REVIEW: Adelaide International Guitar Festival

The Adelaide International Guitar Festival is a unique monolith on the Australian guitar landscape. More like the great European festivals in terms of its approach rather than a G3-like celebration of electric guitar power, it pays homage to the instrument by celebrating the broad palette of sounds it’s capable of, with particular emphasis on world-class virtuoso guitarists outside of the well-trodden rock realm – while also drawing in some of the best that the rock guitar world has to offer too. Over the years the event has included the likes of Ralph Towner, Jorma Kaukonen, The Assad Duo, Pepe Romero, The Atlantics, Richard Clapton, David Lindley, Kaki King, Vernon Reid, Bob Brozman, Xavier Rudd, Adrian Belew, Hoodoo Gurus, The Derek Trucks Band, Lior, Troy Cassar-Daley, The Party Boys, Slava Grigoryan, Ash Grunwald, Grinspoon, Guy Pratt, Manuel Barrueco, Yamandú Costa, Dhafer Youssef, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Christa Hughes, Ben Fink, Karin Schaupp, Oscar Guzmán, Tommy Emmanuel, Jeff Lang and many, many more. This year’s event featured a great assortment of guitarists from a wide range of genres. My girlfriend is from Adelaide and we thought it would be fun to make a huge road trip out of it (stopping at lots of fun tourist stops along the way for the benefit of our 7-year-old… who am I kidding, I just really wanted to see the Big Lobster), so here are my highlights: Read More …

INTERVIEW: Debashish Bhattacharya

Debashish BhattacharyaDebashish Bhattacharya has an international following not only for his playing but also his extraordinary instrumental arsenal. But more than that, Debashish is a voice of pure inspiration, helping to bring Indian classical music to the masses and tirelessly sharing his love of the form and his passion for life itself. Seriously, a 20-minute interview on the phone with Bhattacharya is like a session with a therapist, a music teacher, a learned scholar of sociology and a kind, trusted relative all rolled into one. His distinctive, idiosyncratic instruments include his lap-slide chaturangui, the 14-stringed gandharvi and the anandi, a four-string slide ukulele, but although it’s fun to dwell on the technicalities, all it really comes down to is that Debashish Bhattacharya has tapped into a whole other musical realm, and wants us all to join him there. He’ll be performing at the Dunstan Playhouse in Adelaide on July 18 as part of the Adelaide International Guitar Festival.

You play guitar like a beautiful voice, and that’s something that everyone can relate to whether they’re familiar with Indian classical music or not. 

That’s something I’ve been doing for the last 30 years: performing for both sides. The people who know the kind of music I do, but I am also very much accepted by people from places where Indian music has never been heard.  Read More …

INTERVIEW: Guthrie Govan

guthrie govanGuthrie Govan is The Dude from The Big Lebowski. No, not in terms of looks or personality or loyalty to a particular rug, but in the sense that sometimes there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s Guthrie Govan. His style brings together incredible technique and tone but most importantly it’s packed with personality and vision. To hear Guthrie play is to hear someone who’s playing with music, rather than playing at music, whether in his trio The Aristocrats with Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann, or in Steven Wilson’s solo band, or playing his own material. With Guthrie heading to Australia soon for a series of masterclasses for Thump Music as well as an appearance at the Adelaide International Guitar Festival, it seemed like high time to talk shop with the dude.  Read More …