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Guitarist Gints Smukais announces concert series and releases video with American Ian Ethan Case

Musician Gints Smukais announces a concert series “Landscapes” with American guitarist Ian Ethan Case (Boston, USA) and publishes a music video filmed in the USA. Ian Ethan Case is an acoustic double-neck guitar virtuoso who is considered one of the most creative and engaging fingerstyle guitarists in the world.

In early October, the two masters of the acoustic guitar will meet for the “Landscapes” concert series, where they will perform their original compositions and Latvian and foreign melodies familiar to the audience, as well as demonstrate the subtle world of fingerstyle guitar playing, in which all genres can meet.

The concerts will take place:

Gints Smukais says about Ian Ethan Case: “I am happy that there are many guitar enthusiasts and musicians in Latvia who actively promote fingerstyle guitar playing, but no matter how much of it we have already seen here, travelling to the epicentres of fingerstyle culture, I have come to the conclusion that its expression is even broader than we could imagine. Ian Ethan Case is a great example of that and a great inspiration to me. Listening to his music, I realised that there really are no limits to fingerstyle. We share not only this style of playing, but also the beginnings of a musical journey that started with rhythm instruments. We love rhythm and playing it in melodic cascades through the particular characteristics of the acoustic guitar. I am grateful that our paths have intertwined and now we can create and play together in concerts.”

The two guitarists first met in person in Boston in September 2022 after Gint's participation in the World Guitar Fingerstyle Championships held in Winfield, USA. In Boston, the two musicians created a video for Ian Ethan Case’s “Aftershocks”, which particularly inspired Gints, so he wrote a second voice for it, enriching and articulating the message of the piece and giving it another rhythmic and harmonic dimension. Video by Ian Ethan Case.

Ian Ethan Case says of his collaboration with Gints: “It means a lot to me to have been able to perform and record this piece with Gints. For this kind of highly detailed, structured, specific piece, it's almost never possible to bring in an additional musician, let alone another acoustic fingerstyle guitarist. From the first time we performed the piece together, it worked! Gints had taken the serious time to learn every nuance of the piece, plus he had found a way to add his own musical input that would enrich the song rather than detract from it, and that's not easy. I'm very honoured that he cared enough and felt enough about the piece to put in such serious work, and I'm really looking forward to playing it together in these concerts! I am also really excited to explore Latvia with Gints, as I had some unforgettable moments and feelings when I was in Estonia a while ago.”

With “Aftershocks”, the guitarists invite us to reflect on and be aware of the notes that each of us plays and stands for in life, because everything that is thought, said, and done in this world has a very big echo. It is therefore important to pay attention to what are the things and events that should have the longest resonance and that need to be controlled or even blocked to allow other things to exist and be heard.

The two musicians met during the pandemic, when Ian looked up Gints on the internet after watching a video made and recommended by a friend, also an American guitarist. It was a compilation of five of the best fingerstyle guitarists that you might not have heard of. The video also included a clip of Gints’s original composition “Flourish”, which made a big and lasting impression on Ian. Ian says: “Gint's performance was not only honest, complex, deep and really refreshing, but it also showed a real exploration of music and a real love of music, which is the most important thing for me.”

Ian Ethan Case is an acoustic double-neck guitarist and Candyrat records artist who has toured throughout the USA, Canada, many parts of Europe and beyond. His unique playing style and compositional flair has won him high praise from music reviewers and guitar grandmasters alike. Ian has released several albums and his music is played on radio stations in the USA. Ian has shared the stage with world-famous musicians, such as: Victor Wooten, Stanley Jordan, GoGo Penguin, Andy McKee, Grammy Award winners Eugene Friesen, Paul McCandless and others.

Gints Smukais is a guitarist who has been developing his guitar playing skills since the age of 14, exploring and mastering composition and guitar playing in percussive fingerstyle. Gints has won awards at prestigious international guitar competitions in the USA and Canada, and regularly performs in concerts both as a solo artist, performing his own compositions, and in collaboration with well-known Latvian musicians and bands. Gints' album of original music “Flourish” was nominated for the Latvian Music Recording Award “Zelta Mikrofons” in the category “2018 Debut of the Year”. He was the first fingerstyle guitarist from the Baltic States to perform as a soloist at the world's largest music industry export show “NAMMshow2018” (California, USA) and represented Latvia at “Tallin Music Week” in 2021. In 2022, his collaborative project – the original music album “BĒRZIŅŠ JAUNAIS SMUKAIS” – was nominated for the Latvian Music Recording Award in the category “2022 Instrumental or Cross-Genre Music Album of the Year”.