Guitar Hero Adds Latin Flair to Colne’s R&B Festival

FROM Chile to Colne, virtuoso rock guitarist Miguel Montalban is set to bring a bit of South America to the Great British & Blues Festival over the August weekend.

“I’m really excited to be part of the festival,” said Miguel. “There are so many really great acts, it’s going to be amazing.”

Widely regarded as one of the hottest young guitarists around, Miguel will perform with his band The Southern Vultures on the Saturday night of the three-day festival on the main stage at Colne Muni.

His music includes references to Hendrix and Santana but also to Mark Knopfler and Dave Gilmour. Miguel’s unique cover of Dire Straits’ Sultans of Swing while on the streets in London has been viewed two million times on YouTube.

“The music industry likes to put labels on things,” he said. “Different genres are created by the music industry to create playlists. But I never wanted to play music like that; I never wanted to be just commercial.

Miguel Montalban

“I just want to feel free with my music and go where I want with it and that’s what I do. I can’t just play music in a certain style just because I know it’s popular – for me, that would make me feel like an impostor.

Miguel has a unique sound, partly influenced by his childhood in Chile and also his beginnings as a musician in the jazz world.

“For me, music is about passion and authenticity, so coming from Chile has influenced the way I play. There are Latin American flavors and that’s something I’ll never get rid of.

“I know where I belong and I’m proud of it. It’s just something really natural that comes up in my music. I don’t really think about it.

Fans accompanying Colne will see Miguel lose himself in the music in an almost spiritual way.

FM set to rock Saturday night in Colne

“My game is totally different when I have an audience in front of me,” he said. “I don’t play the same way when I’m alone in a room or just with the group.

“I’m very obsessed with the sound and tone of my guitar and I’m really excited about it. It can be what happens at a particular moment, that moment of connection that you can see in the public eye. That’s the point, that’s why we do what we do. It certainly gives you the feeling that you have done something right.

Miguel is a big fan of the British public.

“I really like playing against them,” he said. “There are a lot of real rockers out there.”

He has also noticed an increasing number of young guitarists coming to his show.

“Now that’s cool,” he said. “When I see kids coming to my gigs, I feel like I used to when I was their age, watching other guitarists. Time hasn’t changed that much that way, this which is awesome.

Growing up in Chile, Miguel actually studied jazz in school.

He said. “You look at the theory and the rhythms and that really influenced the way I play.”

Armed with his Gibson or his Fender Strat – “I love them both” – Miguel conjures up unique soundscapes.

“Music is about expression,” he said. “It’s like when you draw and put that first line on paper. It might not make much sense, but then you start creating and adding more lines and adding colors and it becomes beautiful.

“When I play, that’s what I do. Each guitar line should make sense and be connected to all other guitar lines. It’s like being on a roller coaster and you hope it will create something epic.

The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival, Colne, runs from Friday 28th August to Sunday 28th August with over 50 bands and artists. Miguel plays the Muni on Saturday August 27. For more details, visit www.colneblueslineup.com

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