International Guitar Night, 10th Edition Tour — Live Recording

10th Annual IGN Tour Live Recording in Victoria, BC

Looking back over the past decade of work with International Guitar Night, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic about the different tours and shows, especially with our 10th touring season coming up this fall. IGN players include giants like my friend Pierre Bensusan, the awesome Ralph Towner and Indian slide guitarist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.

What’s cool, and I think exceptional, about the show is that we’ve also included artists who were completely new to the performance scene in North America, such as players like YouTube whizz-kid Antoine DuFour or flamenco player Gerardo Nunez. Players are accorded the same billing regardless of their “headliner” status in IGN shows.

From a promotional point of view, pulling off IGN has not been an easy feat. It’s been a process of slow, steady, at times anguishing, growth. And I am thankful for loyal friends like Herschel Freeman, our North American agent, Dr. John Barrow of Stoneyport Associates in the UK, Pacific Music’s Mike Peters, and Jane and April at Harbury Publicity for their loyalty and devotion to the cause.

SHOWTIME

IGN10E On Stage

The 2009-2010 season includes, Lulo Reinhardt, Harp Guitarist Stephen Bennett and Israel’s Itamar Erez. Stylistically, this is a classic IGN line up– a couple of outstanding fingerstyle players and two awesome, eclectic nylon stringers. And, as usual there are a couple of interesting “never before in IGN” twists:

Harp Guitarist Stephen Bennet

Until now, we’ve never had a harp guitarist; there’s certainly none finer than the pre-eminent Stephen Bennett, who’s as respected by his contemporaries like Tommy Emmanuel as he is with younger players like Andy Mckee.

The Amazing Lulo Reinhardt

We’ve never had a gypsy-jazz player in the show before, and this time we’ve got a great one; Django’s great grand nephew, Lulo Reinhardt, who, to the great benefit of IGN has a penchant for rumba and flamenco as well.

Itamar Erez

Fans of the band Oregon and Vicente Amigo will welcome the composer and guitarist Itamar Erez, who is our first ever Israeli player. This guy is an uncompromisingly meticulous player with a sophisticated sense of harmony and an absolutely awesome tone and stage sound.

Oh Yeah, and, YOURS TRULY!

Anatomy of a Live Recording

Ater the IGN 2009 US tour was completed in Mid-February, I headed to Victoria BC to meet this new line up of players. Here’s a video diary of the first day, meeting Mike Peters and the other guys, then getting right to rehearsing…..

Milke Peters, the dude who makes it possible to record live albums in Victoria!

Mike PetersTHANKS BRUHTUH F.O.A.M.

It’s a pretty intense thing, throwing together four people who don’t know each other, with distinct cultures and styles, then asking them to record a live album with a full program of all original collaborative material in 4 days! As you can see, things came together pretty quickly with the program; quite a risk, actually.

Thankfully, we all *really* enjoyed each other’s company. For me, it’s a bit easier than with the other guys. Mike Peters, the producer, and I are old friends. I’ve been working with the Cowichan Theatre, where we’ve been recording our live album, since 1999! A very good group of people there, who’ve been very devoted to IGN for many years.  I can’t believe I’ve known the stage crew there so long. It’s like we’re growing old together….

We also have YOWtv star Suzanne Teresa, model/photographer, and her lovely husband Alec, working on photos. This year we have a couple of new players: Warmland Studios, a young group of guys and gals who shot a DVD of the show for us, and Wynn Gogol, the audio producer, who’s worked with BC slide guitar legend Harry Manx. You can see a montage of some of our various friends here….

Here’s a picture of some of the friends backstage:

IGN Backstage

Brian and Doug Wong, our new friend from CanDisc

Brian and Doug

Seriously, Doug’s one of the nicest guys on the planet!

A sample of the final product

PERESTROIKA

I’ll be posting some songs from the upcoming CD along with bios, our tour schedule and more info soon….


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Andrew York in Quebec – Loom of Desire – International Guitar Night

I’ve had the great fortune over the years of being friends and associates with the very talented Grammy winning guitarist Andrew York, who’s been part of International Guitar Night three times and will join us for our 11th season as well. Andrew’s got an knack for channelling technique into a musical sensibility that can impresses the novice while remaining authentically sublime. His groundbreaking compositions range from epic classics like “Sunburst/Jubilation” to profoundly emotive pieces like “By Candelight” and “Letting Go.”

Andrew and I first met at a double bill series I co-produced in 1994 at the New Conservatory Theatre. We hit it off well and a few years after that I called Andrew to ask if he’d record “Loom of Desire” with me for my solo album, Legacy.  We went down to LA and set up shop to record the piece in his living room. I remember his dog Miles lounging there with us, and also remember having to stop recording a few times because a feral parrot in the palm tree across the street was squawking loudly.  Here’s a version being performed in one of my favorite places, Quebec:

This was a pretty inspiring time in my life. Music, and especially this piece, was playing a transformative role. The duet had come about by following the musical advice of my friend Pierre Bensusan, to sing the line and have the melody rendered reflect the voice. Employing this process really changes perspective on many aspects of guitar composing– how you finger the melody, for example, is quite different when it’s been touched by a voice.

In the case of this piece, and many pieces thereafter, I took the process a step further, and wrote lyrics as well. I gave these lyrics to Andrew in advance, so he had an idea of what was brewing in my mind along with the melody. The end result has had a lasting impression which results in us never tiring of playing the piece together. Here are the lyrics:

Loom of Desire by Brian Gore

(Vs 1)

Who are we to try and walk before we could crawl from the sea

Only human not immortal but cannot see how the presumption sometimes cripples

You and me who must stand before we fall

(Chorus 1)

Though my father breathes inside me he’s salt inside my skin

He’s never been beside me though I love him to the end

And I want so much to hold you but can barely s at all

Through to the strange solace love can heal it all love can heal at all

(Vs 2)

I’m ready feel the love I have inside me stand steady though I tremble at your call

Can’t believe what you feel is not confusion not deceived the same things shape us all

(Chorus 2)

Though my mother breathes inside me it’s like salt on broken skin

Like a loom of pain that binds me to the source where tears begin

And I want so much to hold you But can barely s at all

Through to the strange solace love can heal it all

(Instrumental interlude— Bridge)

We all come from the water hear echoes of the sea

The salt inside our eyes confounds the view

Freedom looms the shoreline it ebbs and lets us fall

It’s the comfort when we falter not the pain that blinds us all

(Vs. 1- End)

It’s very satisfying to have singers performing this with me in double bill shows. Susan Z is performing it here:

D’Gary–International Guitar Night

As we approach the 10th touring season of International Guitar Night, I find myself getting a bit nostalgic about all the great artists I’ve had the chance to work with as part of the show.  I’ll be using this blog to reminisce a bit about them, as well as our adventures together….

He’s a real trooper, for sure. Imagine, flying from Antananarivo to Victoria BC for one day of rest, then a show. Then, the *next day*, we fly together from Victoria, to Vancouver, to the YUKON, meet an artistic liaison at the airport, then hop in a van for a 6 hour ride to our show…. Oh, but did I mention, we needed to make a pit stop along the way to buy D’Gary some clothes? That’s right… it turns out that D’Gary made it, and his guitar made it…. BUT, his clothes didn’t. And you know, it’s very, very, cold in the Yukon in November…

D'Gary, Freezing in the Yukon!

D'Gary, Freezing in the Yukon!

I first found out about D’Gary from a Shanachie compilation of guitarists from Madagascar that was produced by Henry Kaiser and David Lindley.  For years, I’d dreamed about having him in the show, and finally had the chance to feature him in the International Guitar Night II tour and live CD two years back. Here are a couple of D’Gary’s solo cuts from that album:

D’Gary: “Ligniso Zaho, Please Wait for Me”

D’Gary: “Kelikely Fa Nama; Girlfriend”

I’m not very haiku about much of anything. I sometimes need to hear myself talking to recognize what I’m trying to say. I often obfuscate to the point of headaches with long, dense, convoluted sentences. That’s what you get for studying Philosophy in Germany, I guess.  D’Gary, on the other hand, is much like his music; non-verbal, quiet, yet powerfully emotive.

We Had Elk Meat Stew for Hospitality at this Gig, and This was Our View

We Had Elk Meat Stew for Hospitality at this Gig, and This was Our View

It was a welcome culture shock to keep my mouth shut and just let myself enjoy the silence with him.   Enroute to this show, we paused together on a rest-stop veranda, contemplating the snowy plains. We were quiet like that for a long time. Then, D’Gary finally said, “I want…to move… to the Yukon!” And we both began to laugh. When you’re from perpetually hot and humid Madagascar, the snow and cold in Montana looks pretty appealing. And, if you’re from the Yukon, stuck in the dead of winter, the thought of sunny Madagascar might offer solace on a dreary night.

Despite divergent cultures it seems we all at times want what we *don’t* have… This is something to laugh about, or, cry about, when you for a moment contemplate what people in Madagascar, for example, and other places around the world, *don’t* have. And it was more than once I looked in D’Gary’s eyes to see an anguish I could not wish away, which I surmised stemmed from exactly that.

You can feel a melancholic and even at times angry tinge in both D’Gary and his music. This is a natural reflection of coming up in impoverished circumstances–he apparently spent much of his life playing on borrowed guitars! But he also intimated to me that his songs are a reflection of, and a coming to terms with, the injustices in his country and the pain he’s experienced from that in his life. Like a lot of guitarists I’ve met, music is an outlet that brings meaning to wordless experience and helps with release.  I can empathize with D’Gary because I’ve  also transmuted some of my own pain through music, thankfully.

There’s no way you can make up for the kinds of challenges others may have faced in their life. I’ve learned this the hard way. I spent a lot of my life yearning for someone to do that for me, when all the while I was perfectly capable of doing it for myself!  All you can do, and what I try to do in IGN, is treat the people who are in the show with the reverence they deserve.  From a musical point of view, D’Gary is certainly deserving of  *a lot* of reverence.

D'Gary Endured Losing His Luggage in the Yukon and Returning Home to a Broken Guitar

D'Gary endured losing his luggage in the Yukon and returning home to a broken guitar.. Not sure about what the hippo is doing on top of a luggage carrousel in a Canadian airport, by the way!

D’Gary is a real master; a cultured, sophisticated man. Someone who makes you feel proud to share company with. His tone is EXQUISITE, and it is very hard to tell exactly HOW he gets it, which makes him even more intriguing. His compositions are very sophisticated, even esoteric. His songs hearken to his culture and folk music; rustic, in a way. Yet, his polyphony is quite modern in the way each voice in the solo piece is layered; referencing different instrument types from his homeland in the way he plucks his strings.

On the Way Home, D'Gary's Stonebridge Broke in the Turbulence: Fortunately, It was Eventually Fixed!

On the Way Home, D'Gary's Stonebridge Broke in the Turbulence: Fortunately, It was Eventually Fixed!

I was really proud to be able to help him get a Stonebridge Guitar, which he used on his tour of Canada and the US with us. However, he was laid up by some severe weather on the way home; first in Montana, because of a snow storm, then in Atlanta, because of hurricane season in Madagascar. This whole experience was incredibly exasperating, not just for him, but for our venerable road manager, Richard Rice as well.

After more than a year, D'Gary was able to deposit the broken Stonebridge with Clive Carroll during a layover in London, when it was finally fixed!

After more than a year, D'Gary was able to deposit the broken Stonebridge with Clive Carroll during a layover in London, when it was finally fixed!

D’Gary was finally able to make it back a few days later than planned. But the turbulence snapped his guitar neck! It took more than a year before D’Gary was able to get the neck fixed, with the help of Clive Carroll from London!!

D’Gary and Clive in Duet! We filmed this from the green room at the wonderful Harmon Hall in San Louis Opisbo… Check it out:

D’Gary didn’t have as hard a time making it to rehearsal in New Orleans during our US tour…. But the other guy in this video below, Miguel de la Bastide, DID… that’s a story for another time, though…..