In fairness, I felt Josemi played very very well and I enjoyed his toque immensely. But, the rest? Has Pardo forgotten how gorgeous a long and lyrical spellbinding line can be?
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26 April, 2018: Madrid

Nearly 80 degrees, sunny and divine. I'm at Peyma, my "office," on calle Embajadores. Great place. Totally unpretentious with good food, drinks, cafe and "menu del dia." I'm staying with a friend, across the street and up the hill a bit. Playing my Montalvo guitar, from Paracho, Mexico, that's been at my piso (38 Olivar in Lavapies) since I can remember. With new Savarez strings it sounds great! Resonant, rich. Practicing a lot, which I always do when I'm in Madrid (so many great players inspire me, yes indeed!). Good progress with that, in part due to listening to so much Glenn Gould. My NEW obsession: the "Glenn Gouldization" of my playing. I'm trying to analyze what, exactly, that means....
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