Troy Chapman, left, and Andre Feriante try on some Turkmenistan hats while posing for photos at Music for the Eyes in Langley. (Photo provided by Julie Quiring)

Troy Chapman, left, and Andre Feriante try on some Turkmenistan hats while posing for photos at Music for the Eyes in Langley. (Photo provided by Julie Quiring)

Traveling the world one string at a time

Guitarists combine music, history in novel concert

A new chapter is about to be added to the history of the world.

At least in the minds of two Whidbey wizards of all-things guitar, Troy Chapman and Andre Feriante. They are collaborating on an instrumental show that spans the globe from India to South America, the Middle East to the American South, the Old World to the new.

Called Cythara: The History of the World According to the Guitar, it’s the duo’s debut. They’ll perform 7:30-9:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

Using their own personal collection of some two dozen or so string instruments, they plan to take their audience on a visual and audio tour around the world, talking about every instrument and how they all contain a common gene.

“All are relatives of the guitar,” Feriante said. “The oud is basically the guitar of the Middle East. It goes back 3,500 years, and there are versions of the oud in Turkey, Syria, Iraq. The rubab that Troy plays is from Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.”

The duo said they plan to open the show by taking a big step back in time.

By assembling two archaic instruments, they’ll be simulating the very beginning of the first string plucked over a drum. The History of the World via the guitar will progress chronologically through time and different continents and also follow the roots of American music; jazz, acoustic and electric guitar.

“It ends on the most modern electric guitar, which is the Gittler guitar made of titanium,” Chapman said. “So it really is the history of the guitar from one end to the other. Listening to the different combinations of instruments and timbre is really an exhilarating experience.”

Types of instruments to be played include African banjo (yep, the banjo originated in Africa) ukulele, harp guitar, Baroque guitar and rubab. Not all are from across the sea, one is from just across Puget Sound.

Feriante’s style of harp guitar was designed by Chris Knusten of Port Townsend in about 1880, he said.

The musicians’ collection of worldly instruments come from travels, acquaintances or ordering direct from the luthier, a maker of stringed instruments.

Except for one, Feriante admitted. “The only one that I ordered online was my charango, a little baby lute from Peru.”

Chapman and Feriante will also be showcasing their own guitars and playing styles, which are distinctly different.

“Andre and I are definitely two sides to the same coin,” Chapman explained. “He’s the consummate classical guitarist. I studied jazz guitar and played in rock and jazz bands. The thing that brings us together is a very deep and abiding love for the guitar itself.”

Feriante, born and raised in Italy, studied under well-known classical guitarist Henry Rivas of Columbia and the Spanish guitar maestro, Andres Segovia.

Feriante is a relative newcomer to Whidbey, moving here more than a year ago after many years in Seattle. Chapman, a Whidbey resident going on 20 years, played in the well-established band, Pearl Django, among others, and now leads the local gypsy jazz band, Hot Club of Troy.

Watch closely and you’ll see how their two styles differ.

“I come mainly from the nylon string camp, using my fingernails as picks,” Feriante explained.

“Troy is mainly a steel string player, using an actual pick. But we are both crossing over into each other’s territory, Troy more than me, I’d say. I’m using a pick now on the oud for the first time in my 38 years of making my living with wood and strings.”

While it’s their first show together, Feriante previously toured with a show called, “String Stories” on the West Coast.

“When I met Troy, I soon realized he was a guitar addict as well,” Feriante said. “Our History of World According to the Guitar show came together kind of organically.

“Up until seven years ago I just had a couple of classical or flamenco guitars. Then the ukulele caught my ear, I picked it up and really got into it, not thinking I’d start playing banjo a year later and so on. I started picking up another string instrument every year after.”

Feriante says the uke is probably the easiest of all his instruments to learn to play.

“It is easy to play at first if you just want to play three chords and sing. It’s easy to press the strings down and there’s not much reaching, also the nylon strings are easy on the finger tips. “

But be careful, he warns.

“I call the ukulele the gateway drug to other stringed instruments,” he laughs. “Look what happened to me.”

• Troy Chapman and Andre Feriante perform Cythara: The History of the World According to the Guitar, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, Whidbey Center for the Arts, 565 Camano Ave., Langley. All seats are $20. Piano bar opens one hour prior to the show. Tickets available at 360-221-8268 or online at https://tickets.wicaonline.org

Demonstrating their different playing styles are jazz guitarist Troy Chapman, left, and classically-trained Andre Feriante. The duo play together in a Nov. 10 show, Cythara: The History of the World According to the Guitar. (Photo provided by Julie Quiring)

Demonstrating their different playing styles are jazz guitarist Troy Chapman, left, and classically-trained Andre Feriante. The duo play together in a Nov. 10 show, Cythara: The History of the World According to the Guitar. (Photo provided by Julie Quiring)

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