On Guitar: Simon Thacker

Pashyanti is a Sanskrit word meaning the junction point between the waking state and pure consciousness. Not often in that state myself I sought enlightenment at Summerhall to hear Scottish guitar virtuoso Simon Thacker draw on his extensive knowledge of diverse musical cultures – especially Indian, Bengali, and Bangladeshi, to form a fusion of sound that also references flamenco, Gaelic folklore, and Sephardic music.

The result should be anarchic but is curiously pleasing and captivating. It’s as if a wildly talented child had captured a guitar to improvise their most vivid, imaginative, creative thoughts. It’s scat for guitar, free-flowing, unstructured, yet somehow inevitable.

In more structured mode Thacker’s rendition of La Catedral by Agustin Barrios Mangore is superb, atmospheric and evocative. Composed in 1921, this work portrays the bells and smells of Montevideo at that time.

To conclude his programme Thacker uses a loop that has the guitar echoing to itself in an ethereal multi-layered and extremely pleasing fashion. He has vast experience playing at major festivals around the world, as well as running Ritmata, a collaboration with three European improvisers.

Thacker’s show iis n person at Summerhall is on until August 29th, but the music is also available online with a 35 minute video featuring dancer Aishwarya Raut in different stunning locations accompanying him. A delight for the awakened senses.


Summerhall until August 29th

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