Arts and Entertainment

Celebrated guitarist comes back to Vashon

Alex de Grassi plays at the Blue Heron at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 for those under 21,) $17  for VAA members and seniors and $20 general. They
Alex de Grassi plays at the Blue Heron at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 for those under 21,) $17 for VAA members and seniors and $20 general. They're available at the Blue Heron or the Vashon Bookshop, by visiting or by phone at 463-5131.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Renowned musician Alex de Grassi is returning to Vashon, bringing his celebrated fingerstyle guitar playing to the Blue Heron Arts Center for a one-night-only, mid-summer concert.

De Grassi played to a full house at the Blue Heron in 2009. He’s returning to Vashon for a concert Saturday, in part, said Janice Randall, Vashon Allied Arts’ director of communications, because he and his wife “really loved being here.” The couple plans to stay on Vashon two nights in a private cottage.

“He’s a wonderful player, and we’re lucky to have him here on Vashon,” she said.

De Grassi, a highly accomplished steel-string guitarist, is known for what the magazine Acoustic Guitar called his “lyrical and virtuosic fingerstyle guitar work.” De Grassi, according to the article, “helped define the contemporary fingerstyle movement.”

De Grassi began playing in coffee houses more than 30 years ago. In the years since then, he has graced Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and the Montreux Jazz Festival with his intricate, solo guitar playing. Twice he’s been commissioned by the New York Guitar Festival to compose and perform live scores for the festival’s Silent Films/Live Guitars series.

He’s recorded several CDs, including “Turning: Turning Back,” “Southern Exposure” and his Grammy-nominated “The Water Garden.”

His latest CDs, both released in 2010, include “A Windham Hill Retrospective” and “Now and Then: Folk Songs for the 21st Century,” a disc that features contemporary arrangements of treasured melodies from the American folk tradition.

“In rediscovering these songs,” he said, “I came to appreciate the maxim that folk music is a ‘living’ tradition, and that each generation will find relevance and a way to reinterpret these songs.”

In light of his new CDs, Randall said, Islanders can expect a show different from the one in 2009. “He’ll have new material for this performance,” she said.


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