Guitar duo Jorge Strunz, Ardeshir Farah have 35 years of collaboration

The Fresno BeeMay 21, 2014 

Strunz and Farah

SPECIAL TO THE BEE

The guitar duo Strunz and Farah often get described as a hybrid of world fusion and flamenco — a description the pair quickly corrects.

"We are not flamenco guitar players," says Jorge Strunz, who plays with Ardeshir Farah Saturday night at the Tower Theatre.

Nor do they play "nuevo flamenco" or any other contemporary derivative of the traditional guitar style.

"We do use flamenco guitars. To confuse things," Strunz says.

Originally from Costa Rica and Iran respectively, the duo created its own style of acoustic guitar music, one that combines Latin and Middle Eastern influences with virtuosic improvisations.

The pair first played together in 1979 and quickly defined the sound that would become known as "world music." Strunz and Farah were nominated for a Grammy in the category in 1992.

In April, the pair released "Moods and Visions," its 20th album. The songs represent both a culmination of 35 years of collaboration and a continuing evolution of their work. As a whole, the album displays their thoughts on the guitar form, Farah says.

While the core of the music is the interplay between the guitars, Strunz and Farah have always managed to work with an ensemble of world-class musicians. They like working with Afro-Latin percussionists who seem to have an acute sense of the music, and because the instruments "have a certain acoustic affinity with the guitars," Farah says.

And they have their pick from a group of well-trained contemporary jazz musicians living in Los Angeles.

"They are so good at what they do," Strunz says. "They're kind of ready for anything."

For the tour, Strunz and Farah play as a quartet — the two guitars, along with a percussionist (specializing in Middle Eastern styles) and a flutist. The show will be a mix of old songs — for their faithful following — and new material, Strunz says.

"They're never exactly like the record," he says. "And they're never the same every night."

Show information

Strunz and Farah, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Avenue, with Alma Flamenca. Tickets are $32.50-$42.50. Details: (559) 485-9050, towertheatrefresno.com

 

This reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, jtehee@fresnobee.com or @joshuatehee on Twitter and Instagram. Read his blog at www.fresnobeehive.com

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