Fringe 2019 – ESPANA EL VITO – The Spirit of Spain – The GC Underground


GRAND CENTRAL UNDERGROUND – 2:30pm Sunday 24th Feb 2019


Review by Gary Clarke.   4.5 stars

Mathew Fagan once more graced us with his presence and his virtuoso guitar playing at the intimate GC Underground to promote his new vinyl album “El Vito” taking us on a journey through Spain and Spanish influenced music.

Once dubbed “Lord of The Strings” Mathew Fagan demonstrated that the title is no affectation. He is a guitar playing phenomenon. His extraordinary range and dexterity … and sheer brilliance had me gasping at times. We were immersed in arrangements of some of the great Spanish composers: Juan Rodrigo, Enrique Albeniz, Jorge Strunz and a healthy dose of George Bizet’s Carmen, all delivered with panache, skill and passion via Mathew’s signature 10 string Richard Howell acoustic guitar.

We explore Andalucia the home of El Vito and we are tutored in the roots of music from this region of Spain as Mathew demonstrates the musical links between Northern India and Andalucia with a flawless transition from an Indian Raga to a flamenco piece.. Superb!  When you closed your eyes at times it was hard to believe there was only one instrument involved !

After being utterly seduced by 45 minutes of brilliant guitar playing, interspersed with Mathew’s slightly offbeat but amusing repartee we are introduced to Latin America via some delightful Bossa Nova featuring Kellie Grace on vocals.  We explore the music of Villa Lobos, and a highlight are renditions of Luiz Bonfa tunes adeptly arranged by Mathew and sung by Kellie.  None other than the legendary Paco Pena described Mathew as a “true artist” !  High praise indeed and well deserved. If you love the guitar you will love this.

El Vito is the term used to describe the music and culture of Andalucia.   It’s a reference to  St Vitus who danced with joy!  But you don’t need to be St Vitus  to let your spirit dance to this music you just need a pulse!  Bravo !


Gary Clarke for Kryztoff RAW            4.5K  stars

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