Spanish Music, Creativity & Community: An Interview With Philippe Meunier
Folklorama is a proud member-based organization that helps individuals, performers and artists, and organizations connect to Winnipeg’s diverse multicultural community. Folklorama is fortunate to connect with a network of amazingly talented and passionate Manitobans.
We would like to introduce you to Folklorama member Philippe Meunier, a Winnipeg-based Flamenco Guitarist who performs for theatres, cabaret in restaurants and clubs, festivals, and corporate events.
Tell us a bit about your journey as a musician!
I was born to a musical family in Québec and I began playing classical music at the age of 8. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Laval University and I am currently a guitar teacher for the Louis Riel School Division. Over the years, my guitar has taken me to Spain, United States, and across Canada. Whether promoting The Barber of Seville & Don Giovanni for the Manitoba Opera or opening for the Picasso exhibition, accompanying Flamenco Dancers or playing solo, I share my love for Spanish Music wherever life takes me. I was also awarded three grants by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council & the Winnipeg Arts Council to study in Spain.
Why did you initially want to become a member of Folklorama?
Being the only Flamenco Guitar Player in Winnipeg I knew I could make a difference and help popularize my passion. Being a member of Folklorama also gave me more visibility and I had the privilege to play for distinguished events across the city.
Why do you like sharing your talent?
When we have a talent or a gift, that gives us an endless flow of creativity, sense of freedom, or empowerment, it serves as a clear sign that others could benefit from it too. Our gifts or talents are created not just for ourselves but to help those around us. Every human being conceived carries with him or her that innate ability that is uniquely his or hers. It is like our fingerprint. Lots of people may carry the same ability, but the way we use ours will make us unique. Ultimately, the smile on people’s faces at the end of every concert is priceless.
What lessons do you hope to impart on your audiences?
Music brings people together and provides a space where artists from different cultures can meet. Music breaks barriers and stimulates intercultural dialogue. Art can also have a deep impact on society. Personally, my musical journey allowed me to travel and work with various artists from different cultures and backgrounds.
Share a favourite memory with us!
My favourite memory is our family trip to Andalousia in Southern Spain. We had the chance to visit the famous neighbourhood of Triana where I took Flamenco guitar lessons. The incandescent beauty of Seville by night offers flamboyant flamenco shows and I had the honor of playing on a patio of a restaurant.
What have you been up to during the pandemic?
Even if I postponed a lot of performances due to the pandemic I found ways to keep my art alive by recordings some videos in my home studio. For instance, I played for the Kick-off of Harvest Manitoba on CBC Radio helping raising $250,000. I recorded some music tracks for the online Victoria Flamenco Festival in British Columbia and I recorded a show for the online concert series presented by the Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society.