ISLAMABAD - The Crystal Ball room at Marriott was in full attendance with music lovers dressed in bow –ties, lounge suits, smart but no casual attire, a norm for a Spanish night on a weekday in Islamabad.  The embassy of Spain has arranged a musical treat for the residents of Islamabad and for the diplomats it was a Christmas surprise. The newly arrived soft spoken ambassador of  Spain, Manuel Duran, welcomed the guests and shed light on the role that music in general and guitar in particular has  played in the centuries old Spanish history. 

 Raul Viela, the soloist too focused his performance on old tunes rendered by maestros of guitar belonging to 18th and 19th century.  Born in a small town of Huesca in north-eastern Spain boarding France, Raul Viela, has come a long way.

The passion for music and determination to achieve   a prominent place in the music industry has led the musician to explore the world. Raul  has   left no stone unturned to fulfil his dreams  and  to achieve  his  goals which  in his  journey  has been the most potent source of inspiration for this 40 something solo Guitarist from Spain. Finishing his elementary educati

on from Royal Conservatory of music in Madrid, Raul continued to pursue higher education in music academia   as he wanted to be the lodestar.

Earning a Master’s degree in History and Music Sciences from the University of La Rioja, the soloist has taught music to many of his disciples and continues to do till date.  “I just don’t play music for myself; I want this art to be passed on to the next generations,” he said.

 The evening tilted Constitution 40, was a dedication to the 40 years of the Spanish Constitution. Guitar is considered the most representative musical instrument in Spain. Throughout the centuries the modern guitar has evolved principally from three sources, Arabic lute being one of them. Musical snobs can be sniff about the classical guitar because it has its limitation in the concert halls, lacking the punch and the repertoire to become truly mainstream But Raul’s versatility was instantly apparent as he touched the chords and the show began. The guests in attendance enjoyed and appreciated each of his piece as the artist stood up for a bow after each rendition. The relaxed enjoyable compilation included century’s old tunes paying tribute to great musical gurus in the likes of Francisco Tarrega, J. Arcas, Emilio Pujol struggling to make a place in the 19th century. 

Raul is now discernible and vaunted living an itinerant life that he dreamed of. He has performed in numerous concerts as a soloist and also collaborated with different institutions all over the world. Till date his resume counts more than 20 countries in Europe, Africa, North American and Middle East.

He has played music for all kinds of audience, from places where the classical guitar had never been heard, to his performance for various heads of state. However the artist enjoys playing more for those countries and cultures where music is poles apart from that of Spain. He said that I learn more and there is more excitement to it.

The fusion if rightly created is a great source of achievement and satisfaction, explains the guitarist.  Although no one in his family is associated with the music industry, Raul married a guitarist and looks forward playing with his wife not only at home but around the world in near future. As a soloist he has been awarded in different competitions winning various laurels and awards.

–The writer is a freelance contributor.