Death of a Guru and Beating your Foot!!

Did that catch your attention?

Sathya Sai Baba died on Sunday, April 24th and was buried earlier today (the 27th).  As a nearly life-long devotee of Sai Baba of Shirdi, I have mixed emotions.  I leave it to the reader to Google the whole thing and draw your own conclusions.  I will say only this:  I’ve been to Shirdi twice, I’ve sat on that rock you always see in the pictures, I brought “udhi” home and kept it for more than 20 years.  I am not religious.  I carry a deep feeling for Sai Baba with me every day, whether I try to or not.  Sathya Sai Baba was someone else.

I’ve had several requests to speak my mind about beating your foot to keep the rhythm as you play guitar.  I am surely no expert.  I will share a few ideas on the subject:

Be really careful to play to the rhythm as you beat it and not to beat your foot to the rhythm you are playing!!

A guitarist has to remain sensitive to the others (the dancer, the singer, other musicos…) and to their conception of the rhythm.   Remain flexible, understand rubato, know that your foot is not God.

That being said, it can be very helpful to keep the compas with your foot (feet…) and it can also help keep you in compas.

Personally, I like the “one” to fall on the left foot.  Always.  So, if I’m playing bulerias, the “twelve” is on the right foot, as are the accents of “six” and “eight” and “ten.”  The only strong accent that falls on the left foot is the “three.”  This makes staying in compas really quite easy, even if you’re improvising, because you always feel that heavy 6-8-10-12.  And playing in sixes even easier:  left,—,—,right,—,— etc etc.  (Does this make any sense at all?)

The feet don’t even have to move:  you just feel the impulses there and go with it.  Siguiriyas:  start with left:  8-10-12  and 6 again with the 3 on the right corresponding to the “un”-“dos”-“tres” with the undos “tres” on the right, cuatrocinco “seis” on the left again.  In Tangos it’s easy to feel the “four–one” groove:  right–left.

Good to practice by just listening to flamenco and syncing your feet to it.  In time, you can stop bugging your girl friend to count or do palmas as you work out a falseta because your feet can do it just as well.  Girl friend will thank you!