Black & White

Los Angeles Electric 8 modernizes classical music during assembly

by Melanie Kaplan-Cohen
May 3, 2011

Los Angeles Electric 8, an electric guitar octet that plays classical music, gave their first East Coast performance last Friday during third period.

The group came to the Bethesda area to perform Friday evening at the Strathmore Guitar Festival, and Strathmore helped arrange a visit to Whitman as well.

Los Angeles Electric 8 is the only solely electric guitar group in the world, members claim. Hugo Aguayo, Tom Farrell, Philip Graulty, Chelsea Green, Kai Kurosawa, Marc Nimoy, Felix Salazar and JohnPaul Trotter started the group about four and a half years ago, when the original members met at UCLA and all studied classical music.

“We thought it would be fun to try out classical music on electric guitars,” Green said.

After “Three Javanese Songs: Hampelas, Kinanti, Djakoan” by Griffes, they played “Octet Opus 11″ by Shostakovich. The lively and spirited song worked out perfectly for the octet, Graulty said. The group then performed “Implosion” by Mantle Hood, a song from the Balinese genre that reflects musical culture outside the Western world.

The group plays a wide variety of eclectic songs that explore different musical styles, Green said.

“There’s a lot of experimentation,” Green said. “Part of our process is seeking out cool stuff, experimenting with it and asking if it works out.”