Have you ever seen four men playing a single guitar at the same time? No? Then you need to watch the Barcelona Guitar Trio’s performance of Billie Jean. It was filmed during their Tribute to Paco Lucia show, and it’s just incredible.
Barcelona Guitar Trio is made up of three Spanish virtuoso guitarists, Xavier Coll, Luis Robisco, and Manuel González, and because Billie Jean needed a beat, they invited their friend, percussionist Paquito Escudero. The result was an absolute triumph and quite mesmerising to watch.
The truly surprising part is that it makes you really listen to the music. Billie Jean was one of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits and is still played frequently on radio stations worldwide. After hearing it so many times, it’s natural to not really listen to the music anymore. This version snaps you back to attention.
If you closed your eyes, you would swear that there is more than one guitar playing. It seems impossible such intricate and layered music could come from a single instrument. Then you open your eyes and blink at the odd scene in front of you. A many-armed creature is playing a single guitar, almost like a musical octopus. Once you fully take in what’s going on, it’s impossible to look away.
It really is no surprise that the performance is so magical. Each of the members of the Barcelona Guitar Trio is an exceptional musician in their own right. They could almost be seen as the guitar equivalent of The Three Tenors. Xavier Coll began learning the guitar in 1960. In 1989, he formed a duo with flautist Montserrat Gascón while continuing to develop his technique.
He can play guitar, Theorbo, Baroque Guitar, and Vihuela, has released two solo CDs and has won awards in many prestigious music competitions. In addition to his performances with Barcelona Guitar Trio, he is a professor at the Escola Superior of music of Catalunya.
Luis Robisco has been a professional musician since 1989. He also works as a session musician, composer, and arranger for other artists and frequently goes on tour. He has been part of the Barcelona Guitar Trio for the past six years. They have toured Norway, Turkey, Israel and South Korea and performed in more than 500 shows.
Manuel Gonzales has studied the Spanish guitar all his life, studying with masters like David Russell and José Tomás. His unique musical interpretations have earned him critical acclaim, and he was invited to perform at the United Nations headquarters in New York. His music seems to express the essence of Spain.
The brilliance of all three musicians may explain their popularity on YouTube. Their Billie Jean performance has been viewed close to a million times, and the comments section is full of praise. Their technical ability is clear even among non-musicians. One commenter said, “The fact the two men were playing each other’s left hands is beyond all realms of comprehension. Simply very special skills to do that.”
Take a moment today to watch this amazing performance, and if you have time, their take on the Game of Thrones theme too. Your ears will thank you.