Sunday, September 14, 2008

In Review---Native American Classical

Gabriel Ayala
(Music for Classical Guitar)
Canyon Records

According to the Canyon Records website where Yaqui classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala is featured, classical guitar playing takes much dedication. Not only that, to learn the techniques which must later be augmented by a palette of musical emotions, involves many lonely hours of just getting it right. However, any loneliness an artist feels would be compensated by performing such luxurious music.

On his debut Canyon Records album, Portraits (Music for Classical Guitar), Ayala performs challenging compositions and does this so well that it seems natural and easy for him. His dedication has paid off in numerous ways. First he chose a wide canvas in which to express himself that includes French composer Erik Satie's popular Gymnopedia No 1, Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz's Leyenda from Suite Espanola, J.S. Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D minor and the Celtic Wild Mountain Thyme, among other classics. Then he deftly moves through this musical territory leaving some listeners breathless, no doubt.

Ayala's approach bypasses pyrotechnics found in some classical or flamenco guitar work, and instead follows a steady and thoughtful course. Ayala plays from his heart, but his mind also navigates. And in fact, this approach comes off as holistic in that Ayala plays with mind-body-soul intact. This music feels healthy to my body and I highly recommend it, especially as morning music.

The CD might be musically-challenging for the performer, but is easy for listeners to immerse themselves. This enjoyable repertoire, colored with many emotions and expertly rendered, can leave listeners feeling relaxed and clear-headed. This music lends itself well to work that involves focus concentration, such as writing blog articles.

You can learn more about Gabriel Ayala at or

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