A Journey to the Edge of the World
In 2010, Tom moved to Manchester to study Popular Music and Recording at the University of Salford, initially as an electric guitarist and songwriter. During during the second-year Ethnomusicology module, Tom began to learn about flamenco and attended the April Feria (festival) in Seville in April 2012.
Years later, Tom returned to the University of Salford to study a Master's Degree in Music (Performance) and began seriously studying how to play flamenco guitar accompaniment for dancers in 2017.
Tom began learning with Manchester-based tutors Nick Wilkinson and Glenn Sharp, in addition to private tuition from further afield, including John Walsh (Dublin) and Samuel Moore (Leeds).
At this time, Tom began accompanying flamenco dance classes at Instituto Cervantes and started rehearsing weekly with dancer Allie Herrmann. Tom has been honoured to attend workshops delivered by Paco Pena, Jose Manuel Leon, Jose Alamarcha and Juan Martin. These events and workshops are often organised by local flamenco groups such as Flamenco de Leeds and Flamenco Manchester.
Thanks to these incredible experiences, Tom was able to achieve the highest-ever performance mark (96) at University of Salford, scoring "Outstanding" on every single assessment criteria, as a guitarist accompanying a flamenco dancer and singer.
In 2020, Tom graduated with the top grade of Distinction and now performs and teaches across the region, often alongside Allie. They are available to book for private performances, venues and festivals, in addition to delivering workshops for dancers and guitarists.
In June 2021, Tom teamed up with Sanchez and Rigg, a Spanish-Scottish dance and music duo, based in Glasgow, Scotland. The trio have so far performed at together Mortal Man in the Lake District, Seven Bro7hers Brewery in Manchester and Craigdarroch Arms in Moniaive, Scotland.
See social media for upcoming gigs and events!
What is Flamenco?
Flamenco is a term used to describe a variety of musical and dance styles from Andalusia in the South of Spain, taking influences from gitano (gypsy), Arabic and Jewish music.
In 2010, the United Nations declared flamenco to be one of the "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity." It's complex rhythmic structure (compas) and idiosyncratic harmony (sometimes called to as Phrygian Dominant tonality) gives flamenco it's unique flavour.
The role of the guitarist is to accompany the singer and dancer, following the harmonic and rhythmic arcs of each, whilst appropriately improvising and responding to their musical and non-verbal cues.
The palos (styles) of flamenco serve as traditional vehicles for expressing the human condition. The grief in Seguiriyas, the joy of Alegrias and the solitude in Solea are universal human experiences that we all share.
It is the role of the flamenco artist to transmute these emotions to the audience, abstractly, and to improvise with reverence within the framework provided by the tradition.