Guitar trio showcases global style 

There’s nothing that makes you feel like more of a dope...

montrealguitartrio.jpg

Who: Montreal Guitar Trio

Where: MY (Millennium) Place

When: Tuesday, May 11

Tickets: $17-$20

There’s nothing that makes you feel like more of a dope than being presented with the opportunity to use years of Grade school French classes and finding all you can come up with is: "je ne parle pas la Français, can we do the interview in English?" Belgian kids can speak five languages by the time they go to kindergarten. Pretty much all I know is that citizens of la Belle Province call Bits & Bites Méli Mélo and Five Alive Deli Cinq .

Lucky for me, Marc Morin’s linguistic skills extend far beyond the realm of snack foods.

As a Canadian, Morin is adept at communicating in both official languages. Musically, Morin, S é bastien Dufour and Glenn L é vesque – known collectively as the Montreal Guitar Trio – are even more multilingual than Belgian kindergarten kids, communicating a rich tapestry of cultural genres, forms and styles. From North American traditions such as rock and folk to flamenco, South American, Indian, Asian and other genres from all corners of the globe, the Trio is redefining classical guitar beyond musical borders.

The threesome formed out of the classical guitar performance program at the University of Montreal in 1998. The Trio’s original focus was integrating Brazilian and Tango music with more traditional classical guitar and they produced a debut CD, Meninas , before they had even started playing concerts.

Buoyed by the cultural diversity of their home city, Morin, Dufour and L é vesque have since expanded the international flavour of their recordings to all continents. A second album, Garam Masala, was released in 2002.

"One of our purposes is to discover and try as many musical influences as we can," explains Morin. "We worked with many musicians to learn the ‘swing,’ the ‘heart’ of some musical styles. The guitar is the best instrument for that kind of process as we can find forms of guitar in all cultures of the world and each of them has its technique and particularities. From China to India, from Africa to the Middle East, the musics of the world contain discoveries for several lifetimes."

In addition to a worldly lineup of musical genres the Trio has collaborated with a worldly lineup of instrumentalists including percussionists, tabla players, banjo pickers, violinists, flautists, bansuri players, and other guitarists.

Projects on the horizon include collaborations with electronica DJs, Japanese Shakuhachi flute players, Indian female vocalists, and Brazilian guitar player Celso Machado.

Regardless of how deep the Trio’s collaboration pool becomes, Morin says they still appreciate the pared-down simplicity of performing with only guitars in their musical quivers, as will be the case with their MY Place show on Tuesday evening.

"To have only guitar sounds brought us to use the guitars as sound objects, using the wood, the neck and all possibilities that can bring some new sounds," writes Morin.

"We really like to play in trio for an audience. It always makes fun and relaxing concerts. It's still the most natural thing for us."

Tuesday night’s show, part of the MY Place/Whistler Arts Council 2003-04 Performance Series will be the Trio’s first visit to Whistler and their first headlining appearance in B.C. Tickets for the Montreal Guitar Trio are $20 for adults, $17 for students and seniors. The show begins at 8 p.m.

For more information call 604-935-8410 or go to www.whistlermillenniumpl.com.

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