News Column

Strunz and Farah to play Latin jazz guitar at Hillsboro Arts Center

November 5, 2013


Nov. 05--The year was 1979. Ardeshir Farah, a student at the University of Southern California, heard news of the Iranian Revolution. He knew he wouldn't be able to return home. Thankfully, music was his refuge.

Farah, who grew up in Iran, said his house was a musical melting pot. The sounds of his mother's Latin American records inspired him to pick up guitar at age 9. He eventually became interested in rock, then jazz.

While he was at USC, Farah went to a concert by the Latin jazz group Caldera, where he heard guitarist Jorge Strunz play. Through a friend of a friend, Farah was able to meet Strunz in person.

Their guitar playing instantly meshed. As they sailed through the notes of "Czardas," a Hungarian gypsy tune, Strunz knew something was different.

"There was a natural affinity between our styles and musical goals," Strunz said. "I felt I had found the right person to collaborate with."

More than 30 years later, the duo have started their own record company, Selva, have produced 19 records, and are on track to release their 20th in March 2014. Their CDs "Primal Magic" and "Americas" were awarded Billboard World Music Album of the Year and they have been nominated for a Grammy in the World Music category.

Strunz and Farah describe their sound as drawing from each of their upbringings -- for Strunz, the Afro-Caribbean rhythms of his childhood spent in Costa Rica, Columbia and Mexico, for Farah, the Middle East.

Overall, they say that their music is a bridge between cultures.

"We come from such different parts of the earth," Strunz said. "The guitar brought us together and we were able to evolve into a style of our own."

While both went to college to study professions other than music, Strunz said that playing music is more of a calling, something he was driven to do.

"I had made up mind at 12 that I wanted to play music," Strunz laughed. "I just had to convince my family."

Strunz and Farah, based in California, travel the globe to perform concerts across the United States, Puerto Rico, and even India.

For their concert at Hillsboro's Walters Cultural Arts Center on Friday. Nov. 8, they will be playing songs from past albums and pieces from their soon-to-be-released record.

Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah will be performing at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 at the Walters Cultural Arts Center 527 E. Main St. in?Hillsboro. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 day of show. Visit for more information.

-- Taylor Smith


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