From Spain to Brooklyn: Exploring Spanish Music with Daniel Garcia

by Maria ThomasAsst. News Editor

On Tuesday, March 26, students and faculty flooded Hayden 100 to watch musician and adjunct music professor Daniel Garcia play guitar in an event entitled “Music from Spain and South America.”

During the event, which was sponsored by the modern languages department, students became entranced by the soft and fluid rhythm of Garcia’s music, with some members of the audience even swaying back and force in their seats.

The event was held to showcase music from Spanish and South American cultures and teach students about the tradition this music holds. Garcia is originally from Madrid, Spain and holds a master’s degree in classical guitar performance from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

“This event made me appreciate Spanish music more. I hadn’t really heard much Spanish music prior to this event so it was pretty new to me, but I enjoyed it as I was listening. I like the variety of music that Daniel played from different Spanish speaking countries. My favorite part of the event was the group of songs that he played by Francisco Tárrega.” said freshman Calista Baker, who attended the event.

In addition to the songs by Francisco Tárrega, Garcia featured a broad scope of music, with other selections from Jose Luis Merlin, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Agustin Barrios, Leo Brower and Roland Dyens.

In contrast to Baker, freshman Sean Tierney said, “I wouldn’t say I had a favorite part because the music was entertaining the entire time. I enjoyed the entire event and can not pick out one specific piece that was my favorite”.

Tierney originally attended the event as a requirement for his Spanish class, but was grateful to have witnessed Garcia play.

“To me, his music exemplifies the diversity of Hispanic culture,” Tierney said. “Many of the songs were from different countries and all had their own similarities and differences. This event did influence my opinion of Hispanic music because it wasn’t what I was expecting. Going in, I was expecting some fast-paced music, but I was surprised when the guitarist played slow-paced music. I didn’t realize there was such a big selection of music like this so it was good to gain a better understanding of Hispanic music.”

As a performer, Garcia plays guitar for the Argentinean singer “Coral” and Mexican/Middle-eastern singer “Nuriya.” He is an active member of the band “BRUXOS,” a Brazilian/world music band. and he is the co-founder of CaneliBeat, a project that explores flamenco elements with a New York influence. Daniel also performs solo guitar all over New York City and beyond.

One audience member, freshman Lisa Tyrrell, said, “I attended this event originally because I had to do one of my cultural events that I needed for Spanish class. However, once I saw it was a concert with Spanish music, I was immediately excited and knew I wanted to go. I love anything music! Prior to this event I hadn’t heard of Daniel Garcia, but I’m glad I do now! Daniel’s music sparked a new love for the guitar in me, as cliche as it sounds. He made me want to learn even more about the other types of music that are played in Spanish, Latin and South American areas.”

The guitarist has lived New York since 1998, and has made it a goal to educate others about Spanish and South American music since coming to the United States. In addition to his position at Manhattan College, Garcia teaches at the Brooklyn Music Factory and holds a private teaching studio out of his home in Brooklyn.

Tyrrell said, “This event is important to Manhattan College. I personally believe that music is very important in today’s society in connecting people, and it is a good way for people to learn about different cultures. Because of this event, I feel as if I know more about the Spanish and South American culture.”