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Neil Jacobs - "World 12-String Guitar News

Neil  will be in residency at Alfred University in New York this fall presenting his "Discovering World Music" Program.  In the past, Neil has also taught courses in "History of the Roma ", "World Music Appreciation", and "Balkan Music Studies"". 

For more information go to: Outreach Programs  & Photo Gallery

Discovering World Music Program 2022


Neil Jacobs discusses his diverse and unlikely travel experiences leading to a wealth of musical knowledge, while performing examples of the music on 12-string guitar.


Neil will explain his time living and studying with the Roma (gypsies) of Andalucia, Spain, and how he became a “guest of state” in the “evil empire” to study music in 1985 Moscow. Additionally, Neil will share how he learned the music of Balkans as he traveled through refugee camps during the Balkan Wars, how he became a featured artist in Sarajevo for performing the  treasured Sevdalinka music of Bosnia, his comical performance for the Polish Army immediately after Poland was set free, as well how it came to pass that he became a featured performer on Cowboy Television Specials in Germany. 


Selected Topics:


1.) Roma (Gypsy, Gitano) Music: Neil discusses his remarkable experiences during his year traveling and studying with the Gypsies of Andalucia, Spain after being awarded a special cultural exchange grant .  Neil explains his creation of "Spanadonian" music by combining Balkan and Spanish musical elements.

2.) Balkan/ Yugoslavian Music:  Neil 's many years of touring with the Balkan dance & musical ensemble, Živili, offered Neil an amazing glimpse into the diverse and fascinating musical styles of the Balkans. Neil's tales of experiences in the war torn former countries of Yugoslavia in refugee camps and orphanages are both heart-breaking and inspiring as he journeyed throughout Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Serbia & Hungary.  Neil features music excerpts from the Balkan region,  as well as examples in odd meters ("Ripna Maća" in 7/8, also "Dajčevo" & "Niška Banja} in 9/8 ( ‘Gypsy 9').


3.) Sevadalinka Music:  Recently, Neil was honored as the featured artist in a five page article in STAV Magazine in Sarajevo, Bosnia.  Neil's arrangements of classic Sevdah music on 12-string guitar were praised by Bosnian music critics as they were curious how one would come to understand their treasured music. Neil explains how he came to learn this special music while performing some classic tunes such as; "U Stambolu Na Bosporu", & "Moj Dilbere".


4.) Hungarian Music:  Through a odd twist of fate, The Secretary to President of Hungary attended one of Neil's concerts in the U.S.  Following the performance, he came backstage and invited Neil to Budapest as his guest to perform and study.  Neil  began adapting music such as the "Čardaš" to the 12-string guitar. Neil also explores the roots  classical music pieces influenced by 

this music such as "Brahms Hungarian Dance #5" .


5.)  Klezmer: Neil discusses his fascination with Klezmer, and how he adapted arrangements to the 12-string guitar following  his performance with the  "Klezmatics" at  Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh, Examples: “Gadjo”, “Itchykil" (Frailach).


6.) Celtic Music: Neil spent nearly 15 years touring with Celtic ensemble "Lone Raven" and shares how the music became part of his repertoire.  Examples: “Belfast”, “Erin Shore".


7.) Russian Folk Music:  Neil describes his bizarre private performance for  Tikhon Khrennikov (head composer of the Soviet Union) and how it lead  to the invitation to stay in Moscow and perform and study as "Guest of State".  Musical examples include: "Peter and the Wolf", “Moscow Calling".


8.) German Cowboy TV shows in Germany: Neil shares the tale of how he was invited to perform concerts on German TV on a popular "American Western Style"  programs 

Examples: "Ghostrider Medley".

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