Guitarists to Hit the Stage for Burma’s First Instrumental Show

By Kyaw Phyo Tha 16 January 2014

RANGOON — With the first ever instrumental show that would bring nearly two dozen guitarists on stage, Burma’s guitar fans will have a glimpse of some of the country’s most gifted six-string virtuosos performing live. For some of the participants, it will be a rare chance to publicly show off their guitar skills that they have painfully practiced in their bedrooms.

At Rangoon’s Myoma Parade Ground on Jan. 26, a total of 22 famous, as well as rising, Burmese guitarists will share the stage at an open-air Burmese style guitar festival called “Meet the Guitar Heroes.”

“It’s the first-ever guitar instrumental show to be held in Burma, and I have long dreamed about it,” said Ghingar, the organizer of the event. The managing director admitted that he was inspired by the “G3” guitar concert tours organized by American rock instrumental guitarist Joe Satriani featuring him alongside two other guitarists.

“We have great guitarists who are good in their own right. That’s why I have arranged the show,” he explained.

According to a list of the participants provided by the organizers, the event will be not only joined by guitarists known nationwide, like Chit San Maung of the band Iron Cross, Zaw Myo Htut and John O’ Hara of Emperor. It will also feature a long-respected veteran guitarists, as well as younger players.

“Musically, they will play rock, blues and jazz because they will mainly focus on the kind of music they love,” Ghingar said.

“They can either play their own music or any piece they like,” he said, suggesting the audience is likely to hear a “tribute” to the playing of Joe Satriani, Vennie Moore or Steve Vai, who are popular among Burmese guitar enthusiasts.

Chit San Maung said he was afraid at first if the show would attract any attention from both players and audiences. “An Instrumental show is music only, so I was worried initially, but when I saw the list [of participants], I was really impressed and encouraged,” said the guitarist, who has produced one instrumental album.

Another guitarist, Naing Zaw, hopes the event will herald a brighter future for instrumental guitarists. The rock guitarist with five instrumental albums of his own said everyone is not fond of instrumental music here.

“So the event will become an exclusive place for guitarists to play instrumental, whether they have their own albums or not,” said the guitarist, who will also play three songs at the event.

“It has never happened before. We want to keep this tradition alive as it could give you a chance to let people know who you are and how much you can play,” he added.

Ghingar admitted that the event may be a little bit strange to the Burmese audience but, he said, he doubts it.

“We still have the audience of our great guitarists here. Being strange to general audience would be an attraction, I think. Plus, it’s a free show!”