STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media
The brainchild of San Francisco-based guitarist and music visionary Brian Gore, “International Guitar Night,” is becoming one of the acoustic guitar world’s premier live productions.
Gore gave birth to “International Guitar Night” in 1995 as a platform for acoustic guitarists to showcase live performances through original and diverse composition and to exchange musical ideas in a collaborative and respectful environment.
“I started doing these shows with multiple guitarists locally and saw that the audience liked it,” recalls Gore, from San Francisco. “So I thought, ‘I’m going to see if I can get some theaters interested.’ I started getting some theaters interested, and I found that it was just a really positive thing for everybody.”
“I’m really proud of the work,” says Gore. “It’s a way to champion artists that I love and believe in. It’s also a way of being exposed to the best guitar playing out there and for me to improve my ear and challenge myself to improve my playing. It’s a way to really help other great guitarists. It’s a dream come true.”
“I think you have to constantly look at the world of guitar at the inner play between virtuosity and musicality,” adds Gore. “What we do on International Guitar Night is to feature players who are from different walks of musical life from around the world — super great virtuosic players, but also great musicians.”
Currently on an 85-date tour throughout the U.S. and abroad, this year’s line-up features a diverse and richly talented roster of acoustic artists — Gore (known as the “poet of the guitar”) touches on folk, jazz and classical compositions; Lulo Reinhardt, the grand nephew of Django Reinhardt, is one of the world’s most authentic gypsy and Latin swing guitarists; Andre Krengel, a master of multiple styles of guitar from Flamenco to swing; and Mike Dawes, a virtuoso finger-style guitarist, composer and arranger.
“In our show, we do a lot of collaboration. It’s not just solo,” says Gore. “The first half is solo, but the second half is all collaboration. The guys have been super supportive in this line-up, and they’ve done everything they can possibly do to help make it a success. We’ve had a lot of sold out shows. Everywhere we are going the audience is growing.”
“People get to see the world of guitar when they come to International Guitar Night. There are a lot of unique voices in guitar, and we all stand out in our own way. If we just recognize and embrace that, we can really take the audience to greater heights. I think that people who come to IGN know that they’re in for an experience of hearing the finest guitar players that are out there today.
“We want people to come because they’re curious, and we want them to come back because they had an excellent experience and they’re becoming fans of acoustic guitar.”
Capturing the energy of the foursome in a concert setting, the quartet has released “IGN 2016 Live,” a nine-song CD offering an exemplary representation of what makes the show an unforgettable experience.
“This idea of doing something live in Europe wouldn’t have happened without Lulo, Andre and Mike,” says Gore. “We got together last May and we put together shows in Germany and Poland. We recorded the shows every night and took the best takes, and that is the live CD. There’s a lot of great stuff on it — a lot of great duos that are very introspective. There are up-tempo pieces. There are introspective pieces. There are also really good encore pieces as well. So, it’s wonderful. It’s really been a dream come true.”
Over the past decade, thanks to the efforts of artists like Gore, the acoustic guitar scene has surged in popularity among players and fans. A community of extraordinary players is establishing their own genre.
“What has been the big change over the past couple of decades with this is that I think that there’s a better sensitivity among the world of guitarists to each other,” says Gore. “When I first started out, it was super competitive between the individual players. What we try to emphasize is not competition but collaboration. Maybe I’ve helped a little bit with that. I certainly hope so.”
IF YOU GO
What: “International Guitar Night”
Where: Sellersville Theater, 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville.
When: Doors: 7:#0 p.m.; Show: 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 1.
Tickets: $21.50; Cabaret: $30.
Info.: Call 215-257-5808 or visit www.st94.com.