Interviews/Articles/Reviews

Interviews (Radio & Video)     Articles     Reviews

Interviews

2019 WMTJ Radio & Video Interview, Milwaukee, WI

Marija Temo in WVIZ/PBS video interview on her multi-talents & guitar concerto, “Concierto del Fuego”

Marija Temo in WVIZ/PBS interview on her multi-talents & guitar concerto, “Concierto del Fuego” The composer, Loris Chobanian is also interviewed about his concerto and his comments about Marija Temo. Highlights of repertoire featured: Marija’s playing and singing arrangement of “Fuistes Mia Un Verano” by Leonardo Favio; Marija’s flamenco singing interpretation of Manuel de Falla’s “Cancion del Amor Dolido” from the El Amor Brujo Suite; “Concierto del Fuego” guitar concerto written for Marija Temo; Marija’s flamenco dancing interpretation to Manuel de Falla’s “Dance of Terror” from the El Amor Brujo Suite. “Courtesy of WVIZ/ PBS. “

For more info see http://www.marijatemo.com. Concierto del Fuego is available for digital download on http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/MarijaTemo and other music sites such as Amazon and itunes.

Marija Temo with ASO- Concierto del Fuego- CNN video Interview

Marija Temo with the ASO in Mid Atlantic Premier of Concierto del Fuego (Concerto of Fire), a flamenco/classical guitar concerto written for Temo. Interviews with Marija Temo, Loris Chobanian (Composer), and Tom Rodriguez (Luthier). “Courtesy of CN8, the Comcast Network”.

For more information, http://www.marijatemo.com. Concierto del Fuego is available for digital download on http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/MarijaTemo and other music sites as Amazon and Itunes.

Articles

2012 (April) Classical Guitar Magazine (Temo’s story about her guitar model with luthier, Tom Rodriguez and story behind the Taylor/GE Capital Commercial)

2011 Article on Flamenco Completo (Marija Temo & Ulrika Frank) & their workshop, Atlanta, GA 9/16-18/11

2011 Article with Marija Temo on differences between flamenco & classical guitars, & upcoming workshops & performances in Atlanta, GA 5/21-23/11

2010 Learning To Build A Classical Guitar – By Bob Taylor, Taylor Guitars
2010 Comments from Deb Barker, GE Executive, about Marija Temo for Taylor/GE Capital Ad

2008 RENOWNED FLAMENCO GUITARIST, DANCER VISITS ALMA MATER
ARTICLE, May 2008, The Bath Country Journal, Bath, OH, By Nancy Ivan

2008 Article- “Triple Threat” Flamenco article in The Gazette, Apr. 2008
2008 Article- Atlanta, GA, Interview Frank/Temo workshop, Piecing it together, April 2008

Reviews

2017 Review- Classical Guitar Magazine (Solo concert GFA, CA)
2017 Review- Soundboard Magazine (Solo Concert GFA, CA)

2012- Review- Marija Temo and Ulrika Frank with the Kennett Symphony, Kennett Square, PA, 6/25/12
Kennett Symphony Fills Longwood With Sounds of Spain

2012 Review- Marija Temo, guest singer, El Amor Brujo, with the Peridance Contemporary Dance Co., NYC, 5/7/12
Peridance Contemporary Dance Company

(Marija Temo’s portion in the Review)
Kudos to flamenco cantante Marija Temo for not using a microphone; her dusky, vivid singing was completely natural and came from the heart. Ms. Temo wandered among the dancers as she sang, becoming a part of the rather abstracted narrative.”

2012- Review- Marija Temo, guest flamenco singer, El Amor Brujo, with the Peridance Contemporary Dance Co., NYC, 5/6/12
Exuberant Evening: Peridance Contemporary Dance is Back!

(Marija Temo’s portion of the Review)
“The piece was rounded out by the amazing vocalization of Marija Temo as the Flamenco Singer. Her charisma and charm almost stole the show. I more than once took my eyes off the movements on stage to watch her command and attack. She was a perfect component, interweaving between the dancers and holding her own on an artistic and choreographic level. “

2011 Review- Flamenco Completo Workshop (Marija Temo & Ulrika Frank) Atlanta GA, 9-16-18/11
Hear and be heard in iayayay! Find good resources, reviews, and ideas, or share your own with others in Atlanta’s flamenco community. Updated OCTOBER 9, 2011

2010 Review- The Guitarist Behind the Taylor/GE Capital Ad (CA)

2009 Review-“BIRMINGHAM TROUPE CORAZON FLAMENCO STOMPS AND TWIRLS IN STEAMY “EL AMOR BRUJO” (Marija Temo, guest flamenco guitarist and singer)
REVIEW, Sept. 2009, The Birmingham News, Birmingham, AL, By Michael Huebner

2006 Review KDHX Music Review- St. Louis, MO (Solo Concert)

2004 Review- El Amor Brujo Press Review Quote (Orchestra vocalist with Alexandria Symphony)
Temo’s voice, with its distinctive peppery tone, had a rustic appeal.”– The Washington Post, Washington DC

Back to top

Interviews

WTMJ Conversations: Marija Temo, flamenco artist

Listen to the full WTMJ Conversations with Marija Temo and WTMJ’s Melissa Barclay.

Marija Temo calls Milwaukee home.

She is one of the world’s best flamenco artists, one of the few women who are virtuoso guitarists in a male-dominated field.

And one of the few artists of either gender who can sing, play and dance this art form of hundreds of years.

This woman of Midwestern roots also has a childhood experience of bullying, one that many of us can empathize with. Her response became a life of giving her musical gift. Marija also broke through many centuries-old walls of gender in the flamenco world.

Melissa Barclay goes 1-on-1 with Marija, this world-renowned artist and the guitar chair of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, in our WTMJ Conversations, Sunday, October 6 at 11 a.m. on WTMJ, with much more of her story to come as well on WTMJ.com.

Watch her perform “Waves,” an original work, below.

Back to top

2012 Article
2012 (April) Classical Guitar Magazine (Temo’s story about her guitar model with luthier, Tom Rodriguez and story behind the Taylor/GE Capital Commercial)
Classical Guitar Magazine- April 2012 Issue
Letter from New York

By JULIA CROWE

AKRON. OHIO native Marija Temo is a flamenco guitarist who has been working with luthier Tom Rodriguez to create a hybrid classical-flamenco model guitar. In addition to writing a forthcoming flamenco method book for Mel Bay which will feature her unique notation system for reading flamenco rhythms. Her third CD will be released later this year featuring works for guitar in the flamenco/classical style with solo flamenco vocal and guitar arrangements of popular Latin American songs. She was the featured artist in an award-winning television commercial for GE Capital and Taylor Guitars that had her serve as a flamenco-playing body double for GE Capital sales executive Deb Barker.

Temo received her Masters degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music where she studied with Manuel Barrueco. She is a former faculty member of the Preparatory at the Peabody Institute Johns Hopkins University where she founded the flamenco guitar program. Composer Loris Chobanian, who she studied with at the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music, wrote his Tango Fantasy for guitar and orchestra and his guitar concerto Concierto del Fuego for her.

Temo had been hoping to find a guitar suitable for playing both flamenco and classical guitar without the burden of travelling with two guitars. When self-taught luthier Tom Rodriguez asked her for feedback several years ago on one of his first flamenco guitars, they began collaborating to see if it was possible to build her dream hybrid guitar. One of the challenges had been to create String action capable of sustained, resonating notes for classical music while remaining low enough in action to allow for ease for flamenco strumming techniques without any residual buzzing. The other goal had been to create a guitar capable of powerful projection, including notes played in the upper bout. After five years of various trial efforts. Rodriguez succeeded in creating a classical/flamenco guitar hybrid that met with Temo’s approval and it is trademarked as ‘The Marija Temo Model flamenco/classical hybrid.’

Rodriguez points out, ‘Possibly the biggest challenge I faced as a maker on this project was to get the sound we wanted with the low bridge. By tapering the fingerboard almost 3mm from the nut to the soundboard, I was able to obtain the action Marija was looking for. Having a low bridge was more of a problem to overcome. It is simple physics- the taller the bridge, the more tension it


Tom Rodriguez and Marija Temo

creates on the soundboard-the better the guitar sounds. At first I overcame this by making the rim of the guitar as stiff as possible so more of the string energy could be transferred to the bridge. Ultimately, I gave up on fan bracing and developed my own bracing to help the top respond more freely. There are many builders making flamenco negras (flamenco guitars with rosewood backs and sides) intended to get more of a classical sound, but they still have a raspy quality to the sound and string buzzing when played hard. Other makers were using stair step saddles that permit raising and lowering the action for the type of music you want to play. The problem with this is that you cannot play both styles during the same piece. You’d have to stop, move the strings and retune.’

Temo had been asked to audition for a Taylor Guitar television commercial and had been asked to play fast scale passages, which she developed into various flamenco-style samples. The entire audition process took over one and a half weeks. Temo also was asked provide her measurements, shoe and dress size, with the news that if she was the guitarist selected for the commercial, she would be playing the body double guitar performer for GE Capital’s Distribution and Sales Manager, Deb Barker, who works with Taylor Guitars as her client. The commercial shows Barker touring the Taylor guitar factory.

At one point, she picks up a guitar and plays it as if she is a professional flamenco player. Computer technology essentially allowed Barker’s head to replace Temo’s in order to make it appear that Barker was the guitar player.

‘My one concern, however.’ Temo says, ‘is that I felt fairly confident that Taylor Guitars did not make classical or flamenco guitars so I was concerned that I would not be able to play the music on a steel string.’ Temo informed the producers that she could play any nylon string guitar.

The following day, at 3pm, I was told I needed to fly out that same evening to Los Angeles. I dropped everything and went. They flew me in first class and picked me up in a limo with a driver-quite a different lifestyle from what a working flamenco/classical guitarist experiences from day to day!’

Temo was asked to come up with both 6 and 12-second versions of the scales she had performed for the final audition. The Taylor guitar she was given to play had been a hybrid nylon string guitar, which Temo describes as having a steel string body with nylon strings. The shoot took place at the Taylor Guitar Factory in El Cajon, California, where 500 guitars are manufactured daily. Because the right hand action was very high, she requested for it to be lowered as much as possible. ‘I learned then that Bob Taylor had invented what he calls the NT or New

Technology neck, which is a bolt-on neck that allows for a straighter, more stable guitar neck. It is a separate and detachable neck where shims can be placed at the joint and the action can be easily adjusted without having to replace the saddle or bridge.’ Temo says.

The next issue to contend with had been Temo’s Triple Star Nittaku ping-pong bail nails. ‘They were not camera-friendly’, she says, ‘and had to be dulled because of the concern about the bright white of the ping-pong nails creating a glare. I was hesitant but agreed to having pink matte-colored nail polish applied. Unfortunately, the polish was too thick and, after more attempts of applying and removing various polishes, this started to dissolve the ping-pong ball part of my nails.

‘I had to put a stop to all the applications so I could make a new set of nails, a process which would take me at least 4 hours with filing and adjustments. The GE Capital Executive, Deb Barker, agreed to turn her beautifully French-manicured nails into a version of mine. A manicurist took one look at my nails and

said, ‘How ugly!’ and I had to explain to her that my nails were shaped this way for me to play my best- and that if I changed anything, it would throw off my playing. I became quite the talk in the make-up room, as a result. Deb Barker was a gem for cooperating to have her oval white nails reshaped with disproportioned angles!’


Marija Temo

The shoot started at 5:30am and my first task was to record the two music scales in an office room where sound equipment had been set up. By early afternoon, I had to dress as Deb Barker but with my hair pulled up and green dots placed upon my neck so the technical wizards would know where to splice my head off after filming to replace it with Deb’s head. On the set, I had to figure out the best way to hold the guitar- whether to use a flamenco or classical position.

‘The Taylor guitar had a cutaway design and it weighed much more than a normal classical or flamenco guitar. I decided to sit in a classical position because of the comfortable familiarity and stability it gave me. The director asked if I could make the riff longer. I decided in that moment that this was my chance to put in some typically characteristic flamenco rasqueados and I played that scale every couple of seconds from 2:00pm to 10:00pm as the sound guys tried to hook me up during the filming in order to record this new riff. Also, the director shot from many different angles so I just had to play as consistently as possible. My work was finally finished by a round 7:00pm, yet I was called back immediately to ask if I could coach Deb Barker on my head movements when I had played the riff. I was not even aware that I had been moving my head when I was playing.

‘They put a piece of plywood in Deb’s hands to have her act as if she was playing the guitar and I called out instructions to her on how to move her head. She was trying to get that flamenco confident look at the end and we had so much fun. I still laugh thinking about it. When the set cleared at midnight, Bob Taylor invited me to hang out afterword and catch a bite to eat. He plays a part in the commercial, speaking the line, ‘I didn’t know you could play like that!’

‘When I flew back home I received a call explaining that they couldn’t get a good sound take from the factory. So I was asked to fly to New York and record the riff again, but this time playing entirely new scale passage.’ The same number of notes had to fit the timing of the previous scale and I did not like the idea of different notes being played against the filmed version of my playing. The good news is that the creative director decided they would like me to play throughout the entire commercial from beginning to end. After a few days of rehearsing the material, I learned that the director decided he wanted me to play the original scale that I played on the set in California. I recorded this in New York and the agency edited the film so that the scale I composed that sounded like a nervous doodle riff was placed at the end of the commercial. In January of 2011, this commercial received an award at NAMM for being the top television commercial in the music industry. I am grateful and proud to have been a part of the process and I enjoyed working with everyone involved.’(The GE Capital / Taylor Guitar commercial can be found under ‘Unique Collaborations: http://www.youtube.com/user/marijatemo.) The success of this commercial and the filming experience has stoked Bob Taylor’s interest in considering the idea of creating his own line of classical guitars.

Further information/links:
www.marijatemo.com

Marija Temo Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/marijatemo
Luthier: http://www.rodriguezguitars.com
Photos: https://www.tonyventourisphotography.com/

Back to top

2011 Article on Flamenco Completo (Marija Temo & Ulrika Frank) & their workshop, Atlanta, GA 9/16-18/11
Flamenco Completo
A Flamenco Journey Without Taking a Plane By Rebecca Money Johnson

jaleole.com flamenco in atlanta
The Flamenco Completo Workshop in Atlanta begins September 16 with a special first time intro class for students with no experience. Followed by Levels 1 and 2, both taking place on September 17 and 18.
Detailed information:
Classes for returning students
Classes for intro students

As another friend takes off to Spain for a flamenco holiday, your happiness is perhaps tempered with the knowledge that you may not be able to participate in a similar opportunity any time soon. Such a trip could be personally prohibitive for any number of reasons: time, finances, or perhaps feeling you are just not good enough yet. But what if Spain were to come to you? What would you have to lose? And if it arrived at your doorstep, what would it look like?

According to Cristina Bermudez, who has been a part of the Atlanta flamenco community for nearly a decade, it would look a lot like The Flamenco Completo workshop, which is coming to Atlanta in September. And what’s more, she would be the first to say there is everything to gain by Flamenco Completo’s immersion.

Flamenco Completo was incepted in 2007 and born from simultaneous teaching methods that uniquely focused on communication between flamenco dancers, singers and musicians. The Flamenco Completo workshop is the brain child of both instructors, Marija Temoa well-known flamenco singer, classical and flamenco guitarist, and Ulrika Frank, a flamenco dance instructor who teaches, performs and furthers the art of flamenco internationally. Flamenco Completo is a comprehensive teaching method that focuses on the core of flamenco, which is the communication of “letras” (song verses); how the structure varies; and how it is improvised in different ways. The distinction between Flamenco Completo and most other workshops that feature singers, dancers and guitarists, is that said individuals are all taught together in the same class.

Cristina Bermudez has grown tremendously through Flamenco Completo, and is set to begin teaching a beginner flamenco class. But, you do not have to have the goal of teaching or a professional dance career to participate in Flamenco Completo. In fact, Flamenco Completo will best prepare you for any sort of flamenco experience–even as simple and exhilarating as a successfully improvised “patadita” (short dance) at a “juerga” (flamenco party).

Bermudez feels very strongly about the way Flamenco Completo comprehensively prepares students for this spectrum of flamenco goals. First introduced to flamenco by her husband Armando, a flamenco guitarist, who bought her to Martha SidAhmed’s class in 2004, Bermudez says she found, “What I had been searching for over many years. My maternal grandfather was pure gypsy (Romanian) and the cante was very familiar to me. It sounded just like our family gatherings where everybody sang and danced to Romanian gypsy music. The expression of emotion was the same and the musicality and tones were the same. I knew (after my first flamenco class) that I had found my dance home, as well as a whole new way of thinking and viewing life.”

So, when it comes to Flamenco Completo, Bermudez has taken it at every opportunity and claims, “I lost count!” But even as a seasoned veteran, she notes, “I always learn something new and/or different with each workshop, and it’s not just choreography that you learn and spit back out. Anybody can do that. The real deal is when you learn what to use and exactly when to use it to create a statement. Flamenco Completo has given me the tools and the confidence to apply them in a very comfortable, supportive, environment. I didn’t take the very first workshop because I thought I wasn’t at a high enough level, and that was a mistake. It’s for everybody and the amount of clarity you gain in your flamenco education is amazing.”

jaleole.com flamenco in atlanta
Ulrika Frank and Marija Temo teach in Atlanta during a previous Flamenco Completo workshop.

Bermudez adds, “I’ve grown a lot and understand much more about letra/baile structure now, but each Flamenco Completo workshop has given me something new to work on. So, I have built a base knowledge, filled my backpack with flamenco tools, as Ulrika says. But, at the same time, each workshop with them feels like the first because my eyes are opened to something different each time. At the beginning i was more focused on learning the steps, where to come in, what to do. Now I’m integrating my learning of the ‘pasos’ (dance steps) with learning about ‘aire’ (attitude), confidence, style, etc.”

Bermudez feels this has much to do with the fact that, “Ulrika and Marija make an amazing teaching duo. They are both insanely knowledgeable about flamenco structure, yet they give you the opportunity to flex. Flamenco has a structure to it, yet we all know that anything can happen at any time, whether in the cante or baile or toque. And, Flamenco Completo offers the opportunity to navigate that in an informed, non-panicky way. I’ve grown through Flamenco Completo because of the way (they) pose scenarios and ask questions. Usually in a workshop the students ask all the questions, but in Flamenco Completo, questions are asked of the students that make us think about how to react to the cante or aire or any important flamenco component. It helps a great deal to eliminate the ‘Oh…what do I do now?!’ feeling”.

Bermudez extols, “Marija’s incredible knowledge of music and crazy ability to explain things in a way for non-musicians to understand is amazing. She has the cante and toque within her. So, she feels it, but she’s also very analytical and can break down the mechanics. That combination is perfect for learning style because… I’m the type of person that has to know how things work… before I can actually externalize it to my feet or body. And Ulrika, well I have a very special place in my heart for her (like many Atlanta flamencas). Ulrika’s knowledge about how the body moves and how to create space in harmony with musicality and percussion floors me. I’ve taken away so much from the ‘flamenco backpack’ she offers every time she teaches.”

Back to top

2011 Article with Marija Temo on differences between flamenco & classical guitars, & upcoming workshops & performances in Atlanta, GA 5/21-23/11
The Whole Thing is “ON”

Calling all guitarists (and other string players) to try playing in flamenco style. By Rina Menosky UPDATED MAY 16, 2011

From few yards away, they sure look the same — but they sure sound different. Is it like the famous song by George and Ira Gershwin in 1937, (popularized further by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald later): “I say ‘tomato’…you say ‘tomahto’…I say ‘potato’…you say ‘potahto’…?”

Classical guitar image on The Visual Dictionary

Are there too many differences and disputes that “two – flamenco and classical guitar players in this              case – will never be one?” As the song keeps on going, “something must be done….,”
I personally think something must be done about flamenco guitar population growth in metro Atlanta. With two national-chain guitar stores and notable music boutiques peppered throughout town, I know there is a great interest in guitar-playing here. So, where are all of those talented people? We have tons of beautiful dancing students, but just a handful of aspiring flamenco guitar players. So I wonder…can they not try crossing over to the flamenco side, just to see what it is like? You know, it is okay to say “pajahmas” and not “pajamas” sometimes!

“Goodness knows what the end will be” for my recruiting efforts, but I asked tons of questions to a lady who is about to land in Atlanta for a week-long stay. This isn’t her first time here and won’t be the last either, as she has been a friend and a teacher to Atlanta’s flamenco scene over the years. This Peabody Conservatory of Music graduate with a master’s degree has crafted the dispute and differences between classical and flamenco guitar playing into an advantage over the last few decades, and she is ready to share her knowledge and artistry with Atlantans yet again. Marija Temo, an Ohio native known as a “triple threat” (modestly), is widely-recognized as a virtuoso classical/flamenco guitarist. Yes, I said “modestly,” because if I am counting correctly, the proper identifier should be more like “quintuple threat,” as she is also a flamenco vocalist, dancer, and conductor.identifier should be more like “quintuple threat,” as she is also a flamenco vocalist, dancer, and conductor.

But wait — she is not a threat! She is a wonderful, information-loaded, experience-rich teacher. Just look at how she educated me on the differences and similarities between classical and flamenco guitar in a mere 15 minutes over the phone:

Anatomy:
Generally speaking, flamenco guitar is lighter in weight, traditionally made with cypress (though others construction materials exist, such as a spruce top), and has a brighter sound. Strings are set much closer to the body, which makes it easier for the right hand to do the strumming technique. It creates a more percussive, “buzzy” sound. The neck is wider, but thinner, which makes it easier on the left hand for maneuvering. Traditionally, the flamenco guitar used to have wooden pegs for tunings. The distinctive “golpeador” (tapping plate) is placed on the body of the guitar to allow percussive sound and rhythmic effects to be created.

Classical guitar is totally opposite of that. Again, generally speaking, the classical guitar is heavy in weight, and many of them are made with various types of wood, such as spruce and cedar. The neck is narrower, but thicker. It has mechanical keys (“machine heads”) for tuning. Over all, it has deeper sound. The action — where the strings are set — is much higher and away from the body of the guitar, unlike flamenco guitar strings, which help the sound to be sustained longer and to resonate more.

Similarity? Both have nylon strings and many flamenco guitars also have mechanical keys now these days…

Techniques:
Good news! All techniques in classical discipline are used in flamenco. However, flamenco has few more:

- different types of “rasgueados”
- “golpes” (tapping technique)
- variety of strumming techniques (i.e., some differences in tremolos and a few other techniques not in the classical world)

The hand/fitting position (the way a player would sit/hold the guitar) is different between the two, which changes the tone and color of the sound. Furthermore, flamenco’s left hand is said to accompany singers (chords) and the right hand can be utilized to accompany dancers’ intricate and percussive movements and footwork.

Gist:
Flamenco guitar playing is based on a strong rhythmic pulse to accompany singing and dancing. Traditionally, the structure of how the music is formed depends on those elements — singing and dancing — as well as “falsetas” (melodic passages) that guitarists choose to introduce in-between — all in an improvised manner, again traditionally-speaking. Conversely, the focus for the classical guitar is to interpret the composed masterpieces with the concept of harmony, theory, development, repeating of musical themes, etc. In a way, a solo flamenco guitarist has approached their solo guitar playing (without the other elements, like singing and dancing) in a classical way. But in the end, the biggest difference is that a flamenco guitar player’s ultimate goal is to have one’s own style after learning from others and to strive for the improvisational moment whereas a classical guitar player’s focus is to master the artistry to best express the composer’s intention — and in some cases, with an individual’s own interpretation. Of course, both are musically very different!

Advantage (“the plunge”):
For classical player of guitar and other stringed instruments (electric, acoustic, banjo, ukulele, shamisen, etc. — whoever they are), Temo suggests to cross over between the varying techniques without fear! Diving into flamenco will only broaden a player’s style and techniques. For classical players in particular, flamenco rasgueados can be incorporated into their pieces (i.e., classical Spanish pieces). Also, learning interesting strumming patterns and making improvements rhythmically can’t hurt anyone for that matter. And for some players, this can liberate their fingers and get rid of the little plastic pick!

Best of the both worlds:
So, can a guitarist have his/her cake and eat it too? Why not? Ask Temo personally, who plays a “Marija Temo” model flamenco/classical hybrid™, which she designed with luthier Tom Rodriguez. Women — you know we get our way! But even if you say “eether,” and I say “eyether,” or I say “neether,” and you say “nyther”…”eether,” “eyether,” “neether,” “nyther…” The whole flamenco “thing” is still going on, and I hope talented guitarists (and other string players) will cross over to the world of flamenco, even if just for a moment.

Back to top

2010 Article
Learning to Build a Classical Guitar
August 16th, 2010 by Bob Taylor

This week was one to remember. I’d been looking forward to August 9 because I’d organized a guitar camp, of sorts. You might be thinking, “What? Bob held a guitar camp for his customers and he didn’t announce it so I could come?”

While I’d love to have you, this one was for myself, and my guitar makers. That’s because I needed to get schooled; it was the week to learn how to make a classical guitar.

Some eight years ago we worked on a classical guitar design project and didn’t do all that well. Our steel-string taproots had us all bound up. I needed a teacher back then, and I needed one now, and so I called on my friend and guitar maker, Pepe Romero.

You know the name Pepe Romero as being one of the world’s finest guitar players; which he is, let there be no doubt. But there’s two Pepe’s, the father/player and the son/builder. I’m going to refer to them as Pepe Jr, and Pepe Sr.

Pepe Jr, was born to the sound of a 1930’s Santos Hernandez guitar. By the time he was three, he was literally sitting on his dad’s lap while Pepe Sr gave guitar lessons, and he was called on to critique the student after the lesson! Can you imagine what fun that must have been? By the time he was nineteen he was in Spain, the birthplace of his father, and grandfather, studying classical guitar making. His grandfather is the legendary Celedonio Romero. Pepe’s taproot goes deep, pretty much to the well-spring of classical guitars.

If you’re new to this topic, I can offer you a full evening of romance, history, and music by directing you to Mr. Google, who will teach you all about this family of guitar players.

They are San Diegans, and have been for decades. Being neighbors, Pepe Jr. has always extended a standing invitation to me, to help me learn, when I was ready.

I was made ready two months ago while doing a GE Capital commercial. I showed up to do my part and the creative director decided that the commercial would be created around flamenco guitar sounds. This is where I met Marija Temo. Marija (pronounced like Maria) was the guitar player on the commercial.

Now think about this; I’m in a GE Capital commercial featuring Taylor Guitars, a steel string guitar company, and the music is flamenco guitars. Good thing I’m not a micro manager, because I might have stopped what turned out to be a beautiful, gorgeous, commercial with great music and message. And good thing Marija was flexible, because she picked up a hybrid Taylor nylon, which is not the kind of guitar for the music she plays, and made the best of it. For me, the best of it resulted in fanning the flame of my desire to learn to build classicals. Real classicals this time, so I picked up the phone and asked Pepe for help and he said “yes.” Thank you GE for being the catalyst.

We met, Pepe Jr and my team. We discussed what must be done on our end to get ready. He showed us his workboard, which in essence, is a piece of wood that he has painstakingly sculpted to his liking and builds his guitars upon. It contains the culmination of his experience over the years, when it comes to the geometry of his tops. He let us digitize it because that would be how we could reproduce it for our week of guitar building. Pepe was excited about that possibility; I mean, the idea of him being able to see his workboard in a digital format and for us to mill one on a machine to complete accuracy. We talked about the possibility of helping him with replacement workboards for his shop. We made tools for a month. You can imagine what we made, because I’m going to go about this in much the same manner as I make my guitars, and that manner is to perfect the making of the individual parts using our modern techniques. I’m not talking about sloppy machine parts, I’m talking about accurate machine parts. Things like a bridge, or a neck, or workboard.

I asked Pepe for a week of his time. He agreed. I invited another over-the-top incredible San Diego guitar builder to come spend the week with us. His name is Andy Powers, and he came for the entire week. I invited Marija Temo, who flew in from Washington D.C. I invited a dozen Taylor Guitars employees. We all showed up Monday morning with the intention of making six classical guitars that week, but we actually completed seven guitars. That’s because Andy brought a box of his wife’s incredible cookies. I don’t know if we’d have gotten so far without them.

Each day we made two identical guitars, one with traditional Spanish construction, and a sister guitar with an NT neck. We had to figure out how to put on a UV finish that was as thin as French polish. Pepe taught me the feel of a classical top, how it was graduated, how it feels, how it bends. He braced them and taught me the process. Each day he changed the bracing to a new pattern and style and made sure I felt it. I would stand around and bend and twist the top while we talked, like one of those stress balls you squeeze. I was trying to get my body and mind to learn the feel. A guitar top is, I found, a better than average stress ball. I felt great, with my hands on those pieces. It took me way back to the Irving Sloan book that I used to make my first guitar. I was sixteen, and that guitar was a 12-string steel string, but all the photos in the book were classicals. I just adapted the construction ideas.

None of us slept much that week. We all had thinkin’ on our brains. By Wednesday we heard our first guitar. I had a dinner party that night at my house where everyone came and enjoyed each other’s company. Pepe Sr came, excited to see the first fruits of our labor. After dinner we gathered, thirty of us, to hear Marija and Pepe Sr play the guitar. We felt proud. It was a simple guitar, whose bracing was much like the Santos guitar that Pepe heard on his birth day. Some think of this guitar as being like the bare essence of a classical guitar. I can see why, as it’s no hot-rod, but it has very pleasing notes. The players made it sound great.

Thursday we made much more progress, with guitars lining up to get bridges glued on. We heard our second guitar, the sister to the first one, but with a modern Taylor NT neck attachment. This guitar suggested that the neck attachment might make a difference in sound, but certainly doesn’t ruin the sound. They both sounded good, in fact, what they shared in common was probably 98% and what was different was, just, different. On some guitars I like the NT neck better. I think it might be the luck of the draw. I’ll learn more as I make more.

By Friday we had guitars to string up! It was clear that we’d have seven in total, with the eighth guitar having to wait till Monday. Actually the eighth guitar was really number five of the group, and numbers seven and eight were ready for strings. These two were just tossed in to try a couple different bracing patterns just for fun, and to make a couple with spruce tops.

By early afternoon we were listening to all the guitars. Pepe and I sat in the room together and talked about the tone. Pepe has a nice, easy-going attitude about these guitars. He likes to like a guitar. He’s not overly critical of the sound because, first, they sound great and he knows it, and second, he realizes that everyone has their own taste in guitars. He’s learned from being around it his whole life that different people bring out the good in different guitars. There was one in particular though that we both liked a lot. We played if for each other and had ourselves a little moment. It was nice.

He and I appreciated the two worlds coming together. A man who makes guitars all alone, and one who makes them with a team. A man who makes classicals in the Spanish tradition and one who makes American steel strings. A man who doesn’t have an inlay, a strap pin, or a pickup on his guitars and a man who has all that plus whatever else one might imagine. A man who makes twenty guitars a year and a man who makes twenty guitars every thirty minutes. We’d accomplished a lot that week. We both learned things about ourselves and about each other.

Andy was a big part of our week and we had a great time together. Seeing the two of them coalescing with my team of builders and tool-makers was satisfying.

We held a little recital and people from Taylor walked over. I talked about the guitars and told the group what we were up to. People wondered what I’m planning to do with all this, and the answer is that I don’t know. Maybe a classical will come out of Taylor sometime, and probably will, but I always start with a guitar that inspires me. I still have a lot to learn but I’m on a good path and can experiment on my own now.

Marija played, and Pepe Sr played, to a room full of Taylor Guitars staffers. I was proud to have them both there, so happy that they’d think enough of what we were doing to come and be a part. It was one of those inspirational moments that you love to experience. People began loading up and going home. Andy and Pepe drove off together since they live by each other, in Oceanside, and had been car pooling all week. There they went, my two guitar making buddies, each, nearly thirty years younger than me. It was like camp was over and we all had to say goodbye. Kinda bittersweet, ya know?

I learned a lot that week. I already know how to make a guitar so I didn’t have to learn basic skills of guitar making like someone going off to Spain to study classical guitar construction. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I have the basics down, if I do say so myself. I plan to make a classical guitar every week until I figure out my own style.

Later, when everyone had gone, my wife, Cindy, and I were sitting with Marija while she was quietly checking out the guitars. When she was finished I put a 12-fret Grand Concert in her lap, plugged the ES into a California Blond amplifier and encouraged her to play. She was scared. She’d never played a steel string before, or a guitar with a pickup. She thought it would tear up her hands and spit them into the sky. But she started in and she played it like she was born to play it, gaining confidence with every measure. It thrilled her to no end. It was effortless, and the sound was so big. Being a flamenco player she’s got a monster right hand and she knew what to do with it. I videoed it on my iphone. I’ll save that video.

It was a fitting end to the ultimate “You got your chocolate on my peanut butter” week.

Back to top

2010 Comments from Deb Barker, GE Executive, about Marija Temo for Taylor/GE Capital Ad

“Hi, this is Deb Barker. There’s been a lot of curiosity about me and my body double in the GE Capital/Taylor commercial. Marija Temo is phenomenal Flamenco player, and she was delighted to help us by capturing your imagination in that awesome riff (same technology as Avatar used to transpose my head on her body). Marija and I are hearing the commercial has inspired people to play – What’s better than that? Please keep supporting the Music industry, they need you – Peace!”

A report from GE capital regarding the GE/Taylor guitar commercial had the following question to and statement from Deb Barker (GE Executive):

“Is that really you playing the guitar?”

“I would love it to be me, but although I’m learning there’s no way I could play that amazing riff! In the advert we wanted a light-hearted moment at the end to illustrate the close working relationships and connection GE Capital has with its customers – the surprise expert guitar playing at the end of the advert hopefully illustrated that in a nice, amusing way. To create the scene we used some movie magic to transpose my head onto the body of a wonderfully talented player named Marija Temo. Marija is a classically trained Flamenco player – one of a few in the USA. No doubt Marija will have long lasting positive effects from this commercial, as the interest in her and her craft has increased significantly. She is an amazing artist!”

Back to top

2008 Article- WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
RENOWNED FLAMENCO GUITARIST, DANCER VISITS ALMA MATER

ARTICLE, May 2008, The Bath Country Journal, Bath, OH, By Nancy Ivan

Editor’s Note: BCJ frequently receives word about former residents who are out in the world doing interesting things and leading fascinating lives. Whenever we can, we will bring you their “stories.” In the first piece below, a former resident came back to us.

This past March, Marija Temo wowed Revere Middle and High schools students with her flamenco/classical guitar/dance demonstration. She had her audience of energetic teens singing in Spanish, tapping their shoes and clapping their hands at the passion and rhythm of the music.

An honoree in the Revere High School Hall of Fame, Marija visited her hometown of Bath and gave an hour-long demonstration at Revere Middle School. The Flamenco troupe that performed with her as she sang and played the guitar included Bruce Catalano, guitarist and her first flaenco guitar teacher; Martha Sidahamed, her first dance teacher; Teo Morcha, renowned Mexican dancer; and Marta, singer.

Described by critics as a “triple threat,” Marija is widely recognized as a virtuoso classical/flamenco guitarist, flamenco vocalist/dancer and conductor. Her unique specialty is to combine all her talents in a single performance. The guitar she plays is a “Marija Temo” Model flamenco/classical hybrid TM, which she helped to design with luthier Tom Rodriguez.

Marija was “back home” to join the Baldwin Wallace (B-W) College Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of Tango Fantasy, a work composed by Dr. Loris Chobanian, Composer-in-Residence at B-W, and the second piece written for her.

Flamenco is all about rhythm and emotion. The singing originates in the throat and is exciting and passionate. But the words could portray a longing for love or something as unemotional as a description of boats or Spain, according to Marija.

A trio of her first guitar teachers, Edward Mahoney, her grandfather, who played an acoustic steel stringed instrument, and Flamenco teacher Bruce Catalano are credited for her early instruction. She added that her mother liked Flamenco music, and her parents would go to Jose´ Greco concerts, which also fanned Marija’s interest. Her first dance teacher, Martha Sidahmed, led her to her first professional career step, the Fairmount Spanish Dance Company.

Exposure to the music at an early age and encouraging Revere Schools’ teachers helped nurture her in her cradle of eminence, she said. Mary Mounts, her “fantastic” Spanish teacher at Eastview Jr. High School, let Marija work Flamenco singing into the fabric of the class and helped her develop as a musician.

Teacher David Peters was amazing; he instilled values of integrity and honesty; Jerry Fry, my counselor, was always there for advice; Mr. Fuller was so much fun; Debby Devore, Mary Ryan and Julie Lehman were wonderful, creative music teachers,” added Marija.

Mr. Peters, who teaches at Revere Middle School, remembered that “Marija always persevered in what she attempted. She never gave up.”

Marija is a former faculty member of the Preparatory of the Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University, where she founded the Flamenco Guitar Program. She has her master’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and her bachelor’s degree from the B-W College Conservatory of Music.

Solo concert highlights, involving Marija’s programs of classical/flamenco guitar and voice (and sometimes an additional flamenco dancer), have been featured at several guitar festivals and music and guitar series in the United States and abroad.

Among her award highlights, she has received a citation from the Governor of Maryland for her selection for the 2000 Maryland State Arts Council’s “Individual Artist Award in Solo Instrumental Performance”; an Alumni-Achievement Award from her college alma mater; induction into the Revere High School “Hall of Fame,” together with a music award entitled, “The Marija Temo Award.” She has also performed for dignitaries around the world, including the former Spanish Ambassador, Don Jaime de Ojeda; the Crown Prince of Spain; former Vice President Al Gore; and eminent dancer Jose Greco.

In a question-and-answer period following the demonstration, Marija told the students to “Be yourself; be honest; don’t let peer pressure get in the way of what you want to do. Support each other’s individuality.”

When asked how long it took to learn to play, she responded, “I’m still learning.” When asked whether she played the video game Guitar Hero she replied, “No, but I’m sure I could beat it!”
For more about this Revere alumna, her Web site is www.marijatemo.com.

Back to top

2008 Article
TRIPLE THREAT’ BRINGS FLAMENCO FLAIR TO CLASSICAL GUITAR

ARTICLE, Wed. April 16, 2008, The Gazette, Gaithersburg, MD, by Patricia M. Murret, Staff Writer

Fingers flying, elbows erect, classical guitarist Marija Temo punctuates her performances with powerful flamenco strums.

‘‘I’m definitely combining the styles,” said Temo of Gaithersburg. ‘‘What’s really fun at this stage in my life is that I’m finally able to explore both the classical and the flamenco in my work.”

She was first drawn to flamenco at age 6, when the intensity of the music ‘‘gave me goose bumps” and made her feel as if she was being pulled through a tunnel into another world, she said during an interview in her Olde Towne apartment.

Trained as a virtuoso classical and flamenco guitarist, Temo is considered a ‘‘triple threat” in the symphony world, according to former teacher Loris Chobanian. Using her experience as a flamenco vocalist, dancer and conductor, she adapts flamenco styles and rhythms to classical Spanish guitar repertoires and performs them with an orchestra.

‘‘I figure if you love something enough, you continually find a way to make it work,” said Temo of charting her own path as a musician.

On March 5, Temo debuted ‘‘Tango Fantasy” in a performance at the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory in her native Akron, Ohio. She was accompanied by the Baldwin-Wallace Symphony Orchestra, and a live recording is now being prepared for release.

The music, written by Chobanian, Baldwin-Wallace’s composer-in-residence, combines characteristics of the Argentinean tango, flamenco tango of Andalusia, Spain and Middle Eastern melodies.

‘‘In the Spanish flamenco area, women are not considered to be classical guitarists,” Chobanian said. ‘‘They are only supposed to sing and dance and clap, but [Temo] could match any man in that capacity and do the rest of it too. I think many men are intimidated by her.”  The intuition Temo brings to her work goes well beyond technique and performing the notes, he said.

Temo began studying flamenco dance at 6, classical guitar at 8 and flamenco guitar at 11. She has performed flamenco professionally as a singer, dancer, guitarist and conductor since 16. But after she earned a Master of Music from the Johns Hopkins University Peabody Institute in Baltimore in 1993.

Temo decided to ‘‘up the ante” on her own and introduced flamenco into her classical guitar performances. The risk turned out to be a path of promise.

Temo has performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at least 16 times, she said. She has performed with symphonies in Alexandria, Va., Hilton Head, S.C., Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta,Canada, and Ocean City, N.J. She has also given solo concerts at world-renowned guitar festivals in the U.S. and abroad.

Likewise, she has planned a May workshop with Swedish flamenco dancer Ulrika Frank to help flamenco dancers, guitarists and singers better enhance one another in their performances. The workshop, ‘‘Solving the Flamenco Puzzle with Ulrika Frank and Marija Temo” will be held at Collective Dance studio in Washington, D.C.

Temo points to imaginary students and asks what unique gifts each brings to a sheet of music. ‘‘When you’re on stage, you’re transmitting your individuality and your gift,” she said. ‘‘And how can you put a price on that?”

Back to top

2008 Atlanta interview Frank/Temo workshop April 2008
Piecing it together
Ulrika Frank and Marija Temo teach workshop students to “listen, react, and respond.”
By Cristina Bermudez for jaleole.com

Solving the Flamenco Puzzle is set for April 24-26 in Atlanta. For more information, visit jaleole.com’s events page.

In preparation for the upcoming communication workshop “Solving the Flamenco Puzzle,” which will be led by Perla Flamenca founder Ulrika Frank and world-renowned guitarist Marija Temo, I asked these two artists a few questions about what is needed in order to be well-rounded and clear when communicating within a cuadro. By communicating, of course, I do not mean verbally, but rather, quite the opposite: how is it that a dancer, guitarist, and singer can sense and be sure of what the other will do without saying a single word? Here are the answers from all 3 perspectives. Marija fills us in from a guitarist’s and singer’s point of view while Ulrika speaks from the dancer’s side.

CRISTINA: What are the basic steps that lead a dancer to be able to communicate with her musicians? Theoretically, what does she/he need in order to communicate well?

MARIJA: From a guitarist and singer’s perspective, the essentials that are needed include: having a good grasp of the compás and the different rhythmic variations that occur within a certain palo; being able to clearly identify and see how the compás and rhythmic variations are being accented through the dancer’s body movements and footwork; and anticipating and clearly seeing the structure provided by the dancer — for example, llamada for the singer, letra, escobilla, and llamada to finish.

For a guitarist to feel inspired and want to create or apply certain falsetas, and for a singer to sing a different type of letra that can be sung more climactically or sensitively or maybe extended in certain ways, the dancer needs to be able to listen, follow, and interpret (through body movement and steps) the musical interpretation of the guitar and cante. This comes from listening to and analyzing letras and guitar falsetas with regard to musical structure.

ULRIKA: The basic elements that a dancer needs to be able to communicate with his/her musicians are knowledge and awareness, which means that any achieved theoretical skills have to be put into practice at classes or workshops with a significant amount of loyalty, so the dancer constantly is aware of all participants. To be able to have an open communication — a kind of flowing flamenco conversation — is not only about expressing yourself; it is more about listening than replying, which is especially important when you’re learning…and you never cease to learn!

CRISTINA: What are some of the misconceptions about dancing to live music (some common misconceptions being that one should start out by learning with CDs, then progress to live music; that only advanced dancers can dance to live music, etc.)?

ULRIKA: Anyone can dance to any flamenco music! It all depends on what level you want to achieve. The more advanced you become, the more you learn that there are certain keys you have to pay attention to. That is when we go to classes and workshops, hopefully with live accompaniment and well-educated teachers. To start out by learning with CDs is not the best way to learn about the structure of the music, but in many cases, it is the only way, since there are fewer musicians than dancers. What is important, however, is to find a good mentor to guide you if you are learning to CDs, so you know what to listen for.

MARIJA: When dancers are performing choreographies live that have been set to specific recordings, they should be advised not to expect musicians to perform a letra or falseta exactly as it is on the recording, meaning every accent, the exact amount of compáses, etc. In general, the dancer should always be able to follow the musician’s way of performing the material or to welcome the musician’s contribution of his/her own falseta or letra.

CRISTINA: What are the key aspects of good communication between baile, cante, and toque (full cuadro communication), and how will you go about teaching these at the upcoming workshop?

ULRIKA: How to learn the ability to converse flamenco (to express, listen, act, and react while you are dancing, which may differ, depending on what music you are listening to, live or recorded) is what the “Solving the Flamenco Puzzle” workshop is all about. By knowing the basic structure of the choreography — the verses, the music, and, of course, the technique — you learn how to dance with self-confidence. The goal is to be able to dance your choreography to any singer, guitarist, or other musicians, and to be able to follow as well as lead.

MARIJA: Listen, react, and respond. The goal is interpretation — to be able to focus not on the steps, not on the chord progression, not on the letra, but on how to perform them by reacting to what you hear.

This workshop centers on how to listen to and interpret a letra of cante. A letra of soleá, with its variations in structure and melody, will be presented. Dancers will learn choreography options for the different musical and structural ways the letra can be sung, guitarists will learn the chordal and rhythmic accompaniment for the letra while accompanying the dancers, and singers will learn the form of the letra and its variations, with attention placed on accentuations, key pitches, and dynamic contrasts in order to convey how the singing is to be accompanied and interpreted by the dancers and guitarists.

This workshop is highly unique not only in the topic to be presented, but also in its approach. Ulrika and Marija have collaborated to provide a unified workshop experience for everyone (guitarists, dancers, and singers) to have the opportunity to work together through the choreography options presented by Ulrika and the musical options presented by Marija.

Enjoy the workshop and above all remember the essence of flamenco: being confident in who you are and what you are trying to express. Only then will you be open to the journey.

Solving the Flamenco Puzzle is set for April 24-26 in Atlanta. For more information, visit jaleole.com’s events page.

Back to top

2017 Review
Classical Guitar Magazine
Alvaro Pierri’s Spanish Magic, Fun with Crazy Nails, and a Blast of Flamenco: Report from GFA, Pt. 3
June 24, 2017

Marija Temo’s program was heavily rooted in the flamenco tradition, though she certainly puts her own spin on it. She played one straight classical guitar piece, but mostly showcased her formidable flamenco guitar chops and her singingher voice is a commanding instrument, with incredible power and control; it wells up from a place deep inside her and then seems to burst out of her small frame. It was a stirring performance, capped by her “flamenco-ized” (her word) arrangement of of the Paraguayan National Folk Song, Pajaro Chogui. Very entertaining.

Back to top

2017 Review
Soundboard Vol. 43 No. 3 29
THE 2017 GFA CONVENTION AND COMPETITION: Multiple Panoramas

By Robert Ferguson

Click here for full article: GFA_Soundboard 43_3_MultPanoramas

1. Performance Panorama

…”Throughout these performances the level of musicianship from every player neared perfection… “Marija Temo delivered one of the most original performances of the week, featuring mostly flamenco guitar solos and songs. In the latter, her guitar accompanied her own singing—a rarity in that style genre. ”

2. Instrumental Media Panorama

“The spectrum of guitar types, guitar groupings, and historical instruments in play also contributed to the week’s panoramic view of the instrument. I already cited Robert Barto’s vihuela and lute, Marija Temo’s flamenco guitar and voice, and the guitar duos and orchestras that appeared in the concert series, all of which expanded upon the prevailing solo classical guitar model.”

2017 Review
In remembrance of the GFA Convention and Competition 2017 in Fullerton, California

Strong Force
by Robert Ferguson
Soundboard Vol. 43 No. 3 37
Click here for full article: GFA_Soundboard 43_3_Poem

5.
Marija, silver eyelids,
scarves on her shoulders–
her sad cante jondo,
her waves of solea
enter our bloodstreams.

Back to top

2012 Review, Marija Temo and Ulrika Frank with the Kennett Symphony
Kennett Symphony Fills Longwood With Sounds of Spain

June 25, 2012, The Kennett Paper, Kennett Square, PA, Caryl Huffaker, Social Editor.

Last Saturday the Kennett Symphony of Chester County performed an unusual entire program of Spanish and Mexican music at Longwood Gardens. This was an opportunity for the Symphony audience to have their musical knowledge broadened, thanks to the continuing expansion of music classics chosen by Director/Conductor Mary Woodmansee Green. It was unfortunate that ”Homage to Garcia Lorca” by the alcoholic composer Silvestre Revueltas was the opening piece, as it was universally disliked by both the audience and the musicians who played it. Lorca deserved better. Full of strident, disjointed spurts of music and odd syncopations the orchestra played well what was written but even outstanding trumpet solos by Luis Engelke couldn’t rescue it totally. One wonders the reason it has survived as a standard in Mexican music. One audience member was heard to say, “It sounded to me like the music sounds I used to hear as a child on Coney Island.”

Highlighting the program was the flamenco dancing of Ulrika Frank who stomped and strutted like an Angel from the gypsy caves of Granada though she is really a native of Sweden. When her expressive hands flew like swooping birds her dancing had tremendous impact. Particularly impressive was her sustained foot tapping and her stomping while balanced only on her high heels.

Frank was accompanied by Marija Temo, who is a virtuoso in classical and flamenco guitar, as well as a flamenco vocalist, conductor and former dancer. Her performing of “Concierto de Aranjuez by the blind composer Joaquin Rodigo showed her classical training by her strong authority and crisp playing. The orchestra never overwhelmed the power of her guitar playing which may have been aided by a special trick she uses. To ensure that her fingernails are strong enough to play the guitar she glues parts of ping-pong balls to her nails – no kidding. Strange, but it works.

The second half of the program was the frequently performed Ballet Suite from “El Armor Brujo” by Manuel de Falla that contained among its twelve parts several familiar melodies heard frequently as background music. This was enlivened by dramatic appearances by Temo and Frank in several of the sections, which helped clarify the numerous sections of the musical story. The symphony showed off its ability in this series of constantly changing themes.

As this music did not require a large orchestra, the Symphony was in Classical size, and it did look a little sparse on stage. While I personally like to hear a  fully plumped out large orchestra, with the recent cancellation of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra’s entire year due to budget short falls, I grant the smaller classical orchestra  sounded  great, I just like more musicians and instruments. But I salute the Kennett Symphony Board for fiscal responsibility. Companies that helped underwrite the concert were Star Roses, Star Plants of the Conard Pyle Co., the HeLP Fund of the Hutton Family and Longwood Foundation.

The next concert by the Kennett Symphony will be “Water Music: Titanic 100 Years” on Saturday, August 18 at Longwood Gardens. To buy tickets, call 610-444-6363. This should be a beautiful concert.

Back to top

2012 Review- Marija Temo, guest singer, El Amor Brujo, with the Peridance Contemporary Dance Co., NYC, 5/7/12
To read original review click here: Peridance Contemporary Dance Company

Oberon’s Grove, May 07, 2012 by Philip Gardner
Above: from an APAP showing of Igal Perry’s
EL AMOR BRUJO, photo by Kokyat.

Sunday May 6, 2012 – The New York City premiere of Igal Perry’s EL AMOR BRUJO along with new works by choreographers Kristin Sudeikis and Sidra Bell and an appearance by Jose Manuel Carreno made for a very impressive evening of dance as Peridance Contemporary Dance Company commenced the first of two weekends of performances at Peridance. A second Igal Perry’s new work, to Henryk Górecki’s String Quartet # 3, featured a live quartet led by cellist Nan-Cheng Chen while the Manuel de Falla score of EL AMOR BRUJO was performed by the PostClassical Ensemble conducted by Angel Gil-Ordóñez and featuring Flamenco vocalist Marija Temo. Special guest star Jose Manuel Carreño, former principal dancer at American Ballet Theater, appeared on the first weekend only.

In the opening work, Igal Perry’s CONFLICTED TERRAIN, the excellence and appeal of the individual dancers was immediately evident – among them Oberon’s Grove favorites Leigh Lejoi and Kentaro Kikuchi. The opening movement dealt with relationships in conflict, giving way to a more animated ensemble section. The Gorecki score was played live by a fine quartet of musicians seated on small platforms; these were wheeled around the space from time to time – a bit too fussy of an idea, especially since the choreography and dancing were powerful enough to stand their ground without distraction. Nevertheless, the cumulative effect of the piece was very pleasing indeed both from a musical and choreographic viewpoint.

Though using less persuasive music, Kristin Sudeikis’ I AM YOU was equally absorbing to watch. A sexy, free-wheeling opening passage allowed us to savour the dancers as individuals; this evolved into a more sculptural slow movement. Perhaps the only miscalculation came with the grandiose musical phrase that opened the concluding segment; the choreographer allowed this opportunity for a visual coup to pass, though she soon got back into an exciting groove. Again the dancers looked superb.

Guest artist Jose Manuel Carreno (above, in a John Rocca photo) performed an Igal Perry solo set to the Schubert Ave Maria which was played live – and beautifully – by a trio of young musicians. If the music is thrice-familiar, I never tire of hearing it. Jose Manuel’s smoothly flowing movement indicated – but did not dwell on – the spirituality implied by the music; clad in simple jeans and a t-shirt he moved in a pool of light, sometimes stretching into sustained arabesques that showed off his trademark perfection of line. Always one of the handsomest of dancers, he basked at the end in sustained applause.

Hazy smoke then filled the space as the dancers in leather straps and see-thru tops commenced Sidra Bell’s THE UNGATHERED. Set, as so many danceworks these days are, to generic and vaguely ominous club music with some kind of uninteresting spoken narrative mixed in, the work was gorgeously lit and had some provocative choreography along the way but it simply went on too long, in the end becoming random. Periodically the dancers would rush to the walls and attempt to climb out of this purgatorial place. It seemed rather telling that this work received the evening’s most subdued applause; there’s some really fine stuff here – and some ultra-sexy dancers involved – but it desperately needs to be pared down.

At last the piece de resistance: Igal Perry’s EL AMOR BRUJO is a real jewel. With the de Falla score played live by a chamber ensemble seated behind a gossamer white drape, the ballet evolves thru a series of dances which evoke traditional Spanish movement motifs yet remain vividly contemporary. Kudos to flamenco cantante Marija Temo for not using a microphone; her dusky, vivid singing was completely natural and came from the heart. Ms. Temo wandered among the dancers as she sang, becoming a part of the rather abstracted narrative.

Mostly EL AMOR BRUJO is all about the dancing, and how fortunate to have Attila Joey Csiki (above) of the Lar Lubovitch Company heading up the ensemble with his wonderfully sensuous smoothness of style. Nikki Holck was Attila’s partner in duets, and the rest of the dancers impressed yet again. EL AMOR BRUJO is one of the finest danceworks I’ve seen in the past decade, and I hope I’ll have a chance to see it again.

May 07, 2012 | Permalink

Back to top

2012- Review Marija Temo, guest flamenco singer, El Amor Brujo, with the Peridance Contemporary Dance Co., NYC, 5/6/12
Read original review here: Exuberant Evening: Peridance Contemporary Dance is Back!
making Lexi’s Turn, by Wendy Potocki, Posted on May 6, 2012

After six years, the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company is back—their May 5th Spring Opening very much like the season itself. With flash, dash, and exuberance, this young, exciting company refreshes the most jaded palate, reminding us what dance is all about. While all are steeped in the particulars of technique, it’s the emotion exuded that connects us to them, and connect we did.

Five pieces were presented, the selections highlighting different strengths and personas. As a good gardener gives seedlings room to grow, Igal Perry has done this in the selections afforded his young dancers.  With the freedom to express unique rhythms and stories, the entire ensemble sailed through the variations with a spirit and passion that kept us aloft, soaring—and just as importantly—interested.

The first piece, I am you by Kristin Sudekis, opened the night with a bang. Madison McPhal was the dancer of the hour, taking center stage with aplomb and a touch of whimsy. Barebacked and moving her upper torso in time, her scintillating and provocative syncopation was only outdone by that twinkle in her eye. Part vixen and part ballerina, she effectively seduced us with effusive charm that boiled over and set the stage for the rest of the performance. The entire group showed commitment and line, displaying a range of moods and varying temperaments. The music by Ani DFranco and Devotchka (sound editing by Meghan Murphy) was a perfect backdrop for the escapade of interplay, the opening bravado and intriguing rhythm carefully morphing into a commentary on the need to belong. From there, vocalization was effectively integrated. The choice of letting dancers speak is always a tenuous balance, but within the confines of this piece, it worked wonderfully adding flavor and depth.

Other standouts in the piece were Zach Thomas and his partner, Leigh Lijoi. Zach Thomas is simply a marvelous dancer. His line is true, his sincerity obvious, and his movements agile and always on balance. There is a realness about him that kept my eye glued to him throughout the number, and there was never a false note struck. Leigh Lijoi is superb. Exhibiting a classic line and artistic bearing, she has one of the best ear to shoulder lines I’ve seen. Joanna DeFelice was also a pleasure to behold, impressing us with clean turns and confidence. Her line delivered was, “I am strong,” and she sure is.

The second piece was Conflicted Terrain by Igal Perry. Another world premiere, its use of space and assemblage of performers was clever and unique. A string quartet on moving platform was shunted around the stage by means of ropes. This was not diversion, and the vehicle added acoustical interest to the piece. Through the platform traveling and being placed in differing locations, the groupings and interaction between couples was forced to change, giving us a new perspective on the interchange being acted out. It enhanced the entire story, lending credibility and visibility to unspoken dreams. The ensemble wove through the patterning, building to the crescendo. By the time, the quartet had been split up into separate units in the back, the dance was full on and rushed from being good into being compelling. It made the build-up worthwhile, and delivered a wallop at the end that was satisfying and much appreciated.

The third piece was Ave Maria as choreographed by Igal Perry and danced by the brilliant Jose Manuel Carreño. What he gave was a performance, as well as a master class in dance. Every single student of the art should be mandated to see what makes a dance watchable, enjoyable and successful in going from mere choreographed steps … into artistry. That is what Mr. Carreño gave us — artistry. Undoubtedly, blessed with savage good looks, a perfect body, and the most exquisite feet this side of Jupiter, it is the language that he delivers that makes it work. He understands that the movements of dance are a language, and like a language, while certain syllables can be accented and enhanced, it’s the totality of the sentence that’s important. Therefore, transition movements are as important as the jete or en dehors turn. How the body arrives at a place is part of the story being told, and not something to be thrown away as unimportant. It’s this single quality, that of making his performance seamless and continuous, that makes him exemplary. Spot on, his entire body sang the melody prescribed. Noted for his turns, they were no less impressive than they’ve ever been. If you’re looking for occasion to run out and get a breath of air, when Mr. Carreño hits one of these never-ending, multiple jewels might be a good time. Even if you have errands to run, he’ll still be spinning by the time you return. Suffice to say the whole piece was magnificent, and by the time the strains of the familiar ending reached my ears, tears were glistening in my eyes. A sincere bravo, Mr. Carreño for giving us line, discipline, and expertly using your talents to tell us another story.

For me, the fourth piece The Ungathered by Sidra Bell was the least successful of the night. The introduction of a haze, set the stage for the brazen challenge of bringing an S&M parlor to life. While the staging, subculture music conglomeration (fabulous editing job, Ms. Bell), and costumes were visually exciting, the effort fell short in not pushing the dancers to create memorable moments. The individual passes made by the leather outfitted grouping exhibited decadence and isolation, but did nothing to originate new movements and positions. Since there was a great deal of time devoted to being on the floor, my mind wandered back to Alvin Ailey’s performance of Treading by Elisa Monte. In that brilliant work, the dancers also spent time on the floor, but time well-spent. Their movements continued to create amazing, sensual shapes that entertained, shocked and shook us to our core. In The Ungathered, they were wasted opportunities for exciting innovation. While this piece was the most avant-garde and risk-taking, it was ultimately the lack of that in choreographic choices that made me want this to be made whole by the infusion of dynamics. If one is going to go in this direction, it should have been taken to its natural conclusion and not cut off at the knees in keeping it tepid with occasional tentative groping.

Not wholly unsatisfying, a sense of desperation ran throughout the piece, as dancers ran into corners and posed in an intriguing simulation of displaying their offerings. From these small, very effective touches, it’s obvious Ms. Bell knows what’s she’s doing, and ultimately, it made me crave where she really wanted to take this piece. Timothy Ward was a standout for me. He’s a dancer with an extremely elegant line that harkens back to another time and place and gives him a decided timeless quality. In this piece, he truly transformed, giving off the right sort of vibe to fit in with the murky cauldron of a sexual pleasure palace. Nikki Holck and Midori Nonaka’s duet at the end was the high point. Ms. Nonaka has perhaps the softest feet in the company, and her natural gentility was overridden by a convincing commitment to the role of sexual provocateur. Ms. Holck matched her determination, and the two ended the work on a strong note. It was the kind of variation that made me wonder why the strength of that choreography was not running throughout the entire piece.

The fifth piece, El Amor Brujo by Igal Perry, was another standout. A Spanish Gypsy love tale, it’s a haunting and absorbing drama. Candela was very nicely portrayed by Nikki Holck. Andrew Trego was fine as José, but the standout for me was Attila Csiki as Carmelo. Simply put, Mr. Csiki is a rock star. An exceedingly attractive dancer, his lines are pure as is his stellar ability to dance with his eyes. He’s one of those performers that make consistent eye contact with his partner and the audience, and I always love, love, love to see this demonstrated. It elevates a performance and aids in enhancing believability of the given scenario. His body is extremely compact, holding tension in only the spots needed, thereby giving his face and arms the ability to relax and breath. His turns are mercurial and I really look forward to seeing more from him.

The adagios where Ms. Holck is partnered by both Ms. Trego and Mr. Csiki were appealing and stimulating. The intrusion of Lucia as performed by Joanna DeFelice made an interesting dynamic, and once more, Ms. DeFelice impressed us with her wise choices and quiet assurance. I enjoy watching her very much and admire her wise choices in what she edits out.

The piece was rounded out by the amazing vocalization of Marija Temo as the Flamenco Singer. Her charisma and charm almost stole the show. I more than once took my eyes off the movements on stage to watch her command and attack. She was a perfect component, interweaving between the dancers and holding her own on an artistic and choreographic level. Kentaro Kikuchi, Leigh Lijoi, Midori Nanaka and Zach Thomas were all extremely well-prepared and whizzed through their variations with wizardry and solid completeness that imbued a security and strength to the production.

All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable night that I am glad I attended. I’m very enthused to see where Mr. Perry will take this company. The thing I love about this ensemble is that it selects dancers on strengths and not on body type. There is a consistent range — the uniformity coming from the hard work of synchronizing movement.

The Peridance Contemporary Dance Company represents everything that is right in the world of dance. They are definitely onto something and I eagerly anticipate witnessing that journey.

Back to top

2011 Review- Flamenco Completo Workshop (Marija Temo & Ulrika Frank) Atlanta GA, 9-16-18/11
Hear and be heard in iayayay! Find good resources, reviews, and ideas, or share your own with others in Atlanta’s flamenco community. Updated OCTOBER 9, 2011

Flamenco Completo

The Flamenco Completo workshop returned to Atlanta in September, and as titled, gave students lessons in flamenco as a whole, in an integrated format with guitar, singing, and dance working together at once. Workshop organizers Gloriela Rosas and Rebecca Money Johnson were impressed in this latest workshop by a new, fearless student, who they say had no flamenco background whatsoever. “She signed up for Level 1. She followed pretty well and understood the concept, but the highlight was at the end when everyone got to do a solo. She was the first one to jump in and do the llamada to Marija. It was quite an achievement for a novice,” said Rosas. The Marija to whom Rosas refers is, of course, Marija Temo, a singer and guitarist who teaches Flamenco Completo with dancer Ulrika Frank, a former instructor in Atlanta.

From the beginner to the experienced, the workshop is a reflection of growth among flamenco students in Atlanta. “Atlanta flamenco students are getting better and better, challenging and asking for more information,” says Rosas. To meet the progressing students, she explains, Frank and Temo use clear demonstrations, prepared charts and varying scenarios that make students think.

jaleole.com

Back to top

2010 Review
The Guitarist Behind the Taylor/GE Capital Ad

By
mike
– July 13, 2010

What a hot player, and a clever ad. They actually dubbed the head of a GE rep onto the body of Marija Temo for this spot. There has been some controversy brewing on the boards but I think the ultimate winners will be Marija and Flamenco. I had not heard of her until now, along with millions I’m sure, but I will be hearing much more. Check out her website and Facebook fan page. You’ll be glad you did. And by the way, it was great seeing Bob Taylor’s face on the screen. He’s one heck of a nice guy with a great product that really invigorated the American guitar making industry. Taylor did to the guitar industry what Toyota, barring recent misfortunes, did to the automotive. He created a product of value that spurred on an entire industry to do better. And we are all beneficiaries.

Support the Artist—marijatemo.com
Marija on Facebook
taylorguitars.com

Anaheim, January 16, 2011—At the Breakfast Session, NAMM awarded this commercial a 2010 Wanna Play? Award, honoring companies outside of the music products industry whose advertisements inspire more people to make music.

·Copyright 2010 mikesgig.com

Mikesgig.com is a site born out of a passion for music and the tools that create it. We will post articles on local and international bands and their music. Our concerts page will list free concerts featuring bands in your area. We cover live events and industry shows like NAMM and will post reviews and videos about musical instruments, recording gear and sound reinforcement products. We will be bringing you news and reviews of the latest and greatest in music making gear as well as retrospectives on iconic products from the industry pioneers. We promote the local bands in cities like: surf city nights, Huntington Beach, Orange County in California, Summer Concert at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Santa Monica Pier at Santa Monica, San Francisco, New York, New York. We also list the hottest gears in music from guitars, keyboards, amps, software, drums, petals, everything that a musician would need. Free Concerts are also listed for the cities and counties of Orange County, Los Angels County, San Diego, San Diego County, including the listing of Orange County night clubs and bars.

Back to top

2009 Review-“BIRMINGHAM TROUPE CORAZON FLAMENCO STOMPS AND TWIRLS IN STEAMY “EL AMOR BRUJO” (Marija Temo, guest flamenco guitarist and singer)
REVIEW, Sept. 2009, The Birmingham News, Birmingham, AL, By Michael Huebner

By definition, flamenco encompasses dance, drama and music. With “El Amor Brujo” (“Love, the Magician”), the Birmingham troupe Corazon Flamenco has stayed true to the genre’s multi-genre, Andalusian roots.

Led by its talented director, Irene Rimer, the company made an impressive showing Saturday at Levite Jewish Community Center with this tale of steamy romance, murder and ghostly apparitions.

Based roughly on the ballet of the same title by Manuel de Falla, it contains snatches of recorded orchestral music and narrative dialogue to push the action along. Rimer’s brilliant choreography served the drama well, but spoken exchanges were weak. Scenes such as Jose’s murder and a meeting with a witch were stilted and needed more coaching. They were rescued only by the dance numbers that followed. Scene changes, some with awkward silence and darkness, needed tightening.

Guitarist and singer Marija Temo impressed on several occasions as she heightened the action and filled interludes. A classical guitarist and orchestral soloist as well as a flamenco expert, Temo possesses immaculate technique and an expressive, penetrating voice. Her accompaniments of Rimer’s dance solos were the most memorable parts of the show. Guitarist Tony Arnold, also a paleontology professor at Florida State University, contributed some beautiful solos and duets. Like classical ballet, flamenco is mostly about dance. Rimer’s choreographic vision thrives on the frenetic stomping and complex heel-to-toe rhythms that drive this centuries-old art form. Ensemble numbers carried out by her well-trained troupe generated a whirlwind of flowing colorful costumes and coordinated movements. Solo numbers, especially those by Rimer and Julia Quijano, combined passion with spectacle. Fine performances were also turned by Carlos Lencina, as Jose, and Cole Companion, as Carmelo.Together with last year’s production of “Blood Wedding” and “El Amor Brujo,” Corazon Flamenco has staged two ballets that filmmaker Carlos Saura tackled in his trilogy of flamenco-inspired dance films. Only “Carmen” remains. If the company is so inclined, it would be a welcome completion of the cycle.Back to top

2006 Review
KDHX Music Review – Flamenco guitarist and vocalist Marija Temo

St. Louis Classical Guitar Society, 10/7/2006
Reviewed by Gary Scott

People who are passionate about what they love are a joy to behold, and their passion is infectious, making all of us cherish the things we love even more. Flamenco guitarist and vocalist Marija Temo certainly falls into that category. Her weekend performances under the auspices of the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society marked her St. Louis debut, hopefully the first of many. Not only did Temo spread her love of the flamenco style, but she also declared herself to be an enthusiastic fan of the St. Louis area, and her words rang with sincerity.

Although still quite young, Temo began her studies of flamenco as a child, having found the rhythm and expressiveness captivating. For many of us, flamenco is indeed the soul of Spanish music, and it is surely one of the greatest gifts that Spain, with all its contributing cultures—Latin, Gypsy, Jewish, Moorish, African–, has bequeathed to us. Unlike those of us who find it difficult enough to master even one performing medium, Temo has studied flamenco guitar, song and dance, and is able to communicate the essence of each.

It can be a challenge to maintain the momentum of a flamenco concert that features only one soloist or a very small group (although those of us who are aficionados would probably never tire of hearing a talented performer), but Temo responded to the challenge by including not just flamenco works, but also traditional Spanish favorites by Albeniz, de Falla and Granados, and even an Argentinian tango. Except for the classical works, most of the pieces were Temo’s own arrangements. Temo was joined on the second half by a local favorite, flamenco dancer Kristina Martinez. The two clearly worked well together, and happily neither overshadowed the other. Martinez is a local talent who should be more widely seen in our community.

Marija Temo’s technical and artistic abilities were impeccable. The beauty of the flamenco style is that it combines aggressive, driving rhythms with subtle and sometimes soft-spoken melodies. Phrasing—perhaps the soul of music—was always intelligent, and was the master of the technique involved, not the other way around. Temo’s accomplishments give credit not only to her own talents, but also to those of her teachers and the Peabody Conservatory, from which she received her master’s degree. Although Temo is above all else a guitarist, her vocal technique should not be underestimated. The flamenco vocal style is a world unto itself, with finely tuned intervals and dynamic gradations. Success in the flamenco style almost requires total immersion into the entire flamenco culture. Indeed, as Temo indicated in a talk on Friday to area schoolchildren, flamenco is a way of life, not only a style.

If I had any criticism at all of the performance, it would be that I would have liked for the guitar to project a little more, even if it required amplification from microphones, and perhaps also I would like to have heard more coloristic effects from the guitar, although this was offset by the addition of dance and vocals to the program. Temo performs on a hybrid classical/flamenco guitar specially designed for her by luthier Tom Rodriguez. The tone is soft and liquid, but here and there a more strident or aggressive tone might serve to highlight even further the more subtle effects that Temo so adroitly achieves.

The St. Louis Classical Guitar Society, under the direction of Bill and Kathy Ash, has long been a strong player in the St. Louis arts scene, as their legions of loyal subscribers will attest. The next scheduled program will feature Spanish guitarist Pablo Sainz-Villegas on November 4 at the Ethical Society. For additional information, contact the Society at 314-567-5566.

Back to top


Leave a Reply

 

Copyright 2005-2020 Marija Temo. All Rights Reserved.
Website maintained by New Blood, Inc.