Manchester Guitar Festival: Rochdale fingerstyle guitarist Becky Langan can’t wait for Stoller Hall event
Becky first noticed her appearance on a talent show on Sky Arts TV channel and is now an established solo musician.
Becky Langan, percussive fingerstyle guitarist
Becky made a name for herself in the music scene after bursting into public prominence when she appeared on the Sky Arts TV show Guitar Star in 2016.
She will now take to the stage in the state-of-the-art concert hall that is part of Chetham’s School of Music complex, opposite Manchester Victoria station, alongside well-known guitarists in areas including classical, flamenco and folk music.
Becky says it’s “surreal” to be in such illustrious company and has opened up about her rise to musical prominence.
What did Becky Langan say about her participation in the first Manchester Guitar Festival?
Manchester’s premier guitar festival takes place at Stoller Hall from Friday 20th May to Sunday 22nd May featuring big names such as Scottish musician Sean Shibe known for playing acoustic and electric guitar and flamenco star Daniel Martinez.
Becky spoke of her pride at being included in such an endeavor at the three-day celebration of guitars and how much she looks forward to the high-profile event, especially after two years in which Covid-19 has drastically reduced live performance opportunities.
She said: “It’s quite surreal, I never expected to be in this position, playing on stage alongside these very well-known musicians from all over the world. I just go with that.
“I can’t wait to be at the festival. I went to play there and it’s absolutely beautiful.
“I’m excited because I haven’t been on stage a lot with the pandemic. It’s a really cool gig and a great way to get back into things. It’s going to be good.”
What was Becky’s journey to music and hard-hitting fingerstyle guitar playing?
Becky first picked up a guitar at the age of 11 and during the early years learned chords and strumming and took a particular interest in folk and blues music.
However, she discovered what would become her own musical path when she came across an online video at the age of 14.
It was his introduction to percussive fingerstyle, which offers a wide range of musical techniques and ideas, including tapping the strings with the fingers, experimenting with alternate chords, providing both melodies and rhythms, and using the body of the guitar, all done by a single performer. .
Becky said: “I didn’t know the style existed until I saw a video of a guitarist called Andy McKee online. At first I wondered if he was a robot, I had never seen anything like it.
“I just started writing from there. I’m basically a self-taught musician and I play by ear. I really enjoy writing and with that style of playing there’s more freedom and creativity.
What happened when Becky went on Guitar Star?
She found herself playing for some of the biggest names in the guitar world and described what it was like to be catapulted into the big musical moment.
She said: “The whole experience was very strange. I went from being a student spending a lot of time in my room to playing guitar in front of George Benson.
“It was absolutely amazing, Tony Visconti was on the program and they had Jon Gomm, who is one of my biggest inspirations, representing my style.
“There was obviously a bit of impostor syndrome because it was a very high standard and it was surreal to be considered at that level.”
As part of the program, she was able to record at the famed Abbey Road Studios and received mentorship from a host of iconic guitarists.
Since then, she has developed her career by attending festivals and guitar shows, post videos of her performing on YouTube and the release of the EP Parallel Paths in December 2016 after recording it at Blueprint Studios in Manchester.
She hopes to release her first full-length album later this year or early next year to raise awareness of her musical style, which balances melodic with percussive elements and unusual techniques and has a narrative style of instrumental writing. in which themes and ideas are developed throughout the plays rather than being repeated.
Becky says Manchester have been a big part of her journey on the music scene.
She said: “At university I played open mic nights and found Manchester very welcoming. It has a very rich cultural heritage and you can take inspiration from so many angles.
“I felt at home in Manchester and the open mic nights were essential for me to gain confidence for what I’m doing today.”