Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Leo Kotke, John Fehay and David Bromberg represent excellence in acoustic folk guitar playing. Pretty soon the name of Pierre Bensusan should join that list. Last night at Gaston Hall the young French guitarist brought precise control and resonating harmonies to his finger-picking style.
Born only 23 years ago in Algeria, Bensusan was already adept at playing a treble voice and a bass voice simultaneously on his instrument and making each eloquent. His style was strongly reminiscent of Jansch's as he bunched gracful triplets and popping accents into tight harmonies. As a folk guitarist, though, he could use a bit less European classic control and a bit more American blues flare.
He performed his own instruments and his one original song as well as tunes from Ireland. Scotland, Argentina, Western France and Dizzy Gilliespie. When he sang -- either in French or scat syllables -- his voice had the same warm, gentle tone as his guitar. Neither his singing, playing nor manner seemed at all forced.
Bensusan introduced each number with a story in his thick French accent. He explained that "The Lost Piper March" was about an aging Scottish piper who got lost marching and playing with his evyes closed. Bensusan's strong guitar phrases echoed like a bagpipe and finally faded away into silence.