Lost Pedro
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Lost Pedro

Band Alternative Avant-garde


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"Monday Night in Seatle"

Monday nights often can seem pretty dull in Seattle, with many restaurants and nightclubs dark for the evening, few tourists scurrying about the city like on a Friday or Saturday night, and not a lot on the live music menu worth sampling.

But for the next 40 weeks, Monday nights in an intimate room in Ballard are filled with some of the most amazing guitar sounds that resonate with the essence of Seattle's diverse music scene, taking performance art to the people in a unique and wholly uplifting way.

Called Tuning The Air, a group of nine or 10 acoustic guitarists performs in the round for an audience seated on plush pillows on the floor of Seattle Circle Performance Space in the north annex of the Trinity Methodist Church (6512 23rd Ave. NW). The evening begins with interpretive dancers in crimson, followed by a solemn entrance by the guitarists, all dressed in black pants and cream-colored shirts, each seated on a stool surrounding the audience, which is served tea to begin.

Like wind chimes in perfect tune, or hand bells played in a church choir, the guitarists start with cascading individual notes that build into a guitar orchestra, ranging from original compositions to interpretations of classics. Monday night's first performance even featured a reworked, soaring version of the Beatles' "Elenore Rigby."

Tuning the Air is a project of the Seattle Guitar Circle. Rather than touring to find its audience, the Seattle Guitar Circle "is bringing the concept of the location-based performance team to Seattle," according to the group's Web site: www.tuningtheair.com.

Last year, the group did 39 performances, which change each week, and can also include dance, vocals and special guests.

Music director and co-producer Curt Golden describes the process as pure collaboration, everything from the writing, composition and performance.

"A lot of what we do is structurally improvised," said Golden, who first started playing guitar at 11 and is a teacher of the method known as Guitar Craft, presented by legendary progressive guitarist Robert Fripp. "From that, all sorts of ideas come. The music we do doesn't fit into any one category, but you will recognize the flavor of all of them."

There are classical flavors, rock flavors, blues, jazz, even shades of new age.

"It's a little bit like chamber music because it's a bunch of acoustic instruments, but we're guitarists, so there is a lot of rock n' roll in it," Golden said.

The array of guitars are not tuned traditionally, they are tuned in a cello-type tuning as part of the Guitar Craft. And the performers all differ in levels of ability and technique, creating an unusual ensemble with a multi-layered circle of sound.

"Part of the culture for this is the notion that even a modest player has something to contribute," Golden said. "So we have people of all levels here."

Golden has an impressive resume in the music business. After studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Curt played in a number of rock, blues, and jazz bands, and went on to record and tour extensively with the League of Crafty Guitarists. He also taught guitar and performed with a number of groups in New York City, including the rock band Desperate Measures, and then moved to Seattle to stay in 1998.

Monday nights works perfectly for the group, and this Monday was the group's initial performance for 2006. It also was the perfect place to spend 45 minutes away from the normal nightly news of the graveyard shift at the P-I.

"Part of the reasoning behind why we do this on Monday nights is we are not competing with the Crocodile Cafe, it's not a traditional date night, it's early in the evening, and it's only a 45-minute show," Golden said of why the group set Mondays for its showcase. "The music starts at eight, and by nine o'clock, you're on your way home, hopefully having had a wonderful and illuminating experience."

- Seattle PI


CD: Return to Paradise


for streaming samples



Chris, Travis and Howard met during Guitar Craft Seminars, led by Robert Fripp. Over the past 10 Years they have been involved in many guitar based ensembles including the League of Crafty guitarists. They formed a trio and called it Lost Pedro. They have a new CD release, "Return to Paradise". Scheduled to release in April of 2008.
With a mix of instrumental styles fusing classical, rock, blues, jazz, world music, progressive, as well as all original material, Lost Pedro's stunning virtuosity have earned them an enthusiastic following and standing ovation at Folklife 07. The are booked at Folklife 08.