Radford stuns audience with skill

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Ronald Radford, the only person to ever receive a Fulbright Scholarship to Spain in flamenco guitar, performed on Oct. 15 at the SCCC/ATS auditorium. Radford is an American flamenco virtuoso, acclaimed in countries around the world such as Spain, Mexico, Australia, and Switzerland. Playing from a variety of flamenco, classical, rock ’n’ roll, and blues, Radford’s influences include Carlos Montoya, Andres Segovia, Diego del Gastor, and Pepe de Badajoz showed clearly throughout the night, adding his own fresh style to the mix as well. Radford proved his mastership of the instrument, making the music and playing interesting even for those who aren’t musically inclined. He also spoke words of compassion and inspiration, telling how he rose from just a kid playing a $15 guitar in Tulsa, Okla., to meeting Segovia in person and getting a full-ride scholarship to Segovia’s school in New York to study flamenco guitar. Radford included how studying in Spain affected his view on life, and his music as an art, bringing people together around the world as a universal language. How, through his playing, he met so many different individuals with incredible talents and quirks, and explained why these blended and molded into an aesthetic. He was not only amazing, but a man of brilliance and soul, shining through chords and strings. He turned the art of flamenco into a philosophy, playing with such illustrious beauty to not just back up the hype, but transcend it, taking the audience to heights unknown. Radford even included the audience in his performance of the popular song “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens. He served as a guide through the wonderful world of flamenco, and many need to take the ride. And, as Radford said during his performance, “Why have a problem, when you can have a party?”