Typical of the reviews, this “extraordinarily sensitive” recording
received on its limited release in October 2001, Jazz critic Neil
Tesser wrote “Ivanovic and Haque have forged a partnership
that’d be impressive with or without an extra nudge from
international politics.” And Howard Reich wrote of this disc in
the Los Angeles Times: “There’s no resisting its mix of American
Jazz, acoustic blues, flamenco rhythm and Macedonian Melody.”
Fareed Haque, who ”possesses one of the great guitar
techniques in modern music” (Tesser), here joins his younger
colleague, Goran Ivanovic, classically trained musician from the
former Yugoslavia, to forge “a musical alloy of classical music
with the animated ethnic folk music of the Balkans…rife with
improvisation, odd meters, virtuosity and incredible spirit.”
Released November 4, 2003 (Through Ryko Distribution)
(Originally released October 23, 2001 through Midwest Artists Distribution, Rolling Meadows, IL)
Proteus Entertainment Inc.
Selection number 4031
UPC 8 21254-4031-2 2
Produced by Goran Ivanovic & Fareed Haque.
Executive Producers Gerry Fisher and Jim Manfre.
Recorded August 2001 at Solid Sound Studio, Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Engineered and mixed by John Towner at Maxim Entertainment, Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Mastered by Michael Lyons, Lyonshead Mastering, Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Cover Design by Vladimir Radisic.
Art direction by Eric Hofmeister. Photo by Marc Po Kempner.
Read The Reviews.
1. Jano Mori (Ivanovic solo) 2:54
2. Gajdarsko Oro 3:35
3. Lament 5:10
4. Kalajdzisko Oro 3:59
5. Saddest of All 6:56
6. Improv 1:56
7. Romantico 3:56
8. La Rose 2:18
9. Ethno Dance 2:50
10. Macedonian Girl 5:44
11. Jovana Jovanke 8:39
12. Zalopojka 2:03
Macedonian Blues Reviews
Index of reviews:
April 2003, Robert Loerzel, Pioneer Press
August 2002, Teja Gerken, Acoustic Guitar Magazine
January 13, 2002, Howard Reich, Chicago tribune
December 21, 2001, Neil Tesser, Chicago Reader
2001 (Fall), Howard Reich, Los Angeles Times
2001 (Fall), Andrew Hull, Guitarra Magazine
2001 (Fall), Alan Fark, Minor 7th .com
Music from their roots
BY ROBERT LOERZEL
Pioneer Press, April, 2003
Goran Ivanovic and Fareed Haque wanted to play more than the standard repertoire for classical guitar when they teamed up.
The two virtuosos, who will perform next week at Harper College, play songs that reflect their their ethnic heritages.
Their excellent 2001 compact disc “Macedonian Blues: Laments and Dances,” focuses on the folk music of the former Yugoslavia, where Ivanovic grew up, a child of Serbian and Bosnian Croat parents.
But the album also features some touches of Haque’s musical background. The child of Pakistani and Chilean parents, he brings Spanish and Middle Eastern music to the mix, as well as his gift for fluid jazz improvisation.
When Ivanovic played some music from Macedonia for Haque, “Immediately, both of us were excited about the music,” Ivanovic said.
“Goran was searching and trying to find a repertoire,” Haque said. “The logical place to begin is your own back yard. ... It’s very beautiful music.”
Before they became musical partners, Ivanovic took guitar lessons from Haque, even though he was already quite accomplished on the instrument. Now, Haque jokes that he is merely helping out Ivanovic as the Croatian immigrant makes his inevitable climb to “world domination” as a star guitarist.
Ivanovic grew up listening to his father playing blues and rock on the guitar, but when he decided to learn the instrument, he studied classical guitar.
Ivanovic was 12 years old in 1989, when he went with his mother from Croatia to Austria. His father feared that war might break out soon in Croatia, so he sent Ivanovic to study music at Universitaet Mozarteum Salzburg.
“We went to Salzburg thinking he would stay six months or a year and move back,” Ivanovic said. “The war ended up being a terrible thing.”
Ivanovic has never been back to his home country since then.
“I felt that I grew up that summer,” he said. “I was at a big university with people 10 years older than me.”
After completing his musical studies in Austria, Ivanovic and his parents moved to the Chicago area in the 1990s; he currently lives in Naperville.
Like Ivanovic, Haque led an itinerant existence in his early years, with extended stays in Spain, France, Iran, Pakistan and Chile. His guitar playing shows the influences he picked up during his travels.
Haque, a music professor at Northern Illinois University, is not only a talented jazz improviser, but also a fine classical guitarist. He has performed with Sting, Dave Holland, Joe Zawinul and Paquito D'Rivera.
“I'm a musician who plays all kinds of music,” he said. “I haven’t been shy about exploring my own heritage — if nothing else, as a kind of art therapy for the confused, dislocated culture of America.”
Haque said his multicultural background makes it difficult for him claim any particular ethnic music as his own, but that doesn’t stop him from exploring his roots.
“For me, it’s always been about searching,” he said.
Ivanovic said he concentrated on gathering songs from Macedonia rather than his native Croatia because “Macedonia is the richest part of Yugoslavia as far as the folklore.”
Working from old recordings of village musicians in rural Macedonia, Ivanovic figured out how to play the folk songs. He and Haque created their own arrangements.
“The songs were played for dance purposes,” Ivanovic said. “We wanted to keep the original meters and melodies the same, but we reworked the harmonies.”
When they recorded the CD at Solid Sound Studios in Hoffman Estates, Ivanovic wasn’t yet comfortable with improvising, so he allowed Haque to handle most of the ad-libbing.
“It was very new for me,” Ivanovic said.
But in the two years since, Ivanovic said he has picked up some of Haque’s improvisation techniques.
“I learned a lot of things just by playing with him,” he said.
The two are half done recording a new album.
And Ivanovic still hopes he will perform someday in the former Yugoslavia, the homeland he hasn’t seen for 14 years.
“When the time is right, I hope I will,” he said.
Goran Ivanovic and Fareed Haque will perform at 7:30 p.m. April 26 at the Harper College Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine. Tickets are $15; or $10 for Harper students, seniors and children under 13; $12 for other students. Call (847) 925-6100.
Acoustic Guitar Magazine
By: Teja Gerken
This impressive album by Chicago based Fareed Haque and Croatian born Goran Ivanovic is an excellent example of the complex textures available to two acoustic guitars played by musicians with open minds and few technical limitations. Carefully arranged and well balanced between blazing virtuosity and sheer beauty, this collection of Macedonian melodies arranged for two nylon-string guitars ranges from simple folk melodies ("Lament") to adventurously modern sounding tunes ("Improv").
Chicago Tribune Coming to America
A new generation of immigrant musicians is rejuvenating jazz
Published January 13, 2002
By Howard Reich
Chicago Tribune arts critic
The music of Chicago artists such as Polish singer Grazyna Auguscik, South Asian guitarist Fareed Haque and the Yugoslavian guitarist Goran Ivanovic attests to the range of cultures that are rejuvenating jazz in this city and beyond. Haque and Ivanovic have been increasingly in demand as a duo (they play Hot-House in Chicago on Jan. 24).
Short of going to a club or concert hall, the best way to sample the international sound of jazz is via CD. Following are a few of the best:
Goran Ivanovic & Fareed Haque: "Macedonian Blues" (Proteus). Haque's roots are South Asian, Ivanovic's Yugoslavian. But when their two guitars play, cultural barriers melt away.
Chicago Reader, December 21, 2001
GORAN IVANOVIC & FAREED HAQUE
Thursday 12/27, HotHouse
On their newly released CD, Macedonian Blues: Laments and Dances (Proteus), Chicago guitarists Goran Ivanovic and Fareed Haque concentrate on the music of a war-torn nation--Macedonia being one of the Balkan countries formerly part of Yugoslavia, Ivanovic's birthplace. These days, when Americans have a heightened sensitivity to world crises, this set of melancholy folk songs, recorded the month before the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., packs a timely emotional punch--but Ivanovic and Haque have forged a partnership that'd be impressive with or without an extra nudge from international politics. The 38-year-old Haque possesses one of the great guitar techniques in modern music--even after nearly 20 years on the Chicago scene, his classical work can still leave audiences openmouthed--and he also has plenty of experience exploring the alluring niches of musical multiculturalism. The child of a Pakistani father and a Chilean mother, he has drawn regularly on traditions from Asia and South America in his own projects, which have ranged from flawless interpretations of folk material to impassioned jazz fusion (with stints as a sideman with Paquito D'Rivera and Sting along the way). I don't know whether the 24-year-old Ivanovic will eventually develop an improvisational range to equal Haque's, but he can already match his colleague in terms of virtuosic technique. Ivanovic likewise is hardly bound by the written note; indeed, both guitarists use lavish ornamentation and elastic tempos to transform the folk melodies of Macedonian Blues into fantasias that cross musical as well as geographic boundaries. Similarly, their empathy transcends their differences in background and age, so that even under extraordinary conditions they can build extraordinary duets: on September 21, the opening night of this year's much diminished World Music Festival, they fully redeemed Haque's statement that they hoped to create a healing harbor--and did it without sacrificing any of the music's fireworks. Thursday, December 27, 8 PM, HotHouse, 31 East Balbo; 312-362-9707. --NEIL TESSER
Los Angeles Times
For These Musicians, There Is No Continental Divide
By Howard Reich
GORAN IVANOVIC & FAREED HAQUE
"Macedonian Blues: Laments and Dances"
Although the music on this extraordinarily sensitive guitar-duo recording transcends genre, there's no resisting its mix of American jazz, acoustic blues, flamenco rhythm and Macedonian melody. Only two guitarists on the planet would come up with such a concoction, but Ivanovic and Haque (whose roots run to Yugoslavia and South Asia, respectively) play as if they're speaking the same musical language. Some listeners might be tempted to consign any recording as genteel as this to background music, but that would mean missing the puckish stop-start rhythms of "Kalajdzisko Oro," the mystical ambience of "Gajdarsko Oro" and the free-form expressions of "Improv." Those who have heard the duo in concert probably will conclude that no recording could capture fully the sparks that fly between these two virtuosos. But this disc at least documents the distinctly cross-continental flavor of their restlessly innovative work.
By: Andrew Hull
The duo disc Macedonian Blues featuring Goran Ivanovic and Fareed Haque has little in common with the Azabagic CD. The playing is dirty, the music is little more than tunes, the titles of the works are questionable (Romantico, Saddest of All, Ethno Dance…) and it's the only CD I have on constant repeat. I love its reckless speed and energy. Gajdarsko Oro and Kalajdzisko Oro will leap out of your headphones and get your heart chasing (and you will start wondering where you can get the arrangements). The recording only seems to falter in the slower tracks, like Macedonian Girl, which seem self-indulgent and less effective when silences are broken by miss-fretted notes (something which can be forgiven in the brisker works). That is not to say that they the slow works are bad tunes, they are not. The problem is that when they go for difficult passages that test their technical limits as well as the limits of their instruments in the context of a slow work their successes and failures are laid bare.
Goran Ivanovic has compressed a lifetime of drama and artistic achievement into his young 24 years. Leaving his home in Croatia as a prodigy at the age of 12 to study classical guitar with Elliott Fisk at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, he and his family fortuitously escaped the bloody conflict that was destined to soon engulf his homeland. Though both classically trained, Ivanovic and Fareed Haque capture a passion that transcends traditional classicism on the duos in "Macedonian Blues", by forging a musical alloy of classical music with the animated ethnic folk musics of the Balkans. This is music rife with improvisation, odd meters, virtuosity and incredible spirit. Ivanovic and Haque don't shoot off all of their fireworks at once. Ivanovic's "Jano Mori" opens the CD with a quiet and metaphoric flirtation hovering between the yin and yang of spirituality and seduction. "Gajdarsko Oro" and "Ethno Dance" though, are maelstroms of jackhammer intensity. "Jovano Jovanke" sounded very familiar to me, though it took a few listens to determine that the opening phrases were actually from Haque's "Paco's Blues". This motif melts in and out of the skeleton of the Macedonian folksong via Haque's stirring improvisations, incorporating modal and lightning-fast runs with unusual slurring and trilling techniques associated with Indian and Middle Eastern music. Ivanovic and Haque have successfully parlayed their respective histories of crossing cultural geographic boundaries into more profound cultural artistic crossings.