Magazine article Guitar Player

Listener Beware: Strunz and Farah Don't Appreciate the Flamenco Label

Magazine article Guitar Player

Listener Beware: Strunz and Farah Don't Appreciate the Flamenco Label

Article excerpt

With the release of their 12th album, Zona Torrida [Selva], long-time collaborators Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah delve into Eastern European Gypsy rhythms, and produce a sound that is. in the words of Strunz, "less commercial" than previous albums.

Just don't call it flamenco.

Although it may sound like the familiar Spanish style you know and love. the veteran guitarists describe their unique synergy as "international acoustic instrumental improvisational guitar music." This is. they say, a completely distinct form.

"We are certainly influenced by flamenco, but no more so than, say, country, folk, or Latin music." says Strunz. "Flamenco has very specific patterns and techniques. For one thing, flamenco is played exclusively with the fingers. Ardeshir plays only with a pick. and I use a pick and my fingers, so there's a big technical difference right there. Plus, our sound incorporates music from the Middle East, as well as Afro-Latin rhythms that aren't used in flamenco, I think people hear the Spanish guitar, and immediately want to label what they hear as flamenco. Unfortunately, that is a very facile assessment."

No matter how you classify the music it contains, Zona Torrida offers some truly exciting improvisations where both guitarists feed off each other to create free-flowing, and, at times. blisteringly fast compositions on their custom-made Pedro Maldonado guitars.

"A lot of the fast passages we play are what we call 'patterns.'" explains Farah. "By a pattern, we mean a certain movement within a particular scale. …

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