Flamenco guitarist Robert Michaels will be bringing his cultured style of music to the Dream Café on Sept. 3 and 4.

Musical mosaic coming to Dream

The globally influenced music of Robert Michaels is ready to be heard at the Dream Café

The globally influenced music of Robert Michaels is ready to be heard at the Dream Café.

As a first-generation Canadian, Michaels was raised by Italian parents in Toronto. That upbringing surrounded him in his early years with classical and European music, though he soon found out about popular North American music through television and radio.

“As a kid I wanted to play rock ‘n’ roll like most kids do, but as I got older I started to appreciate more of a world music sound,” he said.

Another way he was able to expand his musical worldliness was though his first guitar teacher, who demonstrated the allure of classical music.

It was still a few more years before Michaels embraced the flamenco style of guitar – which has been his signature style throughout his career.

“Classical really ended up helping me with flamenco; I was utilizing a lot of the same right-hand techniques as far as finger picking goes.”

His musical abilities had more flavour added to them while studying a jazz program at Humber College in Toronto. A couple of years following graduation, in the early 1980s, he travelled to Cuba and steeped himself in that country’s methods of music-making.

“I was extremely blown away by some of the Cuban musicians,” he said. “They had these inferior instruments – I guess they were the North American rejects. Instruments that, at the time, you would buy from Sears catalogues. Now I know what they did with all their stock that didn’t sell – they shipped it off to Cuba.”

But regardless of how low quality the instruments were by Canadian standards, the Cuban musicians had no trouble making them sing.

“That was a big lesson I learned: music doesn’t come from the instrument, it comes from the person,” he said. “That really woke me up to realize that it’s all about how you play, not what instrument you own.”

In addition to the willingness of Cuban people to utilize any instrument that’s available, Michaels said he was also impressed by their skills.

“They are extremely educated musically – for their ages, I found the capabilities superior to what I saw in Canada.”

During that trip, he befriended some Cuban musicians and now visits the country regularly to perform. He said Cuban people and culture have been extremely influential on his music.

Throughout all of his experiences, Michaels said his flamenco sound has grown to dabble in the genres of jazz, alternative rock, and reggae.

“Everything’s kind of blended in there.”

While flamenco is taken to a deeper level within other cultures, Michaels said his style is palatable for the average person.

“Hardcore flamenco can get somewhat intense, and unless you understand the culture and energy of it, it’s kind of like trying to understand the flavour of jazz music and classical.”

But audiences don’t need to be flamenco connoisseurs to enjoy his music.

“My songs include a modern flavour with modern influences – not that I try to do it, that’s what happens spontaneously.”

By absorbing every flavour of music that intrigues him, Michaels is never short on new ideas.

“I like the freshness of keeping it new and innovative, and then adapt my own personal styles to it.”

His shows both begin at 8 p.m. at the Dream Cafe on Sept. 4 and 5. Tickets cost $32 and can be purchased by calling 250-490-9012.

“It’s always a fun, intimate show with a great audience,” he said. “I’m planning to come a few days early and stay a little after just to kind of roam around the area.”


Just Posted

Nature Wise: Thoughts in parting

Bob Handfield passes Nature Wise column on

Bob Ross is coming to Penticton in 2020

32 of the late painter and TV celebrity’s works will be on display at the Penticton Art Gallery

Princess Maggie presents Children’s Winter Carnival on Dec. 14

The Leadership class is hosting the event from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

Police plan forum in Hedley to address resident concerns

Princeton RCMP will hold a meeting in Hedley this month, to address… Continue reading

Interior Health finds Penticton’s fatal overdose rate ‘concerning’

The rate has been consistenly increasing since 2015

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

UBCO daycare services slated for major improvements

More families will have access to high-quality child care services at UBCO

Upgrades approved for Olalla Water System

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen to spend up to $225,000 for upgrades

Noxious odour detected at Summerland Health Centre

Staff felt nauseous following incident on morning of Dec. 5

Okanagan Glee club sells out Bohemian Rhapsody

Vernon Community Music School shows at Powerhouse Theatre this weekend

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Upgrades approved for Oliver and Keremeos landfill sites

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen approves $300,000 expense

Secwepemc knowledge-keeper’s contributions recognized by Province of B.C.

Louis Thomas one of 18 people to receive B.C.’s Medal of Good Citizenship

Six B.C. municipalities accepted as interveners in Supreme Court of Canada carbon-pricing case

Victoria, Vancouver, Squamish, Richmond, Nelson and Rossland have intervener status

Most Read