NICHOLAS MARKS GYPSY GUITARIST – Florida’s Downtown Disney, located in Orlando outside of Disney World, has many of the wonderful attractions we have come to know and love. Most of our beloved characters are displayed as statues-which is great for pictures, and of course on the store shelves. On a recent trip to Florida, I took the hour ride to Orlando not knowing fully what to expect.
What I got to see and experience was an outstanding performance by guitarist Nicholas Marks, known as the Godfather of Downtown Disney. Blending gypsy rhythm, a Spanish flamenco beat and American pop, Marks has brought music and entertainment to a whole new level. There was no doubt while we watched his performance that not only is he a gifted musician but one filled with a passion for music that reverberates in every note he plays.
Crowds gathered in the small outdoor area more than 2 hours before his performance filling the few available tables, and welcomed him as he stepped out with a round of applause and whistles. The sheer number of people at Downtown Disney nearly made me claustrophobic and once Marks began to play, there was little movement to be seen. Everyone stops to listen, then strains their neck for a glimpse as they edge their way forward.
Where there was room, adults and children alike were dancing. For anyone who decides it is time to move on, working your way out of the cluster is not impossible, but you feel your heart being tugged back for “one more song.”
He effortlessly flows from one musical piece to another and played many familiar songs like “The House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals, “Hava Nagila”, “Besame Mucho” and “Without You” among others all while lifting his guitar over his head, behind his back and playing one handed.
Marks is a solo act, no back-up band or accompanying musicians; save for a lone tambourine on occasion. What you hear is all him and his guitar. When he took a break, he spent time with those in the audience, taking pictures, signing autographs and simply talking.
After watching these videos, you have to admit if you play guitar you were amazed. If you do not, I’ve no doubt you were awed. An accomplished musician myself, I never tire of hearing his music, and wondered why I hadn’t heard of him before.
After some research I found that he had been on America’s Got Talent a few years ago and unbelievably did not go very far. In fact, he was buzzed by Piers Morgan his first time on stage! After his television debut, Marks began to do a few Vegas shows and was soon picked up by Disney, where he has been a main attraction.
Marks has kept himself humble, a rarity in today’s world. To enter the park costs you nothing and to hear Marks’ music is also free of charge-another rarity in today’s world. If you are ever in the Orlando area, I encourage you to head out to Downtown Disney and spend the evening with Nicholas Marks.