ABC’s Dancing With The Stars Failure by Featuring Benise

Like all good husbands, ahem, I watch Dancing with the Stars with Viola.  I have my ups and downs with the show.  It is entertaining to see judges rip the cockiness out of musicians, athletes, movie, and TV stars.  On results day, the episode usually features a few guest artists.  Last night’s results episode really bothered me.  ABC failed, big time, by featuring Benise, a Spanish/nouveau flamenco guitarist.  Umm.. oh no he isn’t.  Prior to last night, I hadn’t heard of Benise, and I wish I still didn’t know about him.

Hack, poser, or wannabe are more appropriate titles than Spanish guitarist.  The majority of the American public doesn’t understand the difference between good or bad Spanish guitar music. Flamenco is the traditional music of Spain.  To give this stooge an audience is a complete disgrace to every flamenco and Spanish guitarist that has legitimate talent.  The sham millions of people watched last night isn’t really a guitar player.  Benise has no technique, which explains why he didn’t play much.  It also explains why he didn’t do one rasqueado, a commonly used guitar strum in Spanish guitar.  The music was awful and nothing remotely close to decent Spanish music.

Modern Spanish music evolved from flamenco.  Traditional flamenco includes a dancer, guitarist, palmas (rhythmic clappers), and singer.  Manuel de Falla, Isaac Albeniz and Enrique Granados wrote classical music inspired by flamenco.  In fact, much the music composed by Albeniz and Granados is transcribed and performed on classical/Spanish guitar. For example, “Asturias,”  a commonly performed piece by guitarists, was written for piano Albeniz.

The Spanish guitar technique has adopted many of the attributes associated with flamenco guitar.  For starters, flamenco and Spanish guitarists use their right hand to pluck and strum the strings versus a pick.  Second, they don’t prance around on stage acting like a fake Fabio playing pseudo-Spanish melodies.  This is because the technical demands of performing flamenco or Spanish music are great requiring the player to sit.  Finally, Spanish music is of much better quality.  Spanish music is rhythmic, fiery, and passionate.

Here is a great example by Paco de Lucia, considered one of the best flamenco guitarists:

For a little more traditional angle, watch this flamenco dance troupe:

Yes, I get that DWTS is a show.  But even the weaker pop musicians I despise like the Jonas Brothers have 100 percent more talent than Benise.  I can appreciate a little fluff on a show.  It’s television and designed to entertain the public.  However, I have a problem when the producers at ABC choose a hack over anyone else with a little more substance.

In case you missed the questionable performance by Benise, watch it for yourself and decide.

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11 comments on “ABC’s Dancing With The Stars Failure by Featuring Benise
  1. amen brother! I came across this guy on a PBS special and googled him and came across your writeup and couldn’t agree more. I was really uneasy watching the PBS special – so much over-the-top posing and flouncing around, and so little actual music. sigh. It was like Riverdance or one of those schmaltzy Irish variety specials.

    • Alexandra, after I saw his performance on Dancing with the Stars, I was pretty miffed. Comparing this dude to Riverdance is giving him too much credit. He reminded me more of a Fabio wannabe using the guitar to get attention. Well he got it from me, but probably not what he had in mind. Anyhow, thanks for the comment and onward to listening to something real.

  2. Yes that was an actual guitar onstage. Guitarist? Very questionable. I’ve seen the ‘special’ and the cooing from his handlers, So sad to think ANYONE could be duped by this guy, playing blues licks (badly) on a nylon string guitar. Play with your fingers (all five), develop your picado, rasgueados, Alzapúa, tremolo as well as the voicings of a Brazilian guitarist and I might listen to your technique. Study songwriting 101 from ANY competent guitar teacher and get your song structure down dude. Come on let’s see it. The camera’s on. Oh yeah and don’t drill pick (yes Benise uses a PICK!) up your skinny string way past the 19th fret anymore, that is the oldest CRAP-ASSED trick in the book.

    • It sounds like your as irked as I am about this dude. He is a such a fake, it’s irritating that anyone is giving him the time of day. It’s very insulting that Dancing with the Stars featured this turkey too.

  3. The guy doesn’t claim to be a real flememenco player. He’s an artist an he plays well at what he does. How about vanhalen or Hendrix? I saw the guy and he’s a good entertainer. No he’s not Sagovia or Ramiro but he is successful and people like his stuff. So why be so offended? Music is cool at all levels and even Besise is entitled to do the best with what he’s got and I would say he has. Rock on!

  4. Sounds like someone is to serious. Benise knoqs he is not traditional thus rock-menco. Yet he can play well at what he does. Also he put on a great show featuring great and well known artist, some have played with Yanni! Technical players are fine and have worked hard running scales with metranome developing great skill. Most people cant relate Dimeola or Paco cept guitar players. Benise is successful and living his dream adding love, passion and hope to the world. The folks that signed him are top entertainment pros.Benise is hot and and so is his band and dancers. BTW, where have you played and how many CDs have you made? Sounds like you lack a gypsy spirit and passion which always trumps technical playing.

  5. Contrapuntist, many years ago I saw a film called “Blood Wedding” featuring a flamenco dance troupe. It was like a story within a story, about a wedding. Have you seen it?

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