Watching videos of Sabicas playing is frustrating; he made playing flamenco seem so natural and effortless. Man had chops!!! I had the great fortune of learning flamenco – if only for a few months – from one of his favorite students in NY, Dennis Koster. Here’s a clip of Dennis from the 2007 NY Guitar Festival.
Therefore, I know how hard it is to get the rasgueado (translation: strumming) to flow smoothly – toughest thing I had to deal with. Sabicas’s rasgueado technique was the 4 finger firing off consecutively – and not a common one among guitarists. Well, take a look at this video to see what I mean. Just try positioning your fingers and extend each digit, starting with the pinky, to see how confused your fingers get. I used to practice that with my fist, knuckles facing away from the the side of my legs.
Anyway, I was able to learn a Tangos, Solearas, Alegrias, and Bulerias piece each during those months from one on one lessons with Dennis and his books. Ask me if I even remember how they went. I wish I didn’t have to stop taking lessons. I want to go back some day.