Thursday, April 12, 2007

Flamenco Guitar = Audio Sex

Yes, you read that right. And I’ll stand by that statement.

I recently blogged about the sex appeal of music, and quoted from John Mellencamp’s song “Play Guitar”...well, I’d like to amend that post and suggest to you men who really want to attract women: learn how to play flamenco guitar. I find it hard to imagine a guy ugly enough not to seem sexy if he were playing this lovely Latin stuff.

Okay, so here’s the back story: A week ago I was driving home from work, listening to the local jazz station, and had one of those experiences when you hear a song for the first time and all the while its playing, you’re praying the DJ will tell you the name and performer afterwards.

He did. It was “Mario Takes a Walk” by
Jesse Cook. And I am officially in love with Jesse Cook.

The guy is a Paris-born Canadian (he’s Canadian! Another plus, if you’re a canuckophile like me) and has been recording for many years. Happily, he has a most excellent website with lots of audio and video clips on it, all of which I listened to last Friday at least ten times apiece until I was convinced I need to get every CD he’s ever done.

Is Jesse Cook good-looking? I’ll be danged if I can tell you. He looks hotter than hell to me, but then, how am I to distinguish the real truth when he’s playing that...that...that music. Ye gods.

The rhythms and melodies that come from Jesse’s fingers just assault a person like someone kissing you and touching you in the most expert manner. Sometimes it might as well be that he’s touching you there. And when the music isn’t all sexual and arousing, it’s tender, or teasing, or pining, or something you’ve felt in the most acute throes of romantic love.

Up until I found Jesse, I had been giving thought to trying to blog about the tango, both the dance and the style of music. To me the tango is pretty much sexier than sex itself. Actually, a number of Latin styles of dancing are, and if you haven’t seen “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” then I recommend you make a beeline for Netflix and put it on your queue. Andrew Blake can eat his heart out, he’s never made a porno movie as hot as those dancing sequences with Diego Luna. Swoon.

But flamenco guitar is like distilled tango to me, the pure and uncut stuff, because there’s nothing to distract you from the music. Nope, it’s not the moves of the dancers, it’s not how hot the guy tangoing looks in those tight pants. It’s just the melody, rhythm, harmony making you feel this way.

I suppose I can’t speak universally on the subject of flamenco guitar. But to my credit, I used to watch the video of Sting’s song “Fragile” at least once a week. (Did I mention Jesse Cook covered that song?) Anyhoo, all I know for sure is Jesse Cook makes it happen for me: He “rhumbafies” a lot of pre-existing tunes and imparts them with sexual fervor. He utilizes a sort of African tribal percussion a lot (another wonderfully sexy technique). And he just seems to imbue every song with so much raw emotion you can hardly bear it. I give him all kinds of credit, but then, some of this must simply be inherent in flamenco guitar. I suspect Jesse might say it’s the nature of the beast, and if you play this stuff properly, women will melt for you. (Jesse, if you google yourself and find this, I hope you’ll comment!)

All this and he probably likes hockey too.

Do I feel I’m cheating on my other beloved Canadian guitar player, Les Stroud, by carrying on so about Jesse Cook? Nah, I think Les would understand: it’s not the man, it’s the music.

And what’s a girl to do anyway? It’s flamenco guitar!


Anonymous said...

What you said may have some truth to it because flamenco is truly a passionate art form, but who ever told you that what Jesse Cook plays is flamenco??? That's actually insulting to flamenco on so many levels.

Diana Laurence said...

Well, Jesse did, on his web site..."new flamenco" is the term he uses (although he plays a lot of different ethic sounds, so maybe "world music" covers it better). I make no pretense to know anything detailed about guitar playing traditions. Anyway, I guess you'll have to take up the argument with Jesse! And whatever you term it, there's no doubt his music is brilliant and probably quite erotic to more folks than just me. :-)

Ronald Vaughan said...

You're on the right track!

I personally enjoy,what millions
of people worldwide have,for many
years: the sticky-sweet sound (and
feelings) caused by the amplified
steel (orignally Hawaiian) guitar.

BTW,there've been only two books
on the subject of guitar erotica:
"Instruments of Desire" (by Waxman)
and "Guitar Eros" (by Mondino).

Diana Laurence said...

I enjoy steel guitar too, Ronald--a friend of mine spent many years in a western swing band with one of America's best steel players, Eddie Rivers, and I loved listening to him play. Thanks for posting, and for the book tips!

Ronald Vaughan said...

Two other comments on steel-guitar

"I broke men's hearts with the
slide guitar...and then did the
'wild thing' with them!"--Bonnie
Raitt,in her early days re:groupies

"Steel guitar is sexual excitement
at the heart of sadness".-Linda

Diana Laurence said...


Ronald Vaughan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Diana, you captured the magic of Jesse Cook perfectly - have been a fan for years, I see every Vancouver concert. The sheer joy in his music has gotten me through times good and bad. And for those who say "that's not flamenco", perhaps to a purist its not... but it inspired me to learn to play guitar. By the way, he is married to a lovely lady, Nancy, and has two kids, so don't go too crazy! If you have a chance, haunt the DVD stores for his concert in Montreal. Its awesome.

Diana Laurence said...

Hey, Anonymous, thanks for the personal review of Jesse's music! I believe he occasionally comes to Wisconsin so I certainly hope to hear him live one day. It's a definite tribute that he inspired you to play.

Venta said...

I am a flamenco guitarplayer. I stumbled into your article. I understand you are touched by the music. It's the music that touches, the story that satisfies your expectations. Maybe the cause of your arousement is the fact that this is a very pure, refined and yet hard-core way to a man to express/show a certain vulnerability.

I love it when people write so passionately about my most intimate thing. Flamencoguitar.
Thank you for that.

Otto Westerling (Netherlands)

Diana Laurence said...

Very articulate and insightful, Otto! And please keep bringing beauty into the world with your guitar playing.

Elizabeth said...


another flamenco song which is very sensual is "Camino Interior" Artist: Chambao.

very sexy.

I'm looking for a song similar to Camino Interior in its sensual way. It doesn't matter if its without voice.

Unknown said...

try Carmen Paris, she is so senual.

Unknown said...

Hi again,

How is your development towards flamenco and flamencoguitar...have you learnt anything new and interesting on the way? Or are you still in the naive mode?


Otto Westerling (Netherlands)