The return of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ biennial Wall to Wall Guitar Festival erupts September 13-15, 2007. This three-day festival rejoices in all things guitar in a nearly-round-the-clock celebration and exploration of an instrument that holds an essential place in almost every musical tradition around the globe. The Wall to Wall Guitar Festival, Take Two , boasts over 30 diverse musicians, from as close as Krannert’s Central Illinois backdoor all the way to the deep south, Hawaii, and beyond. International artists taking part call places like India, Scotland, Spain, France, and Iraq home, but for three days this fall, they’ll all reside in this teeming guitar bazaar filled with uncommon collaborations, unbelievable legends, and undeniable energy.
Building upon the intense momentum of the 2005 inaugural festival, Wall to Wall, Take Two, promises an even greater breadth of genres, variety of activities, and capacity for unexpected moments. There will be nine mainstage concerts (most with multiple billings), six free performances in the Krannert Center lobby, the return of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, GarageBand workshops presented by Apple Computer, guitar workshops at local music stores, Guitar Hero competitions (including a VIP competition on opening night), exhibits at Techline and the Center for American Music, a Krannert Center Youth Series performance, and numerous opportunities to dive into the instrument through commentaries, discussions, and interactive workshops—all assembled by Krannert Center’s director Mike Ross and his staff, in collaboration with the festival’s artistic advisor, David Spelman. Spelman, the founder/director of the New York Guitar Festival. Spelman, who will also help launch the Adelaide International Guitar Festival in South Australiathis year, says he vividly remembers the “impromptu collaborations” that evolved in the 2005 festival, and expects “Wall to Wall, Take Two, to be even more exciting and full of surprises.”
The 2007 featured players include an all-star opening night line-up of Toubab Krewe, Sonny Landreth with Cindy Cashdollar (a 2005 participant), Campbell Brothers, The Yohimbe Brothers (with returnee Vernon Reid), Bob Brozman, and Led Kaapana. They are joined for this three-day immersion by Rahim AlHaj, Pierre Bensusan, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Tim Brookes, Shawn Colvin, The Delta Kings, Ed Gerhard, Alex de Grassi, Buddy Guy, Fareed Haque, Goran Ivanovic, Jorma Kaukonen, Kaki King (another W2W alum), Los Lobos, Harry Manx, John McLaughlin, Tony McManus, North Mississippi Allstars, Paul O’Dette, The Romeros, composer Phil Kline, Dan Zanes (also a second-timer), and Natalia Zukerman.
Partners like Apple Computer and iTunes will bring the festival even closer through podcasted interviews with artists, special festival downloads, and opportunities to listen to music and readings from Wall to Wall musicians. Regular updates will be posted at WalltoWallGuitar.com. Single tickets and festival passes are on sale June 29 at 10am. Festival passes include all nine mainstage events; passes must be purchased by July 20 for priority seating. Festival pass prices range from $103 for students to $216 for standard admission.Tickets for individual shows will also be available for purchase. www.walltowallguitar.com.
Wall to Wall Guitar Festival Opening Night Party
Toubab Krewe, Sonny Landreth with Cindy Cashdollar, Campbell Brothers, The Yohimbe Brothers with Vernon Reid and DJ Logic, Bob Brozman, Led Kaapana
Thursday, September 13 at 7pmLobby and Amphitheatre, $5
It’s all about the mix—this teeming guitar bazaar—this surging, pulsing open market of eating and dancing and mingling and listening and rocking and laughing—it’s here...it’s now...it’s in the moment! Experience five live performances, outdoor food vendors, the Wall to Wall Studio Theatre Store, Guitar Hero competitions, and more–there’s even free coffee to keep the crowd going on into the night.
Blending Mali’s desert blues with Surf and “Dirty South” influences into a genre all its own, Toubab Krewe sets a “new standard for fusions of rock ‘n’ roll and West African music,” says Banning Eyre at Afropop Worldwide. This instrumental quintet developed its unique sound over the course of extended stays in West Africa, immersing itself in the culture, studying, and performing with masters. Toubab Krewe will take the stage at 7pm in the lobby.
Eric Clapton calls Sonny Landreth “probably the most underestimated musician on the planet.” The New York Times calls him “a musician who has deeply investigated his instrument without leaving his roots.” Come witness the bottleneck slide and thumbpicking that have garnered such esteem. Hear the percussive guitar playing that burst from his southern Louisiana heritage and forged a sound all his own en route to becoming the acclaimed “King of Slydeco.” Those who want to go to school on slide guitar can pick up Cindy Cashdollar’s definitive 2004 Slide Show. Several of the artists who joined this five-time Grammy winner on that recording will be in town for the second W2W festival. At 8pm Sonny Landreth Band and Ms. Cashdollar will take the stage in the lobby.
When such musicians as Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin ushered gospel into secular concert halls, much African-American sacred music burst forth from sanctuaries and poured into the streets. Only recently has that phenomenon occurred for the “Sacred Steel” repertoire of Holiness-Pentecostal gospel vocals and electric steel guitar. Their 2004 National Heritage Fellowship placed the Campbell Brothers squarely at the forefront of this emergence. “With pedal steel guitar lines swooping skyward like a gospel shouter; two Campbell brothers trade off leads, carrying the songs to peak after peak,” writes Jon Pareles in the New York Times, while Andy Grigg in Real Blues writes that brother Chuck is “the Jimi Hendrix and the Django Reinhardt of the steel guitar.” Don’t miss the Campbell Brothers lobby performance at 9pm.
An All About Jazz review characterized the Yohimbe Brothers album The Tao of Yo as “hard rock psycho-turntabulism that pushes the envelope,” and that’s a good way to begin to get a handle on what these musicians are all about. The “brothers” are Vernon Reid of the rock band Living Colour, who returns following a blistering appearance at the first Wall to Wall festival, and turntablist DJ Logic, whose jazz collaborators have included Joshua Redman, John Scofield, and Medeski Martin and Wood. Amazon describes the Brothers’ first recorded venture, Front End Lifter , as a “potent blend of hip-hop, electronica, circus music, blues and soul, dub reggae, and, as is to be expected, full-tilt rock & roll.” The Yohimbe Brothers will keep the night going strong as they take the stage at 10pm in the lobby.
Bob Brozman has been called “a walking archive of 20th–century American music.” A Blues in London interview began, “Spoken of with reverence by slide guitarists around the world, Bob Brozman is more than a virtuoso.” Asked what led him to champion National guitars over the years, Brozman responded, “a National goes from a whisper to a roar, controlled by muscle action, which ideally is controlled by emotional feeling.” Those emotions resulted in back-to-back wins in Guitar Player’s Readers’ Polls in both blues and slide guitar categories. At Krannert Center he celebrates Hawaiian slack key guitar for a performance with Led Kaapana, a master of the style who appeared on this year’s Grammy-winning Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar—Live From Maui. Having grown up with no electricity on the black sand bay of Kalapana on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kaapana tells of backyard parties that lasted for days. “People played in shifts, taking over when somebody went to sleep. You’d fall asleep to the music, wake up...and the music was still playing.” After 40 years as a professional musician, the music is still playing. Accompanying his slack key playing with an extraordinary baritone voice that can modulate to a leo ki`eki`e (falsetto), musical legend Kaapana will plant palms swaying in balmy breezes in the heartland evening during this outdoor concert from 7pm to 9pm.
Wall to Wall Guitar Festival, Take Two Calendar of Events
Th Sep 6 3:30pm World on a String
Phil Kline, composer
Tu Sep 11 1pm The Eddie Alkire Collection
Bob Brozman, Led Kaapana, Tim Brookes
We Sep 12 9am Vintage Instrument Display (continues till 5pm daily from Sep 12-15)
Th Sep 13 6pm John Lennon Educational Tour Bus
7pm Wall to Wall Guitar Festival: Opening Night Party
Toubab Krewe, Sonny Landreth with Cindy Cashdollar,
Campbell Brothers, The Yohimbe Brothers with Vernon Reid
and DJ Logic, Bob Brozman, Led Kaapana
Fr Sep 14 12pm Interval
Goran Ivanovic and Fareed Haque Duo
Shawn Colvin and Natalia Zukerman
4pm Traffic Jam
Bob Brozman and Led Kaapana, Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar
7pm Global Guitar
Rahim AlHaj, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Pierre Bensusan
10pm Los Lobos
11:30pm Wall to Wall Guitar Festival: Afterglow
North Mississippi Allstars
Sa Sep 15 10am Family Fun
Dan Zanes and Friends
10am John Lennon Educational Tour Bus
2pm Classic and Historic
Paul O’Dette, The Romeros
4pm Traffic Jam
5pm Wood, Steel, and Beyond
Kaki King, Tony McManus, and Alex de Grassi
7pm John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension
9:30pm Evening Blues
Jorma Kaukonen with Cindy Cashdollar, Buddy Guy
11:30pm Wrap–up Afterglow
The Delta Kings