The event known as International Guitar Night is one of the longest running “mobile guitar festivals” in North America. The brainchild of musician Brian Gore, the aim of an International Guitar Night show is to treat audiences to a variety of music played on (you guessed it…) the guitar, covering multiple genres of music and offering the performers the free exchange of ideas within the context of a live performance each night.
“With International Guitar Night, we feature the finest technical players, each of whom are doing their own boundary-pushing compositions,” Gore says.
“There is a multicultural aspect to it because we feature guitarists from all over the world on every show. It ends up being a tremendously interesting evening of music for the musicians and the audience as well because they are able to see first-hand how differently-cultured influenced styles can come together.”
In its earliest days, Gore says that International Guitar Night used to be an informal jam that took place in the San Francisco area. He says that the first real theatre show for IGN took place in British Columbia more than a decade ago.
Over the course of the past decade plus, the only constant in the International Guitar Night show has been Gore.
Approximately one year prior to taking on touring commitments on behalf of the band, Gore seeks out guitarists whom he feels fit well into the IGN mould.
“I believe that people and composers who would fit in IGN know who they are,” Gore declares. “Very rarely has anybody who solicited me directly ended up being a part of the show.”
For this most recent round of touring, Gore has enlisted guitarists Clive Carroll, Alexandre Gismonti and Pino Forastiere to join him.
“When Clive was a young man, he was taken under the wing of this man John Renbourn and when I met John more than eight years ago, he was singing Clive’s praises. That is how I knew about Clive and how he ended up becoming involved.
“For Alexandre, his father Egberto Gismonti is a really famous Brazilian pianist and composer and is probably one of my personal favourites of all time. In my fanaticism for Egberto, I happened to find out that his son was a very original and fine guitarist and a unique composer himself.
“Pino is from Italy and what I found striking about him was the fact that he had studied composition himself and rather than just mimicking the technique of Michael Hedges, he uses a similar slapping and tapping technique but really made it his own.”
Gore says that the current International Guitar Night outing is the eleventh touring edition and says that he continues to be amazed by how well the guitarists involved on any given tour tend to complement one another.
“There has been very few occasions that the musical styles brought to the tour by these guitarists have been so different that they didn’t mesh,” he says. “At the start of doing International Guitar Night events, things were very segregated, you had people who were fans of just classical guitar music then you had other fans who like just Celtic music.
“But as the years have gone by, people have become more eclectic in their tastes for guitar music, including the players. I think that diversity in styles and music ends up resulting in a show that flows really well.”
Gore says that the enduring success of International Guitar Night through the United States and Canada in addition to many international markets has been a pleasant surprise to him.
“Usually in the theatre type of market that we are accustomed to playing, you get asked back to play any given city once or twice. Two times actually seems to be the normal limit for being asked back but we have had an incredible amount of repeat business from theatres.
“I think a big reason for the repeat business is that people know it’s not necessarily going to be the same show the next time the tour comes to their town. Plus, they discover that the quality of music in an IGN show is superior as well. It has all resulted in a touring cycle that has lasted more than 10 years now.”
In addition to looking forward to their upcoming Metro Moncton show, Gore says that he anticipates the group’s upcoming American tour dates that they will be playing in the New Year will be among the most extensive and successful the band has undertaken in their history.
“I expect it is going to be a great time in both Atlantic Canada as well as the U.S. The bookings keep increasing for the tour and I think this tour will end up being one of our best tours yet.
“I am really excited to be bringing these guys who have never been to Atlantic Canada out there to experience the culture.”
Article published in December 3, 2010 edition of the Times & Transcript