Robert Fripp String Quintet + open talk by RF in Buenos Aires

Date or timeframe: 07-05-1993 / 08-05-1993
Venue: Teatro Coliseo, EMBA
City: Buenos Aires
Country: Argentina
Category(-ies): / /

It was in 1993 when I had my first personal contact with Guitar Craft, after listening to LCG recordings and reading articles in Guitar Player magazine…all that belonged to a world beyond my reach, to the “first world” countries that were somewhere in the opposite hemisphere, where the “rock stars” came from. But I read over and over again those articles, not understanding much of what was written with my basic English language, but still something in the way things were said reached me: this was what I was looking for.

Then, it happened: the RF String Quintet had landed in Buenos Aires for two shows, featuring Robert, Trey, and the California Guitar Trio. I remember those two nights very well: the entrance of the band surrounding the audience and then entering the stage from the middle corridor temporarily blocked by Argentinean musician Charly Garcia, Trey playing Bach on the stick, Kan-non Power and the colourful shirts the trio was wearing, the electric solo from Robert. The first night, around half show, I stood up and walked to the front row of sits, sitting down on the floor in front of Robert. I was too far away, I wished to be there, as if being closer I could absorb and learn from the guitarist. The life-changing moment for me was the encore. The band came out with acoustic instruments, standing by the edge of the stage–the audience was also standing and completely surrounding the stage, a supportive and loving multitude–. There I was, squeezed right in the middle of the frozen people, everyone eyes wide open in awe, while that magical music sounded. I still remember the smiles of the musicians, the noise of the picking, and those rapid patterns sounding though my heart: it was the first time I listened to Calliope.

The second night I didn’t have money for a ticket, but showed up at the theatre door and waited. The performance was about to end when a member of the support team appeared, and let me in after I begged and cried. After the show, I waited outside the greenrooms with a group of 15 or 20 people. Trey and the CGT came out and talked with us, I think it was Paul that said that if we stayed quietly Robert may come and talk to us. We waited, and Robert came. I asked if he would come and teach in Argentina, the response was that it was a possibility. Then the people present there was invited to a talk to be held the next day at a music school.

The next day I was there again, standing by the entrance of the music school. Robert appeared and stood outside with the people waiting, the school was still closed. I greeted him with a “good morning” and pulled out my CD copy of Three of a Perfect Pair, that he signed. Then there was the talk, with Hernán and Uki on the small stage, translating. He talked about music, music being alive, silence…we clapped 5 against 7. After the talk, Robert stayed signing CDs in the street, with Hernán by his side.

I asked Hernán about the Courses, but he said that he wasn’t teaching and there weren’t any Courses being prepared. It was later in the year that the California Guitar Trio came back for a series of performances, and a workshop was given. Then an article in a newspaper, stating that there was going to be a Guitar Craft Course in Argentina and that it was almost full…I phoned the newspaper and got Hernán’s phone number…but I was told he was in Germany. Insisted, insisted, and then months later we met. I got English lessons, got a job to pay for an Ovation guitar…

And this is how it began for me.

Pablo Mandel

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