Oscar Lopez and Awna Teixeira make CASA’s first concert a success

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CASA, Lethbridge’s new arts centre’s first concert was a hit.
 The Geomatic Attic’s Mike Spencer and his dedicated core of volunteers brought out all the stops for Oscar Lopez and opening act Awna Teixeira, May 17.


 The massive stage dOscar Lopez singing at CASA. Photo by Richard Ameryominated the west side of CASA's multi-purpose room as rows of chairs in front of it seated several hundred people, who sat enraptured by the impeccable sound, which highlighted every mind bending note from Chilean born, Calgary based flamenco/ Latin guitarist Oscar Lopez, who took the stage after an extended break between Awna Teixeira’s opening set, during which the crowd noshed on snacks, and had a few drinks as they explored the two levels of the beautiful new CASA building.


 He started his set by playing a slower number with the capo on the wrong fret.


“That’s what you get for making me wait,” he joked as he moved the capo to the right fret.


 It didn’t matter to the  audience hanging of every note as the two time Juno Award winner alternated by playing finger bleeding instrumentals so fast  I thought his fingers would fly off and tear jerking slower numbers, which were interspersed by little jokes as he took off his hat and sunglasses, then put them back on as he mopped his brow, beads of sweat glistening in the luminescent multicoloured LED lights.


 He talked about  playing with Rik Emmett.
“He taught me to flick a pick,” he grinned, as he flicked a pick to the front of the stage, which one youngster raced up through the aisle and grabbed it.

Oscar Lopez playing lightning fast guitar. Photo by Richard Amery
 He  seemed surprised as he counted off the years since he moved to Canada.
“ This has been my country since 1979, ” he observed, launching into another slower spellbinding number.
He sang a couple of songs and convinced the crowd to stand up and dance to a song and sing along with another.


He broke a string near the end of his set, then borrowed  his rhythm guitarist/ harmony vocalist’s guitar, handing him a pair of spoons. Instead  his  guitarist picked up an exotic sounding  Argentinean instrument, which looked like a12 string mandolin for the last song.


 Awna Teixeira and her drummer Julia Chandler broke in the stage with a solid multi-instrumental set which included lots of songs from Teixeira’s new CD as well as a Po’ Girl song  which is where is she is best known.


 She started her show strumming a battered acoustic guitar, then switched to banjo for a Po’ Girl song she wrote back in 2003 as Chandler peered from behind her cymbal.Awna Teixeira and Julia Chandler. Photo by Richard Amery


 Teixeira noted she had just moved to Salt Lake City where she  only knows Julia Chandler, though she had lived all over Canada from montreal to Vancouver island, then she picked up her new accordion “Etta” and explained she just retired her old, 67-year-old  accordion.


She started again with the guitar, then played another banjo song and another accordion song, then played d a song she dedicated to Idle No More’s Chief Teresa Spence, which drew scattered applause.


 She ended her short but sweet set with the title track of her new CD “Where the Darkness Goes.”

 —by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 May 2013 14:53 )