Peter Walker in the key of E at UC Irvine

I first heard of Peter Walker a couple of years back when the half-tribute album/half his own work effort A Raga for Peter Walker came out. I was quite impressed and end up writing a review of it for the All Music Guide some time later.

Here at UC Irvine, a KUCI regular, Sam Farzin, has been doing yeoman’s work in making the campus a good place for all sorts of bands to play at or near — and as a result UCI is now at its best for such shows since the early 1990s, when my friend Jen Vineyard helped oversee or contribute towards a slew of memorable shows ranging from noontime free performances to concert hall tours. Sam’s group helping do all this is Acrobatics Everyday — you can also find them on Facebook — and I strongly encourage spreading the word about them — and any musicians reading this should check it out if they’re heading towards OC and think they could fit the bill! (Upcoming shows include Indian Jewelry and Captain Ahab.)

So anyway, the other week Sam announced that Peter would be doing a small performance here and I very much looked forward to it and was well rewarded — he’s a chatty, entertaining raconteur with a slew of great stories, his own independent view of the world and someone who enjoys home and travelling in equal measure. The set mixed both the Spanish/flamenco pieces he concentrates on these days and the earlier raga-inspired material that helped make his initial name in the 1960s, along with the American folk tradition he grew up in — one song he introduced as a combination of all three, and a beautiful number it was — and in a late afternoon setting with the natural light just being the way it was, couldn’t ask for better. From where I was sitting, as you can see from this camera angle, I could look down the guitar neck at a number of points and see the deftness with which he played demonstrated constantly — very impressive and involving.

He’s got a couple of new albums on the way, including one on Birdman, and can be found on MySpace. Check him out and wherever you are in the world, see if he’s playing nearby. You’ll find yourself well rewarded.

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