It’s 2016. I’m at Heathrow right now, flying back to South Africa having enjoyed my fourth visit to New York in just three years. But, this visit was very different.

This past weekend, I played two of the most spectacular venues in the world within the span of 24 hours.  It all started in London, on Friday night.  I’d been on tour as the support act for my favorite punk rock icon, Iggy Pop.  London was my last date on the tour and our show that evening was at the legendary Royal Albert Hall.

This is the 6th year of the Alternative Guitar Summit, but it still feels brand new. There seem to be brilliant guitarists everywhere that are finding new roads into our imaginations. 

South African guitarist Derek Gripper is the kind of musician who makes painstakingly difficult technique sound like the product of effortless musicianship and adventurous curiosity. Though he trained a classical violinist, he is perhaps best known for transcribing music played on the 21-string kora instrument from West Africa and arranging it for guitar. Last year, he presented a TEDx talk about his work and we strongly encourage you to check it out.

Listening to music can be an emotional experience that stirs you to sadness, joy or exhilaration. Music can also take you on a stimulating intellectual journey that has you appreciating form, structure, history and cultural idioms. However, music is perhaps most magical when it is both emotionally engaging and intellectually provocative. Dom Flemons’s brand of old-timey folk music falls into this more magical realm.

For most, Valerie June’s success to date seems meteoric. This Southern gal from Jackson, Tennessee has already wowed British audiences on the legendary music show “Later… with Jools Holland”, an iconic musical program that has showcased everyone from Paul McCartney to Björk. She sang a duet with Eric Church at the American Country Music Awards in 2013.

The British lutenist, scholar, and pedagogue,  Nigel North has been captivating audiences with his brilliant playing for decades. He has become one of the premier authorities on the performance and interpretation of early music. His performance at the Audible Cloisters: Guitar Marathon will focus on French lute music of the 17th century. In the following interview he elucidates certain aspects of the lute and music of this period. Additionally, he talks about the issue of authenticity in early music and gives his advice to young artists negotiating the pitfalls of historical performance.


As we prepare for the ‘Audible Cloisters’ marathon in May we hope to give all the artists involved an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions about their lives in music and provide a greater insight for our audience. We are kicking off this series of interviews with the brilliant guitarist, Dylan Carlson. For the better part of 30 years Carlson has been the frontman of the drone metal band, Earth. He has subsequently gone on to cultivate a unique style blending a visceral, raw aesthetic with an almost penitent improvisational simplicity.

This year, we asked musicians to fill out a page in our 2014 digital scrapbook (crayons and colored pens provided). The results are fascinating--- see this fun assortment of Q&A's from your favorite artists at the New York Guitar Festival:

What current or future project are you the most excited about?

Currently, I'm deeply enjoying the challenge and process of writing a soundtrack to Ozu's silent film, I Was Born, but. Each viewing I see more details and depth of narrative. This silent film project is unlike anything Toubab Krewe has been a part of. 

I've been working on a lot of original music and collaborating with my brother, Elliot (aka DJ Equal) and my father Steven. I am looking forward to releasing some of this material as soon as possible.     


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