Music and massage at Hellys International Guitar Festival

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Not easy to put into words what it was like to be part of the Hellys International Guitar Festival 2018. But I shall try, just a little:

Ben Salfield, Festival Director, welcomed me onto Team Hellys to provide massage and reflexology sessions for the superb performers and spectators at Hellys 2018. In return I spent several magical days absorbed in a world of extraordinary music, poetry, camaraderie and surprises. For example, I never imagined that joining in a Medieval Percussion Workshop could be so utterly uplifting: thanks to Ricardo de Novara and colleagues of Meridianum Ensemble for sharing their passion and their wild instruments with us.


It was a joy to work with guitarists, luthiers (guitar makers) and other team members, releasing a lot of tense muscles and helping people relax amid the ebb and flow of the Festival. My Reflexation Therapy zone was set up in the main performance hall, so I had the pleasure of listening in to interviews, poetry recitals and musical performances while working.  From this special vantage point, two moments stand out in my mind:

First, while I was working with Graham Emes, luthier of Emes Guitars, the poet Bob Devereux  was on stage reciting some of his poems, accompanied elegantly by Adrian O’Reilly on the guitar. The combination of spoken word and music was very powerful. Some of Bob’s words strike a deep chord, refreshing the soul and slowing reality right down to heart beat.

The second moment was one of pure electrification. While working in my tranquil zone, a relaxed interview was happening on stage with luthier Kid Wood. Pablo Rodriguez is handed one of the luthiers’ guitars to “try out” and all of a sudden an otherworldly rendition of a mazurka by Tárrega is sailing around the room, carrying me with it. Pablo you are amazing. Thank you for being at the Festival with us this year. In fact, my connection to Tárrega’s piece is through listening to the maestro Eduardo Fernandez, on the advice of arresting classical guitarist John Buzza (who performs mainly on Falmouth’s Prince of Wales Pier). Thank you too JB, for making such a perfect moment possible.


Needless to say, the plan is that Reflexation Therapy will be back for more music, massage and perfect moments at Hellys International Guitar Festival 2019. You’ll find more about Hellys 2018 on the HellysFestival Facebook page and Festival website.

Here is a little YouTube recap of Hellys International Guitar Festival 2018 filmed by Daniel Philbrooks of Shirt & Tie Productions:

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