“IndoBalkan” is the newest album by Goran Ivanovic & Fareed Haque, who both stopped by our showroom recently to play some compositions from their newly released CD.
On this visit, the duo recorded six pieces in our showroom: “Seven Boats” on Teodoro Perez guitars (2019 “Concierto” SP/IN, 2019 “Especial” SP/AE); “Topansko Oro” on Jochen Röthel guitars (2017 SP/AR, 2007 SP/CSAR); “Rhodes” on Maria & Felipe Jr. Conde guitars (2020 Felipe Conde Crespo “NEGRA” SP/AR, 2020 Maria Conde “Blanca” SP/CY); “IndoBalkan” on Tobias Berg guitars (2019 CD/WN, 2014 SP/PF); “Santorini” on Sakurai guitars (2019 Sakurai-Kohno “Professional-J” CD/CSAR, 2019 Masaki Sakurai “PC” CD/CSAR) and “War of the Worlds” on Annette Stephany guitars (2019 CD/AS, 2019 SP/IN).
Fareed has been a longtime friend of GSI. Our friendship dates back decades ago when he came to visit us for the first time looking for a Fleta guitar, which he fell head over heels in love with and ended up buying. Below you can see him playing Villa-Lobos, Ponce and Albeniz on that very 1981 Fleta y Hijos acquired from GSI.
Fareed is a brilliant musician who combines in his playing the beauty of two musical styles: Jazz and classical which he incorporates into his newest album “IndoBalkan” with duo partner Goran Ivanovic. Fareed was happy to answer a few questions we had to find out more about him and his project.
Tomasz Fechner (TF): Hi Fareed. Thank you for doing this interview. Throughout your career you’ve played many different musical styles. You played both jazz and classical guitar, but jazz for most of your career. What brought you back to classical guitar?
Fareed Haque (FH): I actually have always been involved with classical guitar repertoire. My first albums were all jazz music that I had written for nylon string guitar, and my first professional touring gigs with Paquito de Rivera, Bob James and Sting featured me playing nylon string Brazilian, Latin American and classical repertoire. Paquito de Rivera actually mentions in one of his books that I was the one that introduced him to the compositions of Antonio Lauro; we recorded and played a number of those together. I have more projects now that involve arrangements of classical repertoire, including the new album coming out that features my group-playing Frantz Casseus’ beautiful music.
TF: Your most recent GSI videos feature duets with Goran Ivanovic. Could you tell us more about your friendship with him and what led to the creation of your duo?
FH: Goran and I have been playing together for twenty years or so! But we took about a 15-year break just because we were so busy with other projects! We did two albums (Macedonian Blues and 7 boats) and toured a bunch and really had a blast together. I kept trying to find time to do more music together, and when Delmark Records reformed we finally found an opportunity to record and tour again. We really have a good time on the road. Together, we are two sketchy road dawgz. We listen to music and talk and talk and talk while driving to the gigs. I think we probably miss every other exit cuz we’re having so much fun just hanging out!
TF: Could you tell us more about your newest album – “IndoBalkan”?
FH: The new album is very different since we had a chance to tour with the music before recording. In addition, most of the music is more difficult and more through-composed than our previous records. I guess we’re both better players and better musicians, so we believe we’re able to get into some uncharted territory.
TF: Do you have a favorite piece from this new album?
FH: I think my favorites are “Detour Samba” and the title track “IndoBalkan”. I love “Detour Samba”, because it’s very intricate, and yet has that Yamandu Costa feel with some odd tempo twists and turns that make it very unique and fun. “IndoBalkan” is really cool because of the way it utilizes 5 against 4 as well as 9/8 time in an Indian and Balkan approach, so it literally is Indo-Balkan in construction as well as in name.
TF: What guitar that you played at GSI did you like the most and why?
FH: I think the Stephany guitars as well as the Rothel guitars are great! I was surprised and how well they responded to my classical and plectrum technique. I have pretty terrible nails so I’m very affected by the sensitivity and responsiveness of the treble strings. All of the guitars were great, but I was surprised at how the Stephany and Rothel guitars really stood out as modern yet traditional builds. Thanks to the support of great dealers like GSI I think the classical guitar is in a golden age, and the traditions of classical guitar building are assured to thrive and grow.
TF: Thank you for your kind words, Fareed. Do you have a favorite classical or flamenco guitar luthier?
FH: Rodriguez and Fleta! I’ve owned both to really understand why they are so valuable and musically unique. It is interesting to me that I’ve made many recordings but the recordings made on those great guitars sounded like the great old records. A great instrument has a complexity that lives and breathes beyond just playability and nice sound. I like to say that a fine instrument has a third dimension of resonance that creates a magical quality in a live performance and on a recording… and I say this from experience. I can’t tell you how many recording sessions I’ve been to where everybody in the room universally picked my Fleta out of a bunch of guitars… or situations where a fine instrument has saved the day in a concerto or chamber music performance. The old Masters knew what they were doing!
TF: You’re absolutely right! So many guitars these days are amazing, but there is something special about the traditional, timeless design. Last question, what is your life like during the pandemic?
FH: Of course all of my tours and concerts have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, so I’m recording videos and teaching online lessons. I’m enjoying the video editing process because I’m sort of a film buff, and more recently people have been hiring me to do private concerts, which is weird but cool! I like to say that radio is one of the worst situations for Live performance: Bad sound, no audience energy and microscopic attention to detail… but now you’ve added the dimension of visual to radio, so this makes it even worse!!! It’s nerve-wracking in a weird way to try to create a quality product when there is so little that one can control… Hard to tell what other people are hearing after your notes go through space and a few satellites!
TF: Thank you Fareed, I know that you have also prepared a special track for GSI. Could you tell us something about this composition?
FH: Goran has been writing a series of children songs, that will both be playable as solos or duo’s. Beautiful music that intermediate players can play together or separately. He literally sent me this track and the sheet music and I made up a part that would go along with it! The plan is to do that for all of these new tunes. We’ve included a copy of the sheet music for the solo piece as well as my additional part as a free gift to the GSI family. These parts were done quickly and late at night so keep an eye out for an upgraded version of the sheet music!
“Lala” for the GSI family from Goran Ivanovic and Fareed Haque
DOWNLOAD SHEET MUSIC
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