Guitar players pulling the strings

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THE region is gearing up to host the North East Guitar Festival which hits Sage Gateshead from October 24-30.

It will see a host of guitar styles being performed on the banks of the Tyne including rock, blues, classical, flamenco, jazz, acoustic and fingerstyle.

Organised by the International Guitar Foundation, which has a long tradition of bringing the world’s most distinguished guitar players to its festivals in London and Bath, this festival has now become an established event in the North East.

The programme this year features internationally-famous performers such as the former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and his Rhythm Kings; flamenco guitarist Juan Martín with his Dance Ensemble and the Latin American Trio Pazmiño with Julio Argueda on guitar and charanga; the guitarist and composer Cristobal Pazmiño and the composer, singer and guitarist Orlando Rojas.

The programme also includes Californian singer Corinne West performing with the singer, songwriter and guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps; the Spiro ensemble featuring mandolin, acoustic guitar, violin and accordion; Spanish guitarist Ricardo Gallén and Italian guitarist Andrea Vettoretti and the young British guitarists Manus Noble and Ian Watt, who are featured in the Young Artist Platform.

l For more information visit or contact Sage Gateshead on tel. 443 4661.

Festival highlights include:

l Trio Pazmiño. October 24 at 8pm. Tickets: £14/£16

A sensational celebration of traditional music from Latin America, featuring Julio Argueda, Cristobal Pazmiño and Orlando Rojas.

Together they bring an uplifting, infectious and colourful mix of music from all over Latin America, from the bailecitos and sanjuanitos from the Andes, the samba of Brazil, the tangos of Buenos Aires, the porros from Colombia, to the valses of Venezuela and the boleros from Cuba.

l Corinne West and Kelly Joe Phelps. October 25 at 8pm. Tickets: £16

Corinne West is a fourth generation Californian singer and musician.

Her latest album The Promise, confirms her place among the finest young singer-songwriters around.

Her music is described as “elegant new sexy acoustic jazz-rock-folk” and she brings a special grace and fire to her stage performances.

Corinne has toured extensively throughout the US, Canada, Europe and this is a rare chance to hear her over here

Kelly Joe Phelps has, over the course of eight CDs and 15 years of touring the world, established himself as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter with a singular vision and fearless purpose.

His mix of folk, blues, and jazz has won him praise from the likes of Bill Frisell, Steve Earl, and Cameron Crowe.

l Spiro. October 26 at 8pm. Tickets: £12.50

This four-piece contemporary ensemble might bear tools of the folk musician, but Spiro have closer affinities to the worlds of contemporary classical and dance music than they do to the folk scene.

Their meticulous approach to composition and performance, creates a sound much greater than their parts (accordion, mandolin, acoustic guitar and violin) would suggest. 

Their recent album, Lightbox, was released on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records

l Juan Martín Flamenco Dance Ensemble. October 29 at 7.30pm.Tickets: £18/£20

Voted into the top flamenco guitarists in the world by U.S. Guitar Player magazine, Juan Martín will perform his own compositions, supported by a line-up of the finest musicians and flamenco dancers.

Martin’s ensemble is described as modern flamenco, with a unique style of music that succeeds in embracing classical, jazz and modern harmonies while upholding the great flamenco tradition.

l Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. October 29 at 7.30pm. Tickets: £7/£28.50

Rock and roll icon, author, restaurateur and photographer – legendary former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman has seen it all and continues to live life to the full.

For more than 30 years he was part of the best rock ‘n’ roll band in the world.

His latest musical rebirth, as the driving force behind the fabulous Rhythm Kings, sees him return to his musical roots.

This set of virtuoso musicians superbly bring back to life the kind of classic rhythm and blues that first inspired Wyman to pick up the guitar as a teenager.

A show imbued with absolute quality.