York music instructor’s composition kicks off World Cup fever

With the 2006 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament kicking off today in Germany, the marketing juggernaut is rolling. Helping to spike the spirit of the games on TV during commercial breaks is the music of flamenco guitarist and York music instructor Roger Scannura (left).

The latest television ads for sporting-goods giant Nike feature Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho de Assis Moreira, voted FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004, with a 90-second sound clip from Scannura’s flamenco composition Burnin’ Up.

“This is exciting for me, as I’m a big fan of soccer,” said Scannura.

Burnin’ Up is an instrumental piece showcasing Scannura’s fiery fingerwork on guitar, along with percussion and violin. The work is from Scannura’s latest CD “Encore!”, a compilation of hits from his previous four recordings. You can hear the music track in its entirety at www.rogerscannura.ca.

Scannura hasn’t yet seen the commercial, but royalty cheques have started to roll in from Spain, Brazil, Argentina and the Philippines, where it has already aired. The ad will run worldwide throughout the soccer tournament which continues to June 29. The most important competition in international football, the World Cup attracts more television viewers than the Olympics.

How did Scannura’s composition catch the ear of Nike? Scannura is registered with a New York agency which specializes in finding independent music for commercials and movies. The flamenco style of guitar-playing is more dramatic than the classical style, with a sharper, more brilliant tone – the perfect fit for the drama about to unfold on the global sports stage.

Right: Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho

Scannura became hooked on the compelling melodies and complex rhythms of flamenco after hearing virtuoso guitarist Pepe Habichuela in a Toronto bar three decades ago. Now arguably Canada’s pre-eminent flamenco guitarist, Scannura makes annual pilgrimages to Spain to study the gypsy music that possesses his Maltese soul.

“In 2004, when York invited me to teach flamenco guitar, I hesitated, despite 30 years’ practice and four CDs, but I said that I’d try it one day a week,” recalled Scanurra. “I loved it so much, I couldn’t wait for Mondays to roll around. Flamenco is in my blood.”

Scannura has been teaching in York’s Music Department three days a week, while juggling his responsibilities as an art director for Roots Canada. Last week, he and his students entertained delegates at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences which took place on York’s Keele campus.

This article was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena in the Faculty of Fine Arts.