Meet the preteen Calgary flamenco guitarist turning heads internationally
'You can’t go to the bars after the shows,' 11-year-old Harry Knight says of the drawback to being so young
He's an accomplished flamenco guitarist who has performed around the world, most recently for an Australian talent show called Little Big Shots.
And here's the kicker: He's 11 years old.
"It was mainly my dad, because he was always teaching students around the house," Harry Knight told The Homestretch of his introduction to the flamenco guitar.
"At first I was going to do the drums, when I was 4½ years old, but I decided at the last minute to go with guitar."
He likes that instrument and music style, for a bunch of reasons.
"I like the tone, the culture of the Spanish music, how everyone enjoys it. It's different than all the new stuff you hear. It's warm and really bright at the same time. It's like a mix between a classical guitar and a banjo," Knight said.
"Usually there will be Spanish singers and sometimes flamenco dancers and percussion on a drum called the cajón. Some of it is Arabic sounding, some is more Hawaiian sounding."
'You can improvise more'
The flamenco guitar is different than other types of guitars, Knight says.
"They are usually yellow or orange, with nylon strings, not steel strings. Usually they have a capo on the second fret. There are many different techniques. There is a thing called tremolo, where you play five notes every beat. It is really fast," he said.
"You need to have really long fingernails on your right hand to do the finger picking. You can improvise more with a flamenco guitar, compared to a classical guitar. It is more happy, active music."
The 11-year-old says usually his young age is a benefit.
"It's a little different, because you can't go to the bars after the show. But it's fun playing with professionals and other kids that are just really, really good."
Knight has spent weeks in Madrid training with an expert flamenco guitarist and was even featured last year on the Australian youth talent show, Little Big Shots.
Fortunately, Calgarians don't have to travel overseas to hear him. He's performing at The University Theatre on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
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With files from The Homestretch.