Experience the Guitar Like Never Before with the Masterful Musicians of International Guitar Night XXII at the Washington Center for Performing Arts

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Jim "Kimo" West is a Slack Key guitarist that has been recognized at the Grammy's twice, once as a nominee in 2019 and again as a winner in 2021. His Hawaiian-inspired playing style has become well-loved around the world. Photo credit: David Bergman

Very few things speak to people quite like music does. The art of instrumental music has not been lost even in these modern times as many artists continue to pursue and reimagine traditional styles, especially with classical guitar. Returning for its 22nd year, International Guitar Night XXII (IGN) will be hosted at the Washington Center for Performing Arts on January 18 at 7:30 p.m. with four unique guitarists: Luca Stricagnoli, Thu Le, Jim “Kimo” West, and Lulo Reinhardt. It’s a night you won’t want to miss, so be sure to buy tickets online today.

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Thu Le is an award-winning classical guitarist from Vietnam who has traveled the world playing solo and with orchestras. Her passion for music carries over into her master classes, which she teaches to help others learn classical styles. Photo credit: Jody Peck

IGN is featuring a lineup of truly exceptional guitarists from around the world. Thu Le from Vietnam is a classically trained progressive fingerstyle guitarist who began playing when she was just four years old. She is the youngest student ever to be admitted to the prestigious National Conservatory of Music in Hanoi. She has traveled around the world to showcase her talents by playing solo and with different orchestras, as well as to host master classes where she teaches others how to play classical guitar.

Jim “Kimo” West was inspired by the beautiful sounds of the Hawaiian Islands and began playing Hawaii’s iconic guitar style, known as “ki ho’alu” or “slack key guitar.” Through his passionate and inventive craft, he has been deemed a slack key master and beloved around the world for his talent. In 2019 he was nominated for a Grammy for his album “Moku Maluhia” and later became a Grammy winner in 2021 for his CD “More Guitar Stories.” With millions of streams on both Spotify and Pandora, his music has generated a devoted following.

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Lulo Reinhardt blends Gypsy Jazz with a range of guitar styles, including Indian music, Latin music, and African music. He is currently working on his newest band, the Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project. Photo credit: Elke & Norbert Schikowski

Lulo Reinhardt is returning for his sixth tour with IGN, this year as both a performer and a host. He hails from Germany and is the grand-nephew of celebrated gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. Music was a huge part of his family life and culture, so Lulo had opportunities to learn from both his father and his cousin while growing up. He first got started in music by joining his cousin’s band, the Mike Reinhardt Sixtet, which performed for 25 years. Lulo and his father also started their own band called Igitanos in 1992, which continued until 2013 when his father passed away.

With his passion for music, Lulo has carried the classic talents of his family before him while infusing new Latin rhythms. He calls his personal style Latin swing and is currently working on developing a new band, the Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project. “Latin is one of my favorite styles,” he shares. “I have played with a lot of Latin musicians and take my styles from the areas I visit.” With an interest in Gypsy history and India, Lulo has had the unique opportunity to play with and learn from Indian musicians and won the German Record Critics Award for his CD “Gypsy Meets India.” He also has a love of classical guitar and has done a number of collaborations with classical artists, such as in his CD “Gypsy Meets Classic” with Yuliya Lonskaya.

Luca Stricagnoli is an Italian musician that is also returning to the IGN tour. He began playing the guitar when he was 10 years old and later discovered some intricate modern finger-picking styles on the internet. “I saw videos that blew my mind,” he recalls. Through this, Luca was inspired to develop his own progressive acoustic-rock style and innovations that would change his playing forever. With the help of his friend, Luca designed and fabricated a three-neck guitar and the first-ever reversed slide neck. “Each neck is different,” Luca explains. “The first one is a standard neck, the second one has higher notes, and the third one is the first reversed neck in the history of guitar.” With the reversed neck, Luca is able to play percussion with his elbow while using his hands on two of the necks all at the same time. Additionally, he created a detachable magnetized reversed neck that can be attached to any acoustic guitar with magnets.

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Luca Stricagnoli has been named a guitar prodigy with his innovative acoustic-rock style, played on his uniquely designed Soprano Guitar and the first-ever Reversed Slide Neck. After going viral online, Luca has played shows beyond his home of Italy in over 20 countries. Photo credit: Meg Pfeiffer

“My style took a very personalized turn when I started publishing my videos online,” Luca shares. “I suddenly had several videos going viral.” Since then, Luca has accrued nearly 200 million views for his videos on his own YouTube channel and has played in over 20 countries with crowds of up to 12,000 people. His covers of popular and beloved songs from artists such as The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Michael Jackson have earned him much-deserved attention from artists and music-lovers around the world.

IGN is a unique experience that captures the beauty and innovative spirit of music. As with years past, this year’s four masterful musicians will play solo, duet, and finally quartet sets, bringing their individual and collaborative styles to life. With such diverse playing styles and backgrounds, the quartets are an incredible look into how different people can come together to create something amazing. “Collaborating with artists from around the world is super enriching,” shares Luca. “You go there and come back as an evolved guitar player.”

“The great thing about IGN is there are always four, totally different, guitar styles,” Lulo says. “I am a freestyler, so I like jumping into different guitar styles and creating melodies where I can improvise.” The artists have been impacted by the pandemic, and has changed how they prepare and rehearse. They are currently practicing remotely by using instant messaging and email to share and collaborate on songs for the show. After meeting for the first time in Alaska for their kick-off show, these four musicians will only have a few days to practice together in-person, which is a fun challenge for all of them. After almost two years without performances, the artists are ready for a live audience.

With such a diverse range of talented and incredible artists, IGN is the perfect way to kick-off 2022. Buy your tickets online to reserve your seat today!

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