Miloš offers The Voice of the Guitar in Horsham


Miloš calls his concert The Voice of the Guitar (Capitol Theatre, Horsham, Saturday, October 5).

His point is that nothing comes closer to the human voice than does the guitar, an instrument which demands a remarkable physical closeness.

“It is the fact that you embrace the instrument. You hold it so close that you can really feel its frequency resonating through your stomach when you are playing.

“But it is also the fact that you are creating every sound, every note with your own fingers.

“There is no bow, no plectrum, no key. There is the direct connection between you and the string, between the string and your own flesh.

“There are very, very few instruments that have that degree of closeness. The guitar really is the next closest thing to the human voice.”

Miloš grew up in Montenegro during the Balkan Wars before moving to London at the age of 16 to study at the Royal Academy of Music.

“When I left, the conflict was well over, but I have been here now for 20 years. I came to study in London, and now that I have travelled to so many, many places, I really think that London has got a very rare quality, that it is really a city of the world.”

And that comes with a downside: “It is just so intense and huge and there are so many people. When you are an artist, it can be so daunting and so overwhelming. But you have to focus and find ways to find space in your life.”

Against that are the opportunities it affords. In terms of its worldwide standing, only New York comes close, Miloš reckons.

“I was only 16 when I came here.

“It was a huge shock. It would be a huge shock to anyone coming from any place, but at that time for me, it was like suddenly landing on Mars.

“I had nothing to attach it to, nothing to compare it to.

“I think a 16-year-old from Montenegro now would have a pretty good idea what London would be like, but for me it was completely like going into the unknown, being thrown into the deep end.

“ I was very scared, and I often felt lost, but I think the thing that helped me was this overwhelming need to study, to play, to become the best artist I could possibly be.

“It happened when I was 14. When I thought of everything else I could do, what the other options were, there was just nothing that came close for me to music.

“It was at the time when I had to decide whether to go to grammar school or go to a specialist school, and it was a very tough decision at the age of 14.

“But the urge to play music was so strong that I didn’t have doubts.

“It was very shocking to my teachers when I said that I was going to go to music school, but my parents were very understanding.

“They always treated me like an adult.

“I had always been treated by them like I was an equal to them, and that gave me the confidence to succeed. I am very grateful to them for having that trust.”

Why the guitar, though?

“I think it was the guitar that came calling me, rather than the other way round. In Montenegro in the 1990s, we didn’t really have much money.

“ The country was blocked and isolated. You just played whatever was available, whatever you could.

“You didn’t want to put your parents through the misery of having to buy a different instrument for you that they couldn’t afford. Nobody would have any money.”

And there would be concerts in schools where the second or fourth string from one guitar had to be switched to another guitar simply to make it playable.

“But it was just amazing, the beauty of the music that we produced at such a difficult time.”

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