Showing his wizardry


A New Zealand guitarist who has held concerts in England, Italy, and Australia is performing in Oamaru next week.
Jonathon Harper has honed his playing and composing skills in a career spanning more than 30 years. Highlights have included playing to an audience of 60,000 with his band Amigos, being interviewed in depth on ABC radio in Sydney, having a sonata he composed played on Radio New Zealand, and staging concerts throughout this country.
He has given concerts in Oamaru in the past, in the form of classical guitar recitals, folk music, and Latin shows.
This time he will be at Penguin Club from 8.30pm to 10pm on March 5 as part of his “Guitar Wizardry Concert Tour 2016”. It would feature some of his classical guitar technique played on a “beautifully toned and balanced valuable handmade Simcha Delft classical guitar”, his publicist said.
“But of greater importance to Harper is the pure experiences and fundamental emotions of life that his audiences and critics say are conjured magically from his compositions and music.
“This concert is an alchemy of Latin, folk and classical ingredients infused and brewed together to produce a single distinctive Kiwi voice.”The gig begins with a flamenco take on the West Coast’s wild elements, sung in Maori, followed by a few numbers on the charango, a South American mandolin.
Next is a jazz arrangement of Blue Romance, an instrumental popularised by Amigos. There is a tribute to West Coast playwright Mervyn Thompson, and songs with South American influences sung in Spanish.
Harper speaks fluent Spanish and has performed with musicians from Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Chile.
A “mystery guest” will appear for some of the songs. Harper selects a local musician for this role, enjoying the new direction in which it takes his music, the publicist said.
“And he likes to provide an audience for new talent.”A prelude to the concert takes place at St Kevin’s College on Wednesday afternoon, when Harper will encourage young musicians to accompany him.
Before coming to Oamaru, Harper competed in the 400m track race at the New Zealand Masters Games in Dunedin. Walking bush tracks is another favourite way to keep fit.
“Harper keeps his mind exercised with a little part-time investigative journalism using the knowledge he gained in obtaining his master’s degree in psychology,” the publicist said. He has had articles published in newspapers, magazines and journals and is now looking into flaws in police eyewitness identification procedures.

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