Incendio with Ardeshir Farah live at Alvas on April 6, 2024 (photo: Art Valdez)

The “world guitar” quartet was joined by the renowned Persian guitar master.

By Valerie Milano

San Pedro, CA (The Hollywood Times) 4/12/24 – The lights dimmed once again, and 24 years after their first show, “world guitar” group Incendio took the stage at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro this past Saturday. Through countless national tours, 11 albums of original music, a few select covers, the band brings experience and a playful mastery to their shows. But in the last few months, there is a new in-concert collaboration that is pushing the fire higher. This past Saturday, for the fourth time since last September, the group was joined by Ardeshir Farah, the Persian guitarist who is half of the seminal guitar duo Strunz and Farah. The pair have been setting the standard with world class nylon-string guitar playing since around 1980, and their latest, Syncretic Strings, was just released in Spring 2023. They were and are a huge influence on Incendio, so the casual pairing was both destined yet unplanned.

“I don’t even remember how the conversation started” laughs guitarist JP Durand. “I think we reached out to invite him to a show, he accepted, and one thing kind of led to another. Apart from being a great player, he is warm and had great stories of his young musical life in London and LA.” A few informal onstage jams in early 2023 led to this live collaboration, which sees Ardeshir jamming on some Incendio songs, as well as the band undertaking some of Ardeshir’s classic compositions from Strunz and Farah.

Incendio live at the Millpond Festival, Bishop CA September 2023 (photo: Jack Sneddon)

At Alvas, Incendio started the night with the quartet playing songs from their most recent album, Summoning the Muse. They kicked things off with their signature Latin rhythms, which had people moving in their seats, some even humming the melodies. The audience was packed and featured many longtime fans. After a few tunes, the band hit “Capetown Juerga” – the bassist, Liza Carbé, lit up the stage with a fantastic slap solo that led the group into a deep groove and some lightning-fast lines played by all. By contrast, the band slowed down and performed Jim Stubblefield’s slow-burn piece “Blue Bolero”, with all the musicians digging into the smoldering romantic groove.

Halfway through the first set, the quartet was joined by Ardeshir Farah. JP Durand mentioned to the audience that he and the band felt like Strunz and Farah were the connecting band between the first true expression of this style – 1980’s Friday Night in San Francisco with Paco de Lucia, Al Di Meola, and John McLaughlin – and pretty much every other Spanish guitar artist such as Incendio, Jesse Cook, Rodrigo and Gabriela, Luis Villegas, Ottmar Liebert and so many others. The quintet kicked things off rocking through the Stubblefield-penned Incendio standard “Barcelona”. They then went into Ardeshir’s Strunz and Farah classic “Twilight at the Zuq”. The group tore into this middle eastern-flavored piece with the same level of ferocity that they played their own pieces, and the audience, many of whom were equally familiar with this composition, appeared to soak it up.  The melody was exchanged between Jim and Ardeshir, while Jean-Pierre Durand provided supporting synth parts and a guitar synth solo. Jim Stubblefield took an inspired solo, clearly within the style, and beautifully executed. When Ardeshir soloed, he executed the blinding speed and melodic flavor that he is known for, and the audience went crazy!


Jim, Ardeshir, JP, and Liza live at the Millpond Festival, Bishop CA September 2023 (photo: Jack Sneddon)

The set break went a little long – so many folks came up to talk to JP, to band drummer Tim, to Ardeshir – it was clear that fans of one were mixing and talking to fans of the other. CD’s and memory sticks were sold, new acquaintances formed, stories and social media exchanged.

Incendio – Liza and JP live at Alvas Showroom April 6, 2024 (photo Art Valdez)

The quartet returned to play some of their older material, including a stab in 2003’s complex and rarely played gem, “Black Opal”. They then again became a quintet on JP’s ode to his father, “Tango Para Abel”, where Ardeshir brought some of his Persian-inspired lines to an Argentinean tango, again masterfully mixing cultural approaches. The band closed out the evening with Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” where JP Durand took an epic electric guitar solo that caused the audience to erupt. This was followed the mesmerizing longtime Incendio set-closer “Illumination”. Drummer Timothy Curle must be commended for firmly laying down an explosive but always-musical foundation to all the proceedings.


Incendio live at Alvas Showroom March 2023 (photo: Andy Dalbol)

Throughout it all, the band showed no signs of slowing down or backing off in their approach and displayed an easy and infectious camaraderie with their legendary onstage pal. The group will be announcing summer shows soon, some of which will again feature Ardeshir as a guest. For his part, Strunz and Farah are releasing great new singles via streaming, hopefully with shows in the near future for the trailblazing and beloved duo. You can keep up with everyone’s activities at:



Watch Incendio with Ardeshir perform his composition “Twilight at the Zuq”:


Incendio: Ardeshir, JP, and Liza live at Millpond Festival Sept 2023 (photo Jack Sneddon)