It’s not every night you hear a beatboxing flutist, but with international instrumental guitar duo Strunz & Farah one can’t expect a typical concert experience. Acclaimed as much for their international virtuosity as for their dazzling eclectic live performances, Middle Eastern-flavored jazz/flamenco duo Costa Rican Jorge Strunz and Iranian Ardeshir Farah are credited for pioneering guitar-focused world music before the term even existed. The Grammy-nominated pair shares a prolific partnership spanning more than three decades, meeting in 1979 and learned of their shared ability to play mind-blowing instrumental guitar improvisations at lightning speed.
Strunz & Farah showcased their equaled mastery of melody and harmony on nylon strings their two nights at Hollywood jazz supper club Catalina’s Dec. 6 and 7. Sharply dressed in dark suits and Beatle boots, they started the night off with “Four Winds,” a bright and lively new tune from their forthcoming yet-untitled album that will mark their 18th full-length release. Their live shows often feature different guest musicians on a variety of instruments, and on this tour they were joined by Middle Eastern percussionist Majeed Ghorbani and flutist Katisse Buckingham. “Heat of the Sun” highlighted the duo’s impressive ability to perform explosive melody lines in perfect tandem.
A highlight of the evening was the improvised flute/guitar duel between Farah and Buckingham that segued into a surprising ?uestlove-inspired beatbox solo on flute, delighting the audience and stagemates alike. The evening closed with Gypsy-inspired “Jamilah” that again showcased the pair’s mystifying technical skills on guitar, culminating in a crescendo of sound from all the instruments on stage.