By Mei Kuan
The first day of the year saw Rafael Serrallet’s first-ever classical guitar concert in Ipoh unfolding at 22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery with limited seats.
Held with strict adherence to the health and safety standard operating procedures, the internationally-acclaimed concertist played to an intimate audience during the one-hour concert with free entry.
Sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the pieces he performed were Canarios by G. Sanz, Bolero by J. Arcas, Fandango variations by D. Aguado, A ma mie (concert waltz) by A. G. Obregon, Dance 5 by E. Granados, El gato montés (Pasodoble) by M. Penella, Capricho Arabe by F. Tarrega, Granada by I Albeniz and Asturias by I Albeniz.
“I’ve been based between Spain and Kuala Lumpur for many years. It’s always a pleasure to come to Malaysia which I feel is my second home. I have played with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Outside of Kuala Lumpur, I have played only in Melaka before Ipoh,” he explained, citing the food, landscape, heritage and museums as his favourite things about Ipoh. “I’d love to explore more of this amazing and wonderful country.”
One of Spain’s global music ambassadors, Serrallet is the first classical musician who played in all seven continents (including Antarctica) – a Guinness Record feat set in 2018 to raise funds for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) among others.
“During the first 3 months of the pandemic from March, Spain had a complete lockdown and everything was cancelled. What I started to do in Spain in the beginning were online concerts which were accessible to all, and had meetings with my followers on social networks every day,” the charismatic performer shared with Ipoh Echo.
“During one event, I played in a beautiful, thousand-seat auditorium in Mexico, absolutely empty with only the cameras present. It was sad and very difficult to play as the feelings were not the same. However, we have to keep adapting non-stop to the times we are living in,” he recalled.
According to him, in the pipeline is a proposal for an upcoming concert to be held in Kuala Lumpur featuring a fusion of music and food.
When asked about the importance of music especially in these uncertain times, he expressed, “Music is food for the soul. I have a 3-year-old girl who sang before she could talk. We made music before we could talk. Thus music is part of us, isn’t it?”