How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
The Mediterranean region is a source of great inspiration. I have been traveling on holiday almost every year to the south of France, most times to a nice little town called Sainte-Maxime, often to a beautiful residence with the name Villa Azur where I can sit in the garden and look out at the sea. This inspired the tune ‘Villa Azur’ on the “Guitar Island” CD. I love the Mediterranean panoramas. This French region known as Provence has inspired many famous painters including Cezanne, Van Gogh, Renoir, Matisse and Picasso; and it is surely more than a random coincidence that the Gipsy Kings, with their exciting music, live in Provence.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
I started as a classical guitarist until I heard Ottmar Liebert (a fellow German transplanted to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the United States) on the radio appropriately playing the tune “Santa Fe.” It was like a stroke of lightning. That was the sound I had been searching for. It was the alchemy of uniting beautiful melodies with the intensity of flamenco. It aroused my enthusiasm. I named my band Luna Blanca as a “tip of the hat” homage to Liebert’s band.
What elements do you look for in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?
Many classical flamenco guitarists simply aim at virtuosity, but I prefer the romantic and melodious aspect. I always loved discovering new directions of style and other techniques. It was always my intention to play emotional music capable of reaching the hearts of those who listen.
What are you most proud of at this point in your life and career?
That we had a Top 10 recording on the Zone Music Reporter international chart. Our album “Provence” hits No. 7 on this worldwide Top 100 Radio Airplay Chart in October 2010.
Going back in your life as far as you can remember, what song or performance is the first you recall hearing and being affected by?
I began playing guitar at age 12, initially inspired by Trini Lopez in the movie ‘The Poppy is Also a Flower’ and soon got hooked on the electric guitar rock’n’roll sounds of groups such as The Shadows and The Spotnicks. Eventually I became passionate about classical guitar and artists such as Andres Segovia, and in 1995 I hired a well-known guitar-maker, Hermann Hauser, to craft a custom acoustic. I explicitly asked him to produce a guitar which would produce a soft sound which is why he made the top out of cedar.
What’s your absolute favorite part of the World, and why?
Provence, the southeastern region of France, known for its painterly sunlight, mistral wind, scenery, wine, food and ambience. And now it serves as the title and inspiration for our fourth album “Provence” by Luna Blanca.