Guardians of Guitar to play Miners Foundry in Nevada City Saturday
KNOW & GO
WHAT: Miners Foundry’s presents Guardians of Guitar with Batten-Menn-Brosh
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 9, doors 7 p.m., show 8 p.m.
WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City
TICKETS: $25/Adv, $30/Door, All Tickets are General Admission, Tickets are available for purchase online at http://www.minersfoundry.org, by phone at 530-265-5040, or in person Tuesday-Friday at the Miners Foundry Box Office. Tickets can also be purchased at BriarPatch Food Co-op
For one night only Jennifer Batten, Gretchen Menn and Nili Brosh, three of the most exciting guitarists producing music today will unite as Guardians of Guitar, Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Miners Foundry, to present an exhilarating trio show that celebrates their individual and collective impacts on the art of guitar.
This all-star line up includes Jennifer Batten a groundbreaking advocate, virtuoso, and teacher of two-handed tapping as a guitar technique, who spent her earlier years performing with megastars such as Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck. Gretchen Menn, a member of Zepparella, America’s popular, all-female Led Zeppelin powerhouse, and one of the foremost disciples of the Jimmy Page guitar style. Menn is also an adventurous composer who has integrated Gypsy jazz, prog, metal, and classical into her own music and guitar playing. And Nili Brosh a member of legendary guitarist Tony MacAlpine’s band, opened for Swedish heavy metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen during his 2013 USA tour, and was the lead guitarist in Cirque du Soleil’s production of Michael Jackson ONE.
The Batten-Menn-Brosh tour is an inspirational event of brilliant compositions, frightening technique, impassioned playing and evolved musicality. Each show is a “must see” evening for musicians and music fans seeking to be mesmerized by unique, progressive, and transformative performances.
We caught up with Batten-Menn-Brosh via email to learn more about Guardians of Guitar, their love of guitar and what audiences can expect from Saturday night’s concert.
Batten-Menn-Brosh is so much larger than just this show coming to the Miners Foundry. Can you explain a little more about Guardians of Guitar, how you got involved and what you hope it accomplishes?
Jennifer Batten: I think the seed was planted when the three of us did a podcast together. It formed a bit of a sisterhood as we have some common stories of what it’s been like to work in such a male dominated field. Nili and Gretchen approached me not long after regarding the possibility of doing a tour together. As far as what it will accomplish is giving the audience a great versatile show first and foremost. As a side, perhaps it might get a buzz as becoming a thing. We hope to generate enough interest to continue in other parts of the country or world.
Gretchen Menn: Nili and I are good friends, and have talked about playing shows together pretty much since we met. What Jennifer didn’t know was that we’ve been mustering the courage for years to see if she’d be into doing something like this with us. This year Nili and I really wanted to make it happen, and we sent Jennifer an email to see if she’d consider it. She said yes, and Nili and I were like, “Well, holy crap… this is happening.” It still feels surreal. Both Nili and Jennifer are two of the absolute best, and it’s amazing for me to be part of this. What I hope it accomplishes? Don’t we all want our energies and endeavors to have widespread and massively positive impact? But rather than get ridiculous about it, I’ll just say that music has one of the highest benefit-to-risk ratios out there—it has the power to unite, inspire, comfort, delight. For many, music is a lifeline in their darkest times. It can serve as common ground for people with nothing else in common. And the worst likely case scenario is a particular song/style/artist might not be your cup of tea. So what I hope this accomplishes is to bring some genuinely good intentions, through a celebration of music, to those who will be part of the evening with us.
Nili Brosh: Gretchen and I being great friends we are always looking for more fun musical things to do together, and we really wanted to focus on our original material. We wanted to add a guitar player we both admire, look up to, and grew up on, and of course the choice in Jennifer was a complete non-brainer for us. Luckily she was into it! My hope for it is that we each convey our own individual voices, and at the same time show the audience how our camaraderie can turn it all into one neat package together as well.
During the show will there be a lot of interaction with the audience in between songs? Is it more performance or is there some behind the playing with tips and tools being shared as well?
Batten: I do tell stories about what the audience is about to see. I do a multimedia show playing in synch with films I’ve made. We will play a couple tunes as a finale and do some trading of ideas.
Menn: This will be a celebration of guitar through performance. Having attended many shows of instrumental music, I learned how much I enjoy hearing performers talk, tell stories, and let me in on things I might not have known otherwise. So I try to think of what might be amusing or interesting or somehow relevant to share with audiences between songs. Instrumental music is so abstract, which leaves huge room for the imagination and encourages more active engagement from the listeners. Sometimes it’s nice for the ears to have a break within all that. And if anyone wants to talk shop/techniques/creativity, I’m always around at the merch table after the show, and I love geeking out.
Brosh: To me the show is performance based, but it’s always a goal of mine to interact with the audiences through energy and showmanship.
How do you connect to the guitar more than any other instrument? What does the guitar convey better or differently than other instruments?
Batten: The guitar has always resonated strongly with me to the point where I’d pretend the guitarist on the radio was me when I was young. I think the instrument picks the player to some degree. I think because there are an infinite number of ways to approach each note on the guitar, that it’s in the top handful of instruments that allows you to really personalize a sound. It’s much more physical than a lot of other instruments.
Menn: I love the versatility of the guitar. Other than the human voice, no instrument is more integral to a wider variety of musical genres: rock, metal, jazz, blues, country, folk, pop, soul, baroque, prog … you name it. It’s everywhere. And the range of expression you can get! It can be thunderous in an arena or intimate on a porch. For my tastes and interests, it’s the instrument that speaks to me and offers a magnificent spectrum. I love what Jennifer said—that the instrument picks you. I definitely felt that with the guitar.
Brosh: For me the fact that it is a versatile instrument that can be rhythmic, as well as a harmonic and melodic instrument kind of opens up doors to a lot of things. Emoting on the guitar is something that’s very important to me, so the many ways I can manipulate the strings to convey a musical touch and feel draws me to the instrument.
Can you explain how each of you is unique and/or similar in your approach to playing guitar?
Batten: The similarities lie in an aggressive energy we all put into the guitar. The uniqueness comes in part from the thousands of hours of whom we listened to growing up.
Menn: Everyone is unique—I believe that when you are true to yourself and aren’t making a conscious effort to imitate, you almost can’t avoid it. Of course there are obvious similarities within this particular group, but I think we have a nice balance between overlap and individuality, which will make for a really special show.
Brosh: I think our similarities perhaps lie in some of our influences/broad genres, but we’ve each studied certain specific aspects of playing to a great extent, which is where we each bring something else to the table.
What do you hope the audience leaves with after seeing you all?
Batten: I hope they leave feeling they’ve seen something very unique and have gotten more than their money’s worth.
Menn: I know the three of us have a huge love for what we do and a deep appreciation for those who come out to share this magical language of music with us. I hope a few hours of that love, creativity, energy, and gratitude leaves everyone feeling lifted by the power music has.
Brosh: That the community of guitar p layers can be a wonderful, inclusive, love-based thing and not about competition; that we’re truly doing this out of love for our music and each other.
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“It takes extra dedication to be a beginner on your band instrument over the computer,” TTUSD middle school band teacher Lena Meyers said.