Wayside Strings

Guitarist Assaad Madaoui relaxing in the park

I was walking along the north side path hearing the wind, the waves, and the gulls, when a soft melody of plucked strings caught my ear. Thus I met Assaad Madaoui, who was relaxing on a bench surrounded by blooming Ceanothus and Cistus, playing his beautiful North African guitar. His English was better than my rusty French. He agreed to have me record a small sample of his playing, and I did. I heard enough to make me wish for a better acoustic setting. Between the wind noise and the gulls cawing, his soft and intricate picking lost something in translation. Assaad, who was born in Algeria, plays only as a hobby for relaxation, but has a friend whom he describes as an expert, and we made a tentative date to get the two of them together in a quieter corner of the park.

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