19 January 2017 – Saints Music Academy members Jesse Berlyn and Chesare De Abreu made excellent use of their holidays by travelling to beautiful Clarens to spend a weekend with South African guitar virtuoso Dan Patlansky.
“It was about him teaching us new ways of playing the guitar, how we can approach the guitar, how we can approach soloing, about different techniques we can use, and different ways of playing chords,” Chesare explained.
“It was also to help us with our creativity on guitar, and to help us find new ways of learning,” Jesse added.
Creativity, he continued, was what he loves about guitar. “There’s no point in playing other people’s music if you can make your own.”
Jesse (left) and Chesare (right) hang out with Dan Patlansky
In Dan Patlansky, they chose a superb role model. “Wow! He was amazing. He is one of the best,” Jesse reckoned.
Chesare weighed in: “To me, he is a God on the guitar! I went to one of his shows and for a minute, during the last part of his show, he was playing on just one string. After that I told myself I had to go to his course to see what I can learn from him.”
And how did Dan measure up as a person? Speaking excitedly at the same time, Chesare said: “Super chilled. Oh my word,” while Jesse chimed in: “He’s the coolest guy. ‘Thick vibes’, he used to say that the whole time. So chilled.
“We actually named our band [on the course] Thick Vibes, because he always said it.”
Thick Vibes: Jesse and Chesare’s band while on course with Dan Patlansky
They learnt new perspectives and techniques on guitar playing, the pair said. “There was something called ‘milking’,” Jesse explained. “You use two frets and four chords, basically, and you make a four-minute solo out of just those four chords.”
“It was also about finding different ways to bend the string,” Chesare, who goes by the nickname “Cheese”, said.
Saints Music Academy Ensemble evenings
Last year, Chesare and Jesse regularly performed at Saints Music Academy Ensemble evenings, which were highlighted by a superb end of the year performance at 59 Plenty Café at Gallery on Leviseur. Now, in 2017, they’re eagerly looking forward to being a part of the Academy again.
“We can’t wait,” said Jesse.
“I have heard that more tours are being planned and I am ready to work on new and interesting stuff with the new techniques that I have learnt,” Chesare added.
Music, both said, has had a wonderfully positive impact on them.
“It makes you a more creative person. It makes you more outgoing. It makes you more sociable,” said Jesse.
“You also have that extra ‘ish’ about you, that other people don’t have,” Chesare grinned. “You’re not afraid to hold back about your opinion.”