Fareed Haque By Sidney Bechet-Mandela
It should come as no surprise that guitarist Fareed Haque hears the music of the world a bit different from other musicians. A Chilean mother and a Pakistani father raised him in music rich Chicago. As a youth, Haque crossed the globe the way many of us cross the street.
“I like all kinds of music and I’ve noticed that that’s kind of hard for Americans to accept,” Haque says. “But there are a whole lot of people of my generation and younger who have been raised listening to a lot of different kinds of music.”
The 34 year-old musician is about to make an abrupt stylistic change with next album due out next year. His current album on Blue Note is a complete remake of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 70’s album “Deja Vu.”
While not saying so directly, the guitarist seems to intimate that he did one for the company, and next time out he plans to spring acid bangra on the world. “Bangra is the dance music that comes from Punjab and Hindustani folk music and movie music,” Haque explains. “A lot of young British Punjabi and Hindustani, and also in the States, are mixing dance and different kinds of sampled grooves and remixes.”
Haque says you can get a clue of his new direction by listening to dance radio where there is funk and pop mixed with sitars and Spanish guitars and sampled tabla and Arabic and American Indian voices. “This kind of music is really all over the world,” he says. “In a way technology is bringing a lot of different folk music into the fold, in the same way Deep Forest brought the music of Central Africa tribes into the dance vibe. I think more and more people are finding unity in rhythm.”
Haque says he was “unconsciously exposed” to world music through his unique heritage. His mother played Andean folk music to him at a very young age. That’s where he first picked up the guitar and the Spanish language. Today, he speaks five languages fluently.
Growing up, he absorbed pop and funk on the radio. In high school, he was a self-described nerd at a prominent predominantly white school. He was an outsider until the word got around that he could play Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” note for note. That’s when he says he learned the power of communicating with music.
His college years started in the vaunted North Texas State University jazz program and ended back home at Northwestern. The diminutive guitarist quickly rose to first call status guided by two of Chicago’s top multi-instrumentalists- Howard Levy and Von Freeman.
Haque followed Levy into the world jazz based bands of Cuban saxophonist Pacquito D’Rivera before he was heard by pop superstar Sting. The British rocker had Haque work on his seminal classic “Nothing Like The Sun,” album before signing the guitarist to his Pangea label where he recorded a coupleof albums. When EMI bought the label, the corporate giant morphed Haque to the Blue Note label.
Haque makes no apologies about “Deja Vu” which was panned by a number of jazz publications including this one. He justified his choice of the CSN&Y album over the other choices Blue Note handed him- Steely Dan’s “Aja” and Joni Mitchell’s “Court And Spark” by saying the former was just too crafted and perfect and the latter just too good. With the explanation that “Deja Vu” was much more raw, Haque makes some points. He knows he took a safer road with that project, something he promises not to do on the next one.
“I could have made a really wacked version of “Deja Vu” that only the jazz critics would have loved,” Haque says with no apologies. “But it wasn’t a record for jazz critics. It was a record for people who loved the record “Deja Vu. I wanted to stick closer to the songs so that it was about the songs.”
Haque insists there is a thin line between complicated music and simple music and he intends to explore that line on his next release. Up until “Deja Vu,” all his records have incorporated classical guitar and jazz with slight hints of his heritage. That’s about to change.
|DEJA VU TRACK LISTING Teach Your Children (intro) | Carry On | Teach Your Children | Interlude – Fareed Bops | Almost Cut My Hair | Helpless | Woodstock | Deja Vu | Our House | 4+20 | Country Girl | Interlude | Everybody I Love You | Teach Your Children (reprise)|
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