Why Spanish Guitar and what Paco Pena asked me on Tour?

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Why do I play Spanish Music?

Some of you may wonder if I have any Spanish heritage because I perform Spanish Music.  As it turns out my Great Grandfather Albert Parkes was of Spanish origin, a generation before, on both his mother and father’s side, according to his wife’s sister, Lillian.  Perhaps this explains his small stature and striking appearance.  He passed his physique and jet black hair onto some of his descendants.  I will let you decide.

Albert Parkes

When my parents took me to see Paco Pena and Paco de Lucia in concert when I was 12, it had me thinking “That’s guitar playing”, and inspired me to learn Spanish Guitar and record Spanish Music.

Touring with Paco Pena and what he asked me to do on tour.

Paco Pena

I had the honour to tour with Paco Pena around Australia when my friends Slava Grigoryian and Leo Kottke, filled in for Spanish Classical guitarist Pepe Romero.   I volunteered to be an unofficial guitar carrier.  Truthfully I felt indescribably privelaged just to be in the presence of Paco Pena who is more or less the God of Flamenco Guitar in my eyes.

When we were jamming at a post concert private function in Sydney, I was blown away when Paco said I was a   “True Artist”.  Of all things, would you believe he asked me to teach him the Blues, which isn’t my signature style, although I have recorded some blues music.  I knew enough to teach him some simple blues scales and chords. This was around the time when my music career was about to take off as I had just recieved a record deal for my album Indigo Moon which included Flamenco, Celtic and Classical Music and has been a career success and highlight for me.


My love of Latin Music was also inspired from when I had the thrill of opening concerts for the Buena Vista Social Club when they toured Australia.  They were so impressed when I jammed with them that Ibrahim Ferrer said I had a Latin Soul and wanted to take me home to Cuba with them.

I hope you have enjoyed gaining some insight into how I was inspired to learn Spanish Guitar. 

For me performing is not just about the guitar style, chords or the number of albums sold, but rather it’s knowing the things first hand that make me a musician.   

And it’s knowing that you are one of a small percentage of the population to not only have seen and heard, but to have lived behind the curtain that makes my music journey meaningful and worth while.

But perhaps even more importantly than all of that, it’s YOU, the listener, that makes all of it matter.

I look forward to many more experiences on this musical journey of creating, performing and recording music. Here’s to hoping that you are part of that journey.

If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of my musical journey,

click here to listen to my most recent album, ‘El Vito’.

Thank you for being a listener and for giving me purpose in life.


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