Django Tango

Roland Dyens is one of the greatest living guitarists. Born in 1955 of French and Tunisian parents, he grew up in Paris and  became a student at the Ecole Normale de Musique when he was only fourteen. He went on to win countless awards for performance and composition and is now Professor of guitar at the Paris Conservatoire. However, his greatest skill lies in his ability to improvise and there is a lovely story that perfectly illustrates both his talent and his vibrant personality.

In 1975, aged 20, Roland was invited to a lively Parisian party and was soon asked to play. He instantly improvised a note perfect piece which has become one of the most loved guitar compositions of all time, he named it “Tango En Skaï”. Skaï is a french slang term for imitation leather and Dyans is referring wryly to the Gauchos of Argentina, home of the tango, who are known for their distinctive leather outfits. So this is a humorous, gaudy take on the tango. Here Roland is playing it as only he can:

Tango En Skaï by Roland Dyens

For many years Dyens did not write down the melody because he didn’t think it was good enough and he only played the piece as an encore at concerts; but in 1985 he was finally persuaded to publish the tango and it has since become every guitarist’s dream to master the spirit of this wonderful music.

The Joy of the Open Road…

Find It In Your Five

The Global Positioning System comprises 24 satellites in medium earth orbit at 20,000km, and was originally designed to enable strategic nuclear submarines to fix their position with great accuracy before launching their missiles. BBC (Before Bill Clinton), GPS was intentionally degraded for civilian use to give a fix within 300m, so called Selective Availability; however in May 2000 good old Bill turned off this limitation and the accuracy improved to around 20m.

Today the system is used worldwide for navigation, map making and a host of other applications including one that is strictly for fun, known as Geocaching, a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by people of all ages.The basic idea is to use GPS receivers to locate containers, called geocaches, which are hidden in the countryside, and then share your experiences online.You can also set up caches of your own. Watch the video to see how it works:

OK? Well lets run through it again. Firstly you need a GPS receiver or a suitable phone with a Geocache App, take a look at what is available on Amazon. You also need a map of the area you want to go hunting in. Then visit, sign up for free basic membership, and you can now search for caches in your chosen area. Carefully load the coordinates into your GPS, jump into your MX5 and off you go! Remember to take something to swap in the cache and don’t forget to sign the log book in the box. Then when you come home, go back on line and record your visit. Happy hunting!

Why not start in North Yorkshire, click on the link to see  some of the lovely places you can visit.

Fanfare For Jon

Beethoven is probably the greatest composer of all time, I love the depth of his music and how it reflects the struggles of his life. But there is one special reason why I hold him in such high regard and that is because he was the first great classical composer to use the trombone in a symphony, his famous 5th, written in 1807.

And why I am I so fond of this instrument? Well, Both my sons are fine trombone players and both studied at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. For as long as I can remember our family life has been filled with music, orchestras and concerts and all the fun, happiness and excitement that those things bring.

The King’s College Symphony Orchestra

Today my youngest son graduated from King’s College, London with a first class honours degree in Music and Composition. Whilst at university he also studied trombone at the Royal Academy of Music with the principal trombonist of the London Symphony Orchestra. Jon is still only 20 years old.

I could not be more proud, this fanfare is for you Jon:

Fanfare, by John Kenny

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