David Russell: Tiny Desk Concert

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Set List

Augustin Barrios: "Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios"

Francois Couperin: "Les Silvains"

Isaac Albeniz: "Granada"

Following the contours of David Russell's delightful Scottish brogue is almost like listening to someone sing. But the way Russell sings best is with his guitar. For the past dozen years or more, he's been a leading figure in the classical guitar world. Russell records an album every year, holds down a hefty touring schedule and teaches master classes, all while cultivating a distinctively transparent and lyrical sound.

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Indeed, part of Russell's "sound" is actually silence.

"The guitar can be a very noisy instrument," he says. So Russell has perfected his technique, working tirelessly on fingerings that eliminate those squeaky sounds of fingers sliding over frets.

Russell got his Scottish accent and his love of the guitar from his parents. He was born in Glasgow, but moved to Minorca in Spain as a child, when his artistic parents loaded up the van and headed for warmer climes. His first lessons were from his father, an amateur guitarist and full-time painter. Russell says that after a while, he realized he could play better than his dad, and that's when he decided "to become the guitarist in the family."

On tour in support of his new album, Sonidos Latinos, Russell dropped by the NPR Music offices to play a few classics of the guitar repertoire. Listen to the exquisite rippled notes as they spin by in his first piece by Barrios, while in Couperin's "Les Silvains," two separate melodies intertwine like clockwork. And then there's Russell's signature warm tone in Albeniz's "Granada," the classic which capped off the concert.

To watch our most recent Tiny Desk Concert, featuring Regina Carter, click here.

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