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Channel: ASGN '09 Summer
Video: Strunz and Farah 2
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STRUNZ & FARAH - Performing together since 1979, Strunz & Farah are the innovators of an entirely new expression for the acoustic guitar. Decades ahead of their time, they originated an exotic style that now is widely followed. From Costa Rica and Iran respectively, Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah have brought the cultural riches of their native lands into their highly virtuosic, rhythmic, and improvisation-rich original instrumental compositions, profoundly influencing guitarists worldwide. Their meeting in 1979 marked the first time that Latin American and Middle Eastern music came together on the guitar. They remain the undisputed masters of the form they created.

Jorge Strunz was born in Costa Rica to a family with lineage that includes a past Costa Rican president on one side and on of Simon Bolivar's favorite lieutenants on the other. Given his first guitar at age 6, he grew up also in Colombia, Mexico, Spain, England and Canada, studying and playing flamenco and classical guitar. He performed flamenco guitar professionally as a teenage, accompanying Spanish dancers and singers. He then turned to focus more on his own Latin American roots, Caribbean and Latin folk, and later, jazz. Jorge single-handedly invented a new style of Latin guitar playing that is an original synthesis of hand techniques from flamenco, Latin folk and classical guitar with state-of-the-art high-speed linear plectrum playing.

Ardeshir Farah was raised in a beautiful old house in Iran that echoed with the sounds of the violin of his uncle, who performed with the Teheran Symphony. Later, he moved to England for schooling. He played guitar since childhood, focusing on popular music and improvisation. He has performed and recorded extensively with many of the top expatriate Persian singers and musicians in the US who fled Iran after the Revolution. Ardeshir was the first to use Middle Eastern inflection in a contemporary guitar setting. His style has a unique exoticism.

The travels of his diplomat father finally brought Jorge to the United States, while Ardeshir arrived as a student of architecture. Ardeshir came to see Jorge perform with his Latin jazz group Caldera (4 albums on Capitol), and decided to meet him. The day the two guitarists met, it was instantly obvious that they were brothers of the guitar from opposite ends of the earth, even playing Czardas (a devilishly fast Hungarian Gypsy piece) flawlessly in harmony at top speed. They quickly prepared a repertoire, began performing, and recorded their first project, Mosaico in 1980 (self-produced). Although record companies at that time were not ready for this exotic new music, jazz radio embraced it and world/jazz industry pioneer Richard Bock got the duo signed to the prestigious jazz label Milestone for whom they recorded their revolutionary albums Frontera, 1983 and Guitarras, 1984. These records defined world music on guitar years before the “world music” category even existed.

Muriel Anderson's All Star Guitar Night benefits the Music For Life Alliance