Emotions on and around the stage

Every concert releases emotions. Recently, I asked concertgoers via Instagram to put them into words. I share two here: 'I felt a tremendous peace and warmth descend upon me' and 'I felt connection with myself and with the miracle of life'.

What do these emotions do to me? What emotions do I experience myself on stage?

Putting it into words turned out to be not so easy. You will find my very first attempt in this post.

The emotions of the flamenco guitar

After one of my homecoming concerts, a man spoke to me. ‘For the first time in my life I was touched by the emotion of the music itself, where normally I can only experience that when listening to lyrics.’ We had a nice short conversation. His experience made me happy, because I did understand him.

Attention to melody has become somewhat snowed under in recent decades. Whereas I have always been charmed by melodies. I am more affected by them. I love film music for a reason, for instance.

So that inspires me to usually create compositions that are melodic. For me, it feels like a translation from the vocals to the guitar. I’ve been working that way all my life.

Manolo Sanlúcar used to do the same. I’m sure that will also be a major reason why I feel so connected to him.

The emotions accompanying the stories of my own songs

While playing on stage, I must not let myself get distracted. This is easier said than done.

Music often evokes images, memories that emerge naturally. For instance in the song ‘Postcard for my mother’, where my mother almost automatically appears in my mind.

Recently, during a performance, images from my childhood of my dog happily running down the street surfaced.

It is a constant search for balance. I have to remain vigilant not to be overwhelmed by emotions. I have to contemplate the images without getting caught up in them.

But sometimes, when the power of sitting alone on stage threatens to become overwhelming, I simply ask the people and animals in those images for their support.

The emotions when playing my own songs

During a recent performance, a momentary feeling of resistance suddenly overwhelmed me. Namely, a passage arrived that didn’t feel right to do.

Thanks to my experience, I knew almost immediately how to fix it. To my surprise, the audience noticed nothing of my moment of confusion.

In fact, they reacted extremely enthusiastically, even though the song had become slightly shorter than the original version. All’s well that ends well, but it didn’t feel that way to me.

This was the final push that made me realise that this song was not working well for me on stage in this way. If a band had played along, there would have been more balance. But alone, the song felt too long.

It needed to be more compact to come across stronger. After my edit, I enjoyed playing the song again.

By looking at my performances this way, each concert feels like a unique performance at maximum level.

The emotions while playing on stage

During a performance, out of the corner of my eye I saw an elderly man who had tears in his eyes. In that moment, a feeling of doubt overcame me: was I perhaps not playing well enough?

My performance is meant to give the audience a wonderful experience. But after the performance, I found out that he had actually been deeply moved by the music. That moved me.

Realising that my flamenco guitar playing can trigger emotions in the audience is a special experience.

The opposite also happens. Recently, after I had played the last notes, a woman came dancing towards me. She was still completely in the rhythm of my last song.

The enthusiasm and joy she radiated was beautiful to see.

It shows that with my flamenco guitar I am able to create a deep connection with people and convey emotions. It is always an honour to play in front of an audience.

I look forward to playing for you (again)!

Peter Kalb is happy to share his unique insights and experiences with you
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