|Shaking a Stick
at musical convention
Stick Center is a virtual city without a floor plan. The multitude of visitors
to this on-line community parallels another bustling work city within a
sanguine vision – that of the Sagrada Familia, the massive cathedral
(or if you are a Gaudi purist, a temple) in Barcelona, Spain that is dramatically
nestled in a quiet neighborhood close to Guillermo’s home and especially
beautiful when silhouetted against a dark Spanish evening sky.
Conceived as a Neo-Gothic church in 1882, artist and architect, Antoni Gaudi, took on the project a year later and initiated his unique vision of a temple. Improvising on site as the work progressed, Gaudi continued his work on the precious edifice until his death in 1926 and with huge cranes and scaffolding, sculpture molds, concrete and dust, the cathedral swings its doors open to the visitors that gather to witness the unwavering commitment to a work in progress and to one man’s vision. The scaffolding of the Stick Center, which includes charming and informative e-mails from Guillermo, bridges the work of many Stickists, musicians and artists, often providing promotion and performing opportunities in Spain. It is a bustling virtual city of international communications and networking, promotion, friendship, and above all, a strong commitment to facilitate the visions and dreams of artists and musicians from every curve of the globe.
Progression: What was your goal in establishing the Stick Center and what are your future plans?
Cides: "The Stick Center was, and still is, one of the “policies” of my work. Basically, the Stick Center is a platform for my projects including albums, bands, Stick promotion, my students, and new artists of the Stick. It is also a perfect way to communicate directly with my audience. In Spain, people did not know anything about the Stick with the exception of a few musicians; it was something quite similar to what had been happening in Argentina years before."
“When I arrived here (Spain), people asked me, “What’s the Stick?” Then I knew I was in the right place!!"
Stick Center has seen a lot of ideas and projects become reality. Besides
my seminars and promotion of artists, we have the biggest mp3 database of
Stick players on the planet!"
"We also have our own pages in three Spanish magazines. The Stick Ensemble, which is an on-going project of the Stick Center, was on Spanish television and we did some interviews for the press and media of Spain."
"One recent challenge is that we currently receive almost one hundred e-mails every day from all over the world -- especially from European musicians who ask things about the Stick. We are working on a compilation of Stick players that we will present soon. In short, we are having a lot of fun with the Stick Center. I imagine that one day it will end and I will have to start a new adventure!"
Progression: You come to the Stick as a guitarist, yes?
Cides: "Before getting to know the Stick, I played guitar. In any case, I was one of those artists that would change the guitar tunings constantly, using open tunings as a game of sorts to find chords. When I found the Stick, I saw that I had an endless amount of interesting chords within the ten strings. I am an intuitive musician by nature, so I learned to play the Stick looking for notes and finding out what I could do with them. Since then, I still keep an acoustic guitar at home, tuned in a strange way and every once in a while I compose something on it, changing tunings and hoping that one of the chords will suggest a new idea."
Progression: What was the most difficult part of the transition from guitar to Stick?
Cides: "Well, I don’t think there really was a transition, since I had to start all over again with the Stick. If you are right-handed and play the Stick or bass, your right hand plays the action and the rhythm on the strings, while your left hand plays the speed and the melody. But when you start with the Stick, your new task is to play the rhythm in the left hand! The melodies and speed are in your right hand. Both hands play independently on the strings. Your really have to learn again how to play this new instrument."
© Progression • Winter 2006
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see Guillermo Cides video concert in France