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International Guitar Night
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International Guitar Night

Presented by the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. 

Venue: Center Theater


* Fees will be assessed on phone and online orders. Learn more...

International Guitar Night is back and bringing more of the best guitar musicians in the world!

Each year, International Guitar Night’s founder Brian Gore invites a new cast of guitar luminaries from around the world for special concert tours of North America highlighting the diversity of the acoustic guitar.

They are proud to celebrate their 20th year of touring the U.S. For their special Anniversary Tour, Brian has put together his most eclectic lineup yet: Guest host Mike Dawes and his incredible two-hand contemporary style is joined by Cenk Erdogan and his intriguing, exotic style and engaging on-stage personality; electrifying jazz virtuoso Olli Soikkeli from Finland and Hawaiian Slack Key master Jim Kimo West.

Mike Dawes

Mike MontanaMike Dawes is an English guitar player known for composing, arranging and performing multiple parts simultaneously on one instrument using unique extended and micro-techniques. He is hailed as one of the world’s finest and most creative modern fingerstyle guitar performers.

His debut record with CandyRat Records gained strong critical acclaim and spawned a variety world tours and singles, notably a viral virtuoso arrangement of “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. The lead single on Dawes’ second release ERA, an arrangement of “One” by Metallica, went viral with over 30 million hits in its first week of release.

Dawes is also lead guitar player for Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues featuring heavily on multiple DVD and PBS releases, notably “Spirits…Live” which debuted at #2 on the US Billboard chart.

Mike has amassed around 80 million music video views online. He was voted the ‘Best Acoustic Guitarist in the World right now’ by MusicRadar & Total Guitar Magazine in a December 2017 readers poll.

‘Jaw-dropping’ – Guitar Player Magazine (US)

‘The Acoustic Tapping Titan’ – Total Guitar/Musicradar

‘Among the best in the world. I know you’re going to love him’ – Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues)

Cenk Erdogan

Born in Istanbul, guitarist and composer Cenk Erdogan graduated with First Class Honors from the Music (Composition) Department at Istanbul Bilgi University. In October 2004, at the invitation of David “FUZE” Fiucynski, Erdogan held a workshop at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA on fretless guitar and modes in Turkish music. Cenk recorded his first album, “WITH,” for Baykus Music in 2008. The same year, he composed and arranged the soundtrack for the movie “Issız Adam,” written and directed by Çağan Irmak, winning the Yeşilçam “Soundtrack of the Year 2009” prize. Erdogan recorded his second album, “Kavis” in San Francisco with legendary bass player Kai Eckhardth and Jason Lewis. In 2014, he started the first educational website for a Turkish fretless guitar playing techniques.

Today, Erdogan continues his work as a producer and composer, arranging music for television series and soundtracks. His composition titled, “Sezenli Yillar” has performed at 6 concerts with a 35-piece orchestra as well as visual and dance shows.

Olli Soikkeli

Olli SoikkeliOlli Soikkeli was born in Nurmes, Finland in 1991. Now based in New York City. He started playing guitar at age of 12. After a few years of playing Olli was introduced to the music of great Django Reinhardt and Gypsy Jazz has been Ollis main focus ever since. Soon Olli was playing in jazz clubs and festivals all around Finland. After touring all around Europe with musicians such as Paulus Schäfer and Arnoud Van Den Berg Olli decided to move to New York City in 2014. Olli has played legendary venues such as Birdland Jazz ClubBlue Note and the Lincoln Center.

Despite his young age he’s already played with stars such as Bucky PizzarelliStochelo RosenbergTommy EmmanuelAndreas ÖbergCyrille AimeeAnat CohenAntti Sarpila and Marian Petrescu.

The Wall Street Journal wrote: Olli Soikkeli, a riveting finnish guitarist who combines astonishing dexterity and speed with pure soul in a way that places him among the worthiest current day successors to the legacy of the great Django.”

Jim Kimo West

Hawaiian “slack key” guitarist
Having never even seen Waikiki, Jim “Kimo” West came right to Hana, Maui in 1985 and spent much of his time there for many years. It was in Hana where he first heard the music of Gabby Pahinui, Sons Of Hawaii, Sonny Chillingworth and Atta Isaacs. Already familiar with alternate tunings, the sound of ki ho’alu became his favorite “soundtrack”. Best known as long-time guitarist for the world’s most successful musical comedy artist, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Kimo is regarded as one of the world’s foremost “ki ho’alu” or Hawaiian “slack key” guitar artists and his music has garnered many millions of streams on Spotify and Pandora. This warm and engaging fingerpicked guitar style has it’s roots in 1840’s Hawaii, when Mexican vaqueros first brought guitars to the Big Island of Hawaii. If you saw the Oscar-winning film, “The Decendants” you have experienced this great acoustic guitar tradition.

Jim Kimo WestKimo is a 2008 winner of the Hawaii Music Awards and three- time Na Hoku Hanohano (the Hawaiian ‘Grammy’) nominee. He is also a two-time winner of the LA Treasures Award for his efforts in keeping this important acoustic guitar tradition alive. For his work with “Weird Al”, he has earned four Grammy’s and a Billboard #1 CD debut for 2015’s “Mandatory Fun”. He is a veteran of Hawaii’s famed slack key festivals as well as the So Cal Slack Key Festival every year from 2008 through 2018. He has shared the stage with almost all the world’s top slack key players at one time or another. His numerous CD’s feature many original compositions as well as inventive arrangements of the genre’s classic repertoire. His recent release, “Guitar Stories” goes beyond slack key, exploring other genres like West African guitar, Middle Eastern

Kimo has also worked as a composer for film and TV for many years and maintains a sophisticated private studio in Los Angeles. He has composed music for features films, network TV shows and specials and cable shows. His slack key compositions have been used in a number of features, TV spots, cable, web and in many documentaries.


Buy Tickets

Buy tickets online (below), or at the Center ticket office, or by calling 800.988.4253. The ticket office is open Tue. – Sat. 12–6 PM, and Sun. 12–5 PM.

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