Guitar trios to share good vibrations in Port Angeles

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — You hold it close to your chest. It vibrates, murmurs and sings.

And you can take it with you, anywhere.

For Bert Lams, this is the appeal of the guitar — the one guitar he travels with from state to state, rock to jazz, surf to flamenco.

Lams is one among six guitarists to converge this Sunday night in a concert presented by the Juan de Fuca Foundation and Arts Northwest — a rare event, promised promoter Karen Hanan.

She's long been a fan of the California Guitar Trio and the Montreal Guitar Trio, so when the two groups got together for a tour, Hanan couldn't wait to bring them to Port Angeles.

The trios will take the stage, first separately and then all together, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., for a show that will sample just about every genre the guitar has touched through history.

Tickets are $15 and $25 at Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles; Pacific Mist Books, 121 W. Washington St., Sequim, and at the Juan de Fuca site, www.JFFA.org, while information is available at 360-457-5411 and on the Juan de Fuca Festival's Facebook page.

As executive director of Arts Northwest, Hanan played a part in the coming together of these men.

The California and Montreal trios both attended the Northwest Booking Conference in Eugene, Ore., two years ago; they heard each other's sets in the conference showcase — and then found they were on the same flight to Chicago afterward.

During an airport layover, the six guitarists sat down for drinks.

“We should do something together,” was the consensus, recalls Sebastien Dufour of the Montreal trio.

“It was kind of a gamble,” but the men were ready to try an altogether new project. They didn't have a fixed goal, Dufour says.

“By magic, chemistry . . . it worked,” he says, “from the very beginning.”

The men share a love for rock 'n' roll — and the “spaghetti Westerns,” Sergio Leone's classic 1960s films such as “A Fistful of Dollars” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

“That music is a big influence,” Dufour says.

So are pop bands from the '60s and '70s, from the Beatles to Queen.

“Classical music is always present,” Dufour adds. “Beethoven is there,” at the trios' shows.

Dufour, being from Quebec, speaks French, English and a bit of Spanish.

The California Guitar Trio members are as cosmopolitan. None is from California, though. Hideyo Moriya is from Japan, Lams is from Belgium and Paul Richards is from Utah.

They met in Los Angeles some 22 years ago and have since recorded 14 albums.

The California trio was also provider of the wake-up music on the space shuttle Endeavour.

Lams grew up in Brussels, listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival and Jimi Hendrix.

“Blues guitar was very important to me,” he says.

“The blues language is very limited, but there's a lot of expression within that.”

Throughout high school, all Lams wanted was to play guitar. He received classical training at the Royal Conservatory of Music, graduating with honors in 1984.

But “I took that blues background with me,” he says.

The California ensemble uses steel-stringed instruments while the Montreal trio wields nylon strings, Lams notes. But the more they play together, the better they blend as a sextet.

“There's a little bit of competition going on,” Lams says, “but it's all in good fun.”

Last modified: November 15. 2013 10:21PM
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