About Wedding Guitarist

Award-wining Guitarist playing concerts, functions and weddings up and down the United Kingdom. I write a little about life as a musician at the events I have played at and offer practical advice to Brides and Grooms about what went well and what went not so well at the weddings. I blog about the venues and what they were like, the music choices for each section of the wedding (ceremony, drinks reception and wedding breakfast) and the general atmosphere and any funny bits if they occur.

Claridge’s Ballroom London

Claridges Ballroom LondonOn Saturday I played for a wedding at Claridge’s Ballroom in London. The ceremony was held in the Ballroom itself and the reception was held in the Reception room (as pictured above).

I say “I”, but realy it was “we” – I payed this wedding as a duo with my new duo partner (see my previous blog post). We played some traditional Jewish songs such as Mah Tovu, Dodi Lee and Evening of Roses. There was also a traditional breaking of a glass, which I had never seen before. The couple asked for more upbeat songs for the reception so we played some Gipsy Kings’ songs such as Djobi Djoba and Bailame as well as some flamenco and rumba classics such as Entre Dos Aguas, Tico Tico and Moorea.

A particularly nice poem was read during the ceremony which I hadn’t heard before by WB Yeats called The White Birds. Here it is:

I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea!

We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can fade and flee;

And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky,

Has awakened in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that may not die.

 

A weariness comes from those dreamers, dew-dabbled, the lily and rose;

Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the meteor that goes,

Or the flame of the blue star that lingers hung low in the fall of the dew:

For I would we were changed to white birds on the wandering foam: I and you!

 

I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a Danaan shore,

Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come near us no more;

Soon far from the rose and the lily, and fret of the flames would we be,

Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on the foam of the sea!

 

 

New Guitar Duo

new spanish guitar duoI have set up a new Spanish Guitar Duo with my good friend and excellent Guitarist Ramon Ruiz. I will posting clips of our paying here soon….

Here is our official biography as written by our agents:

The Spanish Guitar Duo met while working on the Gipsy Kings’ award-winning musical “Zorro” in London’s West End. They were both hand-picked and mentored by the Gypsy Kings as on stage guitarists and actors. Whilst working on the show they began to jam together and create a musical understanding, which before long had naturally/unintentionally developed into a solid repertoire of music that was well-polished due the hours of downtime between shows that they spent jamming in addition to the hours upon hours that they spent performing together on stage. They have continued to play together ever since, expanding their repertoire to cover more styles and genres.

As a duo and as solo Artists the Spanish Guitar Duo have performed with the following artists, shows and companies:

The Gipsy Kings, Plácido Domingo, Rafael Amargo, Carlos Acosta, The Royal Ballet, Russell Watson, Antonio Banderas, Welsh National Opera, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Juanito Makandé, etc.

At the following venues:

The Royal Albert Hall (London), The Royal Opera House (London), John F. Kennedy Centre (Washington D.C.), The Purcell Room (London), The Ambassador’s Theatre (Chicago), The Grand Theatre (Shanghai), The Garrick Theatre, Teatro Sistina (Rome), DeLaMar Theatre (Amsterdam), Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club (London), The World Forum (The Hague), etc.

At the following major events:
The Royal Variety Show, Edinburgh Festival, International Guitar Foundation, Ullapool Guitar Festival, The One Show hosted by Chris Evans , BBC Radio 2 Saturday Night Is Music Night, Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, BBC radio 4, Sister Act The Musical, Canal Sur Andalucia, etc.

 

Duke Of Edinburgh Fundraising Awards at Grosvenor House

Grosvenor House Hotel

On Saturday night I played for the Duke Of Edinburgh funsraising award dinner in The Great Hall at Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London.

There was a Venetian theme for the evening with mask a plenty and singning waiters and mock gondolas with singning “gondola riders” (I’m sure there is a special name for that person)…..

Also on the bill for the evening’s entertainment were the band Incognito and Matt Rawle, who I worked with on the Gipsy Kings’ musical Zorro.

Lympne Castle

wedding at lympne castleOn Saturday I played for a lovely wedding at Lympne Castle in Kent. I have played here before (and my sister also got married here) but I forgot just how beautiful the views were from the terrace spanning the coast.

The weather wasn’t amazing so the drinks reception was held in the west wing (which also has views over the countryside and coastline) and then the wedding breakfast was held in the marquee which got prettier and prettier as the natural light faded and the candles became more prominent.

I stayed nearby as I had a concert in the picturesque coastal village Sandwich the following day. A blog about this concert to come….

Plácido Domingo at The Royal Opera House

placido-domingoI am thrilled to announce I will be playing with the legendary Plácido Domingo at The Royal Opera House this coming October.

Plácido Domingo is one of the finest Tenors in the world and is most widely known for his work with Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras as The Three Tenors.

We will be performing eight shows of Il Duo Foscari. The first night is sold out and tickets for the remaining shows are going fast. If you do come to the opera then please let me know and we can discuss your event plans afterwards.

International Jewellery London 2014

International jewellery london guitaristI was invited back to play again at International Jewellery London (IJL) this year at London’s Olympia.

My playing goes down really well at this show and I have got to know quite a few of the exhibitors; several of the designers who go annually to the show are also guitarists in their spare time and one is even building his own guitar.

I spent the first half of the show entertaining attendees in the entrance area and the second half of the show upstairs in the Champagne Bar.

The only disappointment this year was that Tresor weren’t serving fresh French crêpes on their stand 😉 I’m already booked for the show in 2015 and look forward to catching up with all the covert Guitarists and Guitar Makers in the Jewellery world.

 

Notley Abbey

guitarist-notley-abbeyOn Thursday I played for a wedding at Notley Abbey in Thame, near the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire border.

Notley was a favourite stopover for Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey in the 16th century on their way to Oxford and the building was bought in 1944 by legendary Actor Laurence Oliver who moved in with his partner Vivien Leigh.

They hosted many celebrity parties and guests included Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller, Betty Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Sir Noel Coward, Ralph Richardson, Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich. Olivier is quoted as saying:

 

“Of all the houses I’ve lived in over the years, Notley is my favourite. It was absolutely enchanting, and it enchanted me.”

(And I’m guessing his houses were normally pretty good ones).

The ceremony was held outside where I played Here Comes The Sun by George Harrison and Have I Told You Lately by Rod Stewart.

Guitarist Oxfordshire

Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham

 

Guitarist GloucestershireOn Thursday I played at Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire for a corporate dinner. The guests work for an Insurance comoany in America and were treated to a weekend in the UK which consisted of a cruise along the coast in the QM2, a classica car rally (in which they were driving the classic cars), afternoon tea with Princess Diana’s brother and a roast dinner at Ellenborough Park with yours truly playing live music for them. I’m guessing they sell quite a lot of insurance and make reasonable sums of money for their employers to be so kind to them.

The most outstanding part of the evening, I have to say, was the gravy. The chef at Ellenborough Park makes the most delicious gravy I have ever tasted. I got the recipe from him and shall post it on here soon!

Guitarist Gloucestershire

Don Quijote – The Royal Opera House

Guitarist - Royal Opera HouseI am starting rehearsals this week at The Opera House for Carlos Acosta’s new adaption of Don Quijote with The Royal Ballet Company.

The rehearsal period quite long before the gala opening on September 30th. Then the dates of the performances are as follows:

Mon 30 September 2013    19:30
Sat 5 October 2013    13:30 matinée & 19:00
Sun 6 October 2013    12:30 matinée
Tue 8 October 2013    19:30
Fri 11 October 2013    19:30
Tue 15 October 2013    19:30
Wed 16 October 2013    19:30
Fri 18 October 2013    19:30
Fri 25 October 2013    19:30
Sat 26 October 2013    19:00
Sat 2 November 2013    13:30 matinée & 19:00
Wed 6 November 2013    19:30

I’m always happy to discuss details of bookings in person beforehand, be it repertoire choices, the finer details of exactly where and when to play etc. and where better to do this than in the champagne bar (pictured above) at The Opera House? If you would like to come and see an excellent show and then discuss your plans than feel free to contact me and arrange to meet either before or after the show on any one of the above dates.

On Saturday 16th October the live ballet show will also be beamed to 250 cinemas across the UK, including most ODEAN cinemas, and in 399 cinemas in the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and Holland. Click here to find a screening at a cinema near you.

 

Opera House Classical GuitaristFlamenco Guitarist Royal Opera Huse

International Jewelry Exhibition – Earls Court, London

Earls Court IJLOn Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I played for The International Jewelry Exhibition at Earl’s Court in London. Every year the show attracts retailers, wholesalers, designers and dealers from all over the world for three days to exhibit their new products and talk everything diamonds, gold and silver. It was interesting to meet so many designers and artists and hear how they work through the design process and then realise their ideas and turn them into physical products, there is a real art to it.

Security was extremely high with cameras everywhere and plain-clothed agents wondering throughout the venue. I was told told there was £1billion worth of merchandise inside the building during the exhibition.

For all the beautiful stands and edgy new ideas I have to say I was won over more by the huge chocolate fountain on Tresor’s stand, as were most others 😉

There was also a slightly surreal moment when a huge security guard who had a gold tooth and quite an intimidating presence about him came over and said to me “that was a beautiful piece of music really delicately played, could you play that for me again later please?”