This week, our POTW is Dreaming Instrumental, compiled by Andy Salvanos. Andy is a highly talented musician, as evidenced by his beautiful tracks Solace and Peace, which feature on the playlist. Born in Sweden with Greek-Russian-Irish heritage, and growing up in the US, Salvanos spent a decade in Los Angeles as a session bassist, before settling in Glenalta, Australia. He is now a highly respected solo performer at events such as The Adelaide International Guitar Festival and The National Folk Festival. Here’s an example of his work:
The instrument behind these sounds is a 10 string Chapman Stick (also available as a 12 string variety) . Unlike the better-known 12 string guitar, all the strings are played separately, not in pairs, so Andy’s fingers can get pretty busy as he creates his hypnotic tunes.
I’ve come across the Chapman Stick before – when Nick Beggs* was playing with Iona, this was his weapon of choice for the bass-lines – so I have always thought of it as a bass instrument. But apparently Nick was only playing half the strings on the Iona pieces: presumably because he wasn’t performing solo. Andy’s self-composed solo pieces make full use of all the strings, so that he is effectively playing the equivalent of a bass and a treble guitar simultaneously. (For an equivalent solo piece from Nick, see here.)
Back to the playlist, before I get completely carried away discussing UK celtic prog rock! It’s an absolute beauty: full of dreamy, evocative instrumentals that you can pretty much float around the world on, as you journey into different lands through ethnic beats and instruments and the cinematic feel of this collection of tunes that keep coming back to solo guitar (or stick).
*Iona fans will appreciate this Youtube clip I found of Nick playing Chapman Stick for a Magenta recording.