L’americano Andy Mckee è considerato uno dei migliori chitarristi al mondo, tanto che anche Prince lo volle sul palco con lui. Tour in Usa, Europa, Australia, Asia e ora torna in Italia «Ci ho suonato un paio di volte – precisa Mckee – da solo e poi in supporto a Tommy Emmanuel. Adoro il cibo e l’espresso, e ho incontrato sempre gente genuina». La prima delle quattro date italiane è al Teatro Miela il 26 settembre alle 21, per la serata conclusiva della rassegna estiva “Hot in The City” di Trieste is Rock e Good Vibrations; in apertura il triestino Emanuele Grafitti presenta il suo nuovo cd “Stories of Hollow Wood”.

«Suono musica strumentale, chitarra fingerstyle – continua Mckee – mi piace usare accordature alterate e tecniche inusuali, quindi alcune delle mie cose sono piuttosto originali. Cerco di catturare emozione e energia meglio che posso, senza cantare. Più che essere un virtuoso, un genio della tecnica, mi interessa che la gente provi qualcosa quando mi ascolta».

È considerato uno dei chitarristi acustici più influenti.

«Ne sono lusingato. Suono da 26 anni. So bene come ci si sente quando si è ispirati da un musicista, e l’idea di rappresentare un riferimento per qualcuno mi riempie di felicità».

La sua tecnica come si è evoluta nel tempo?

«Ho cominciato focalizzandomi sulla chitarra elettrica, pochi anni dopo sono passato all’acustica. Ho ascoltato Preston Reed e Michael Hedges e mi hanno aperto gli occhi e le orecchie su quello che è possibile fare con un’acustica. Mi hanno ispirato e trascinato nel mondo del fingerstyle».

Al di là dello studio, conta il talento naturale?

«Certo. Qualcuno è predisposto per il football o la fisica, altri per la musica. I due fattori principali sono: orecchio e sensibilità. Per essere in grado di suonare e comporre, devi avere la capacità di sentire le emozioni con un’intensità che forse altri non hanno».

La chitarra non va mai fuori moda. Il segreto?

«Prende vita a contatto con le dita, con le quali puoi controllare le dinamiche in maniera eccezionale. La magia forse arriva proprio da questo contatto umano, fisico».

Qualche anno fa ha condiviso il palco con Prince.

«Ovviamente è stato un onore ricevere la richiesta di suonare in tour con lui nel 2012. Mi aveva visto sul web e gli era piaciuto quello che facevo con la chitarra. Abbiamo fatto nove concerti assieme, un’esperienza unica. Al tempo stesso, sentivo di voler portare avanti le mie cose, quando sei un artista è difficile rinunciare alla tua voce, al tuo repertorio, ed essere il chitarrista di qualcun altro. Devo dire, però, che mi sono divertito tantissimo con lui, e rimarrà sempre un aneddoto “folle” della mia carriera».
Milioni di visualizzazioni su YouTube. Tiene d’occhio i numeri?

«Mi sono staccato dai social media di recente. Avevo la sensazione che mi distraessero troppo. Anche quando non sei sui siti o le app, ti rimane l’impressione mentale di fondo, come un richiamo, di aver bisogno di controllarli e a un certo punto mi sono detto: “basta”. Ho moglie e figli e amici nella vita reale, meglio rivolgere le mie attenzioni a loro».

Cosa la aspetta?

«Sto lavorando a un nuovo album, sarà un po’ diverso. Sto dando spazio al mio amore per la musica anni ’80, al synth rock, e ci sarà anche qualche chitarra elettrica Ho avuto la fortuna di aver suonato in più di 45 paesi diversi, conoscendo luoghi e persone nuove. Eppure a volte manca la famiglia e gli amici, infatti quest’anno ho rallentato un po’ il tour per rimanere di più con loro in Kansas».

 

Elisa Russo, Il Piccolo 21 Settembre 2018

Il Piccolo 21 settembre 2018

 

 

Andy McKee interview – english version

1. Have you already played in Italy? What do you think/know about our country/our culture and do you know of any italian artist/bands?
I have performed in Italy a couple of times before. The first time was a few years ago as a soloist and then I was in Italy a couple of years ago supporting my friend Tommy Emmanuel too. Italy has made a tremendous impact on the world over the years and it was a pleasure to finally come and visit. I love the food and espresso, the people are genuine.
2. What can fans expect to see at your italian shows?
Instrumental fingerstyle guitar music has been my forte for a while now. I like to use altered tunings and unusual techniques to increase my vocabulary as a soloist, so some of what I do is a bit unusual. I’ve always loved instrumental music, since before I even played guitar, and so I try to capture emotion and energy as best I can without singing. I’m not that interested in being a flashy guitarist really, I just want people to feel something when they hear me play. That’s the most important thing.
3. You’re considered one of the most influential acoustic guitarist: how does it feel?
I feel honored. I know how it feels to be inspired by a musician and to think that I am doing that now for other people brings me a lot of happiness.
4. How long have you been playing/practicing?
I started playing 26 years ago.
5. Has your technique changed over the years? How has it developed?
Yes, I started out focused on the electric guitar really. After a few years I switched to the acoustic guitar. I heard players like Preston Reed and Michael Hedges and they opened my eyes and ears to what was possible with the acoustic steel string guitar. They inspired me a lot and I got hooked on the world of fingerstyle guitar playing.
6. Do you believe in natural musical ability?
Yes. Just like some people are more adept at football or physics, I think some people are more adept at music. I think the two biggest factors are your ears and your sensitivity. To me, good music has a sensitivity to it. I think to be able to play and write music, you have to able to feel emotions to a degree that perhaps other people don’t.
7. An acoustic guitar is never out of fashion. What’s the secret of this magic instrument?
Yes, you are right I think! I believe the acoustic guitar really comes alive when it is played with your fingers. There aren’t too many instruments that allow so much humanity into them. When you play the guitar with your fingers, you can control the dynamics to an exceptional degree. You can also manipulate the strings with your left hand too; hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, slides. It gives it a real human quality. That’s the magic.
8. I’ve read that you played with Prince and his band when he was in Australia a few years ago. What can you tell me about it?
It was an honor of course, to be asked to tour with Prince. He saw me on the internet and liked what I was up to on the guitar. We did 9 shows together and it was a real unique experience. At the same time, I guess I kinda felt like I wanted to keep doing my own thing. When you are an artist, it’s kinda hard to give up your own voice and be someone else’s guitar player. I had a lot of fun though, and it sure makes for one crazy anecdote in my life!
9. Can you tell me about some of the influences that pushed you to approach the guitar in the way you do?
Sure thing, I have 4 real big influences on the acoustic guitar; Michael Hedges, Preston Reed, Don Ross, and Billy McLaughlin. They all had their own approach on the guitar and I was so fascinated by them. Tapping, altered tunings, grooving, melodic, I still like to listen to those guys. I also was inspired by Masaaki Kishibe, Stephen Bennett, and Masa Sumide.
10. You have hit millions views of your videos on You Tube. Do you keep an eye on streaming numbers? What’s your relationship with the web and the social media?
I don’t really keep an eye on it. I actually sort of disconnected from social media recently. I had a feeling that it was distracting me too much. Even when you aren’t on the websites and apps, you can still have this feeling in your brain like you need to go check it out and I finally said “man, this is too much for me!” I have a wife and kids and friends in real life that I’d rather spend my attention on.
11. As a musician, what do you feel like you still need to accomplish ?
Well, not much to be honest. The only thing left for me to do is to keep writing the best music I can and try to make as many people’s lives a little better while I am here on the planet.
12. What would you say has been the hardest part of your musical journey so far?
I am very lucky to have performed in over 45 different countries around the world. I know that makes me kind of unusual, to have had this opportunity to see so much and to meet so many people. But with that opportunity also came the price of having to be away from family and friends. That’s been the hardest part for sure. I’ve slowed down my touring this year and maybe for a part of next year too. It’s been so nice to spend time with my family and friends in Kansas.
13. What’s next? Any plans beyond touring?
I am working on a new album now. It’s a bit different. I’ll be doing some solo acoustic guitar and harp guitar music but I will also expand on my love of 80’s music. In the past, I have done arrangements of some of my favorite 80’s pop and rock tunes. On this new album, I’m actually recording 80’s style synth rock with electric guitars too! It’s quite different, but I guess I’ve always been quite different in a way.
Elisa Russo

Elisa Russo

Si occupa di musica e spettacoli su stampa, radio, tv e web. Dal 2004 collabora con il quotidiano Il Piccolo di Trieste. Spesso lavora in coppia con il fratello Ricky. The Russos hanno ideato, scritto e condotto il programma musicale “In Orbita”, in onda su Tv Capodistria (Slovenia) e su Radio Capodistria.
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