Badi Assad, Vernon Reid, and Laraaji
New York Guitar Festival 2022
Originally Aired: Thursday, June 16, 2022
This third night features Brazilian polymath Badi Assad, who is a guitarist, yes, and…a singer, percussionist, keyboardist, and dancer. Also, on the third night, the possibly cosmic and definitely virtuosic shimmering fire of guitarist and composer Vernon Reid together with multi-instrumentalist Laraaji, perhaps on zither. John Schaefer hosts.
Since its founding in 1999 by David Spelman, the Artistic Director of the festival, and WNYC’s John Schaefer, host of the “New Sounds” radio series, the NYGF has taken advantage of the instrument’s unique ability to find a way into almost every kind of music we make. That includes places where you expect to find the guitar – Glenn Jones, for example, keeps alive the tradition of the path-breaking American folk guitarist John Fahey – and places where you don’t, as in the contemporary post-Minimalist music of Gyan Riley. So whether you’re a fan of William Tyler’s cosmic brand of country/folk or Badi Assad’s Brazilian-inflected jazz/pop, we’ve got a guitarist for you. A bunch of them, in fact. Two a night for four nights of live, in-person, in-front-of-real-people guitar playing.
Credit: Photo by Edu Pimenta
Younger sister of the great Brazilian guitar duo of Sergio & Odair Assad, Badi is not only a guitarist but also a singer and percussionist (sometimes using the guitar as a percussion instrument). She draws on elements of jazz, world music, and pop, and was co-curator of the 2014 edition of the New York Guitar Festival.
Credit: Photo by Karsten Staiger
One of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, Vernon Reid gained fame as the main songwriter for the rock band Living Colour, and as a founder of the Black Rock Coalition. Adept at metal, funk and jazz, Reid has also composed an ambitious multimedia piece called Artificial Afrika, and after collaborations with Bill Frisell, Jack Bruce, and Public Enemy (among others), began performing duos with zither player Laraaji.
Credit: Photo by Takuya Salam Unagami
Crashing this year’s guitar festival is the ambient zither player and electronic musician Laraaji. Famously part of Brian Eno’s groundbreaking Ambient Music series back in 1981, Laraaji has created a large body of atmospheric, often cosmic sounding music for zither, voice, processing, and occasionally piano. And in recent years, he’s performed as a duo with the guitarist Vernon Reid.
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