Acoustic Ninja returns to Lower Mainland
by Keri Vermeulen
When internationally-acclaimed guitar virtuoso Trace Bundy is asked to sing out loud during a recent phone interview, he doesn’t skip a note before answering. “Absolutely not,” he says, laughing. The Colorado native, known by fans around the globe as the ‘Acoustic Ninja’ can’t sing well at all. In fact, in his early career, Bundy considered his poor singing voice a curse. But now, he says, he sees it as a blessing – one that allowed him to focus more on guitar playing and becoming the best he could be.
Hailed in 2008 by Acoustic Guitar magazine as the Most Promising Talent of the Year, Bundy plays the guitar like it’s a whole band in his hands. “Basically, I’m a one-man band, so what I try to do is create the melody, the base line and the percussion with just my two hands while I play to fill in all the parts.” Video clips of Bundy’s guitar playing on YouTube have circulated virally, with an astonishing 36 million views.
In spite of his success and incredible talent playing guitar, Bundy keeps his identity in perspective, through his Christian faith. “I never want my identity to be wrapped up in some skills I have on the guitar. But if I’m known as someone who loved well, loved God well and loved people well and use my passions well, I think that’s worth a whole lot more than having some skills on an instrument.”
His guitar career started quietly, with boyish fascination. At the age of 10, he was out with his 15-year-old brother when they passed a yard sale, where they saw a guitar for sale for $10. “We pooled our money and I remember we each had to contribute five dollars, and we bought it,” Bundy remembers. “That same day, we went to a store that was selling guitar magazines and we learned the first song on the list. It was a song by Metallica, because my brother was really into heavy metal and I kind of did whatever my brother was doing.”
Bundy continued learning songs out of magazines, and gravitated towards old folk rock music, like Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and some of The Beatles’ songs. The finger-picking patterns in different songs resonated with him, and he began focussing on those, and playing around with capos, and writing his own music. His live shows today showcase his stunningly beautiful songs, with the use of looping, harmonics and multiple capos. Almost equally engaging in his act is Bundy’s unique banter and warm story-telling.
“I work a lot of interaction with the audience and a lot of banter, humour, and some serious stories. I work all that in between the songs as I lead up to playing them,” Bundy shares. “So people say it’s a really fun interactive concert, versus just sitting and listening to someone play the guitar all the time.”
Bundy has played sold out shows in 28 countries, from modern concert halls in South Korea and Italy to rural villages in Zimbabwe and Guatemala. Fans in Metro Vancouver will get a chance to hear Bundy’s engaging live performance on March 3, when he plays Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley. The show will also raise awareness for DuncanAfrica Society, a locally based charity whose mission is to alleviate poverty in Africa through their unique trade school, which teaches men and women how to make beautiful hand-crafted guitars, sold around the world.
For tickets go to www.frontofthelineproductions.com or call 604-788-3164.