Fred Frith to play at Skaņu Mežs 2024

Riga, Latvia’s Skaņu Mežs festival for adventurous music will host its 22nd edition on 4-5 October at concert hall Hanzas Perons (16a Hanzas street). Influential experimental music guitarist Fred Frith will play a solo set on the festival’s first concert evening. Tickets can be purchased at www.bilesuserviss.lv. Festival ticket price is 50 EUR.

Fred Frith is a pioneer of the extended electric guitar. He learned to compose in Henry Cow, developed his song-writing skills in Art Bears, explored his multi-instrumentalism in Skeleton Crew, rocked the house with Massacre and is still doing all of those things, having been in one band or another continuously since 1964.

Meanwhile his work has been performed by ensembles, string quartets, chamber orchestras, and a whole range of groups and artists in the ever-expanding field of semi-popular music. Fred composes extensively for film and dance, and taught improvisation for years at Mills College in Oakland, California and the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland. 

His passion for improvising, evident from the beginning, has increasingly led him to work with artists who don’t necessarily define themselves as improvisers. 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of Fred’s pioneering first  record, Guitar Solos, but this is his first ever visit to Latvia.

Frith has been described as “an avant-garde giant” by Chicago Reader and hailed as “revered” and “highly influential” by The Village Voice. 

Frith is the subject of Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel’s much-loved Step Across the Border, cited by Cahiers du Cinéma as one of the 20th century’s hundred most influential films.

He has collaboration with the following people who’ve previously also played at Skaņu Mežs: John Butcher, Lotte Anker, Phil Minton, Irvine Arditti, Evan Parker and Anthony Braxton. 

It has previously been announced that iconic experimental music project Autechre and abstract hip-hop duo Armand Hammer will also perform at the festival. 

Skaņu Mežs is a member of the SHAPE+ platform for innovative music and audiovisual art as well as the project tekhnē, supported by the European Union and the Latvian Ministry of Culture.

Skaņu Mežs festival is supported by the State Cultural Capital Fund, Riga City Council, the Latvian Ministry of Culture, Goethe-Institut Lettland, Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the Nordic Culture Point. Sponsors of the festival are Valmiermuiža and Very Berry.

Skaņu Mežs is a member of the international network ICAS (International Cities of Advanced Sound) and the Northern European music festival network NERDS (North European Resonance and Dissonance Society).

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