Peter Walker (guitarist)
This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (August 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
1938 (age 79–80)|
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Peter Walker is an American folk guitarist noted for dexterous instrumental pieces that reference the Indian classical and Spanish flamenco traditions. Recognized principally for his recorded output in the mid-to-late sixties, his rediscovery by the current generation of American and European outsider folk artists has seen his work accorded similar reverence to that of other notable American finger-pickers such as Sandy Bull, John Fahey, Robbie Basho and Leo Kottke, and granted him a renewed platform for both touring and recording.
Life and career
Walker was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1938, into a musical family. His Father played Guitar and Mandolin, and his mother was a Concert Pianist who played in the first all woman's Orchestra in the US. He began to play the Guitar and harmonica from an early age. In 1952 he left home at age 14 hitchhiking throughout the US from Maine to Florida and across country from coast to coast. After a stint in the US Army in 1960 he founded the Cambridge Folklore Center in Harvard Square. From his Base in Cambridge he continued to travel extensively for 5 years doing musical research in Mexico, North Africa, Algeria, Morocco, and Spain, often comparing notes with his friend and peer Sandy Bull. In 1965 he committed himself to touring and public performance from 1965 onward, becoming a fixture of the Greenwich Village folk scene of the mid-'60s (during which period he became particularly close to Sandy Bull and Karen Dalton, Monty Dunn, Bruce Langhorne, Bob Gibson, Tim Hardin, and Fred Neil. Earlier in the 60's, Walker's attendance at a Ravi Shankar performance in San Francisco saw him embrace extended periods of study of Eastern raga under both Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan. Through mutual Boston associates Walker also developed a strong friendship with LSD pioneer Timothy Leary, and was "Musical Director", for Dr. Leary's "Psychedelic Celebrations.
Walker's debut LP Rainy Day Raga was released by Vanguard Records in 1966, followed by the release of Second Poem in 1968. Walker diverted his attention away from public performance and towards family life at the start of the 1970s, but maintained a commitment to study of his instrument, focusing particularly upon Flamenco. In 2000 He returned to Spain and made several trips each year,living in the Gypsy communities, studying in Granada, and playing lead guitar at Casa Anselma in Seville. In 2007 Walker was coaxed out of this semi-retirement by Joshua Rosenthal of Tompkins Square Records, for whom he recorded four new pieces to be set alongside musical tributes from younger admirers including Jack Rose, James Blackshaw, Steffen Basho-Junghans and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore on the 2008 collection A Raga for Peter Walker. A full album of new material, Echo of My Soul, was released by Tompkins Square later the same year. In 2009 Birdman Records released "Spanish Guitar" and in 20013 Delmore Recording Society released "Has Anybody Seen Our Freedoms?". In 2015 3rd Man recordings released "Peter Walker Live at 3rd Man."
These releases were supported by extensive touring and live performance, sparking a renewed level of interest which culminated in a recorded session for Stuart Maconie on BBC 6 Music, and an extended interview on BBC Radio 4's flagship early morning current affairs show The Today Programme.
In 2014 Peter released 3 books on Amazon. "Karen Dalton Songs Poems and Writings", a collection of material written by his friend Karen Dalton, "Tune Up Drop In" a guitar teaching Book, and "Road to Marscota" a fictional story of the Early 60's.
- Rainy Day Raga (Vanguard, 1966)
- "Second Poem to Karmela" or Gypsies Are Important (Vanguard, 1968)
- A Raga for Peter Walker (Tompkins Square, 2008)
- Echo of My Soul (Tompkins Square, 2008)
- Spanish Guitar (Birdman, 2009)
- Long Lost Tapes (Tompkins Square 2009)
- Has Anybody Seen Our Freedoms? (Delmore Recording Society, 2013)
- Spirit Callers (with Muruga Booker) (Musart Media, 2016) 
- "Spirit Callers on Bandcamp". bandcamp.com. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Leggett, Steve. "Peter Walker - Biography". Allmusic.
- Kelly, Jennifer. "He is the Resurrection: The Story of Peter Walker". Dusted Magazine.
- "BBC - Today programme - Peter Walker". BBC Radio 4. 2008-04-25.