What: International Guitar Night
Where & When: Millennium Place, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $26.50, www.whistlerartscouncil.com
There are few instruments as globally pervasive as the guitar. Guitars have worked their way into every country and culture around the world, and have been adopted into various musical styles and folk traditions as varied as the cultures themselves.
“Next to the human voice, what is more popular than guitar?” asks Brian Gore, founder of International Guitar Night and a leading performer.
International Guitar Night (IGN), returning to Millennium Place on Wednesday (Nov. 6) is a showcase of guitar music on a global scale, with expert players and composers playing their own variations of guitar music and collaborating with each other to create something new.
Gore is always excited by what happens when different styles converge on stage.
“It’s always an exhilarating experience getting together with players for the first time when you come from all these different places around the world. For example, this year we have a composer from Italy, who came in with all these different tunings for guitars that we’re all getting to know. It’s a different approach to the instrument, and it gets you out of all your assumptions of how to play guitar.”
The Italian guitarist is Pino Forastiere, an incredible classical guitar composer who produces richly layered and emotive pieces that sound at times like they’re the product of several guitars playing at the same time.
From Argentina is Quiqu Sinesi, an internationally renowned master of the distinct Argentinian guitar sound. Gore emphasizes that Argentinian guitar is not like Spanish or flamenco guitar, but is inspired by tango and other influences to create something unique and raw.
U.K. guitarist Mike Dawes has built a sizable international following with his percussive guitar sound — and by that I mean he knocks, taps, slaps and hammers-on while he’s playing to produce a sound that equal parts guitar and percussion. He also knows a few things about developing a complete song with evolving melodies.
Gore himself plays a mix of classical, jazz, folk and other influences to create a unique sound with distinctive movements and a strong sense of rhythm and change. Songs can blend several kinds of picking and strumming styles, with distinct layers that all come together at the end.
Taken together, Gore is promising an evening that all music lovers can enjoy, spanning almost every conceivable era and playing style. “They’re not just fine guitarists, they’re also great musicians and composers,” says Gore. “If you like music, I promise this will deliver,” said Gore.
Gore says the International Guitar Night tour has been popular, and that the audience for solo guitar compositions is growing. While the Internet and YouTube have had a negative impact on some forms of music, Gore says the Internet has given musicians like himself a place to showcase their original work to an appreciative global market.
“Before YouTube came out, this kind of guitar was seen as something that only other guitar geeks were into — and I’m a self professed guitar geek, I make no apologies there,” he says. “But I think what YouTube proved, and what IGN proves, is that guitar music is very, very popular, a lot more popular than music labels realized in the past. If you added it up I’m sure you’d get a billion views on YouTube. The audience was always there.
“(The Internet) also created a channel where guitarists can be commercially successful producing and composing original guitar music, something that didn’t really exist before. There were a few guitarists that were supported by labels in the past, but not nearly as many as there were deserving artists out there.”
The popularity of the music has opened the door for other interesting projects as well. For example, Gore is working on a project with an illustrator called Wine Country, which pairs music, art and wine appreciation into a single live performance while filming the process of creation. The sky’s the limit, says Gore.
For other guitar geeks, IGN is also hosting a workshop for guitarists from 3 p.m. to around 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 6. The workshop is $49 and includes a ticket to that evening’s performance, which is worth $26.50.
You don’t need to be a guitar virtuoso to take part, Gore says.
“The thing that I find is that everybody has a little bit of musical genius inside, it’s just a question of how you awaken that,” he says. “It’s about enjoying what you’re doing and enjoying the process… it’s possible for anybody to achieve what they want musically on the guitar.”