Strunz & Farah
Strunz & Farah is a guitar duo with an eclectic sound that could be described as a cross between world fusion and flamenco.
Jorge Strunz, born in Costa Rica, and Ardeshir Farah, hailing from Iran, met in the United States in 1979. Jorge Strunz was one of the founders of the Latin jazz band, Caldera (band).
Caldera was a Latin band that combined jazz, funk and rock with a wide variety of Latin music. For instance, 1970s fusion explorers like Return to Forever and Weather Report influenced Caldera.
The four albums they produced (none of which have been reissued on CD) did not sell, and the band called it quits in 1979. However, most of Caldera’s members kept busy long after its breakup. Strunz went on to form the guitar duo Strunz & Farah with Iranian/Persian guitarist Ardeshir Farah.
Having both played guitar professionally since their early teens, they soon teamed up and released their self-produced first album Mosaico in 1980, which started their own label, Selva Records. Soon they caught the attention of Richard Bock, an important figure in jazz radio, who helped the duo land a contract with jazz label Milestone.
Since then Strunz & Farah have played on numerous recordings together, releasing several albums as a duo and collaborating with the likes of Rubén Blades and L. Subramaniam. Jorge Strunz was once recommended by friend Paco de Lucía as a replacement for Al Di Meola in The Guitar Trio.
The duo also worked with Sting on the album The Living Sea: Soundtrack from the IMAX Film as session musicians.
Sound Observations With Strunz And Farah
By David Moye
There are few things that are certain in this world: Death, taxes and Strunz and Farah will be playing at Anthology sometime in May.
“It seems like we’re here once a year,” said Jorge Strunz, who has playing with partner Ardeshir Farah for 30 years.
“I think we were here last year on May 8,”
This year, they are playing May 7 and the night time Mother’s Day show on May 8.
It’s appropriate considering how significant their mothers were to their musical development.
“I was born in Costa Rica,” Strunz said. “However, my mother influenced my love of Spanish music. She had a whole collection.”
Farah, by comparison, was born in Iran, but while he grew up in different surroundings than his longtime partner, his mom was also an influence.
“She loved latin music, but I also learned about Persian music as well.”
Despite growing up in different parts of the world, Strunz and Farah say their musical connection — which began in 1980 — was immediate.
“I met Ardeshir through a mutual friend,” Strunz said. “And it was very fluid musically. Our technical approach was similar as were our musical interests.”
That includes a love of flamenco style guitar, but, they are quick to assert, that doesn’t mean their own music is flamenco — although it gets labeled as such on occasion.
“To say our style is flamenco is a misnomer,” Strunz said. “And it’s an injustice to the musicians in Spain. It’s very particular style that uses the fingernails instead of a plectrum [pick] and European rhythms.”
However, since the style was influenced by Arab music similar to the Persian music Farah heard growing up in Iran and has influenced latin music like Strunz heard in Costa Rica, they do see some similarities.
But only some.
“Really, we’re influenced by jazz, classical and folkloric styles,” Strunz said. “I listen to a lot of 20th century classical composers like Stravinsky and Prokiev.”
Meanwhile, Farah seeks out up-and-coming Persian musicians.
“I find them on YouTube,” he said.
This time around, Strunz and Farah will be performing songs from their newest album, “Journey Around The Sun,” and it will be a chance for fans who haven’t seen them in concert to see which guitarist plays which part.
Hint: It won’t be easy.
“The ball is in play back and forth,” Strunz said. “There’s a lot of improvisation. Sometimes, we’ll switch on
who is playing the melody and than play certain harmonic or rhythmic features together.”