The liner notes for this CD, written by film director Phil Robinson (“Field of Dreams”, “Sneakers”, “The Sum of All Fears”) tell this story:
I met him in 1992, when he was lead guitarist for a wartime production of the American musical “Hair” in Sarajevo, but it was much later when I learned his name was Amir. Everyone in Sarajevo had a nickname, and his was Lazy. That’s how I was introduced to him, and I quickly assumed it was sort of like how Clapton's chums nicknamed him “Slowhand”, because this skinny kid with the scraggly beard and USA baseball cap seemed anything but lazy when he played the guitar. Blisteringly fast leads, taste, tone, talent, he had it all. Heavy-metal, blues, straight-ahead rock, you name it, he played it, and brilliantly.
After the show, we sat in a smoke-filled bar and he told me of the months of rehearsals that had gone into the show; how important it was for the artists and the audience to keep this sort of thing alive; the hardships of putting on a show with an emergency generator, enough power for one spotlight, and mortars and snipers outside. “Look,” he sighed, pulling back one side of his jacket, “I have to carry gun.” Indeed, there was a holstered pistol on his hip. “What's that for,” I asked?
“To make sure I get to theatre.”
I made a mental note to remember this the next time someone on a movie complained to me about their motor home.
We met again a year later. The war was still raging, and he was thinner, but just as determined to make a difference. “I’ve learned a lot about life in the past 18 months,” he mused. “Mostly what I've learned is that in times like this good people get better, and bad people get worse.”
A few weeks later, he was walking down the wrong street at the wrong time, some mortars exploded, and he was badly injured. My assistant Laura worked the phones for weeks until she found the hospital in Denmark to which he'd been sent for treatment. Eventually, we were able to convince the U.S. Information Agency to fly a couple of “Hair” performers over to the U.S. to raise public awareness about the war. Lazy came over, met Laura, they fell in love, got married, and had a kid.
All of which is a long story about how I lost my assistant. But I'm pleased to report that Lazy has atoned for this theft by creating “Fatamorgana”, a gorgeous CD of surprising, original and soulful music. It's music that could only have been created by a virtuoso musician whose life encompasses the Balkans, rock-and-roll, war, peace, love, a wife and a new son.
Following is a review from the September 05 issue of Unsigned Magazine:
“If you love guitar driven instrumentals, you have to - let me repeat this - YOU HAVE TO buy this cd. The genre of the cd is world fusion, and indeed, the songs are very exotic, a mixture of flamenco, gypsy, and something “other” that I can’t place, but so exquisitely beautiful, you’re immediately transported away from the humdrum of everyday. The music is as fascinating as the story of the musician himself, a man who somehow learned to draw incredible sounds from the guitar while surrounded by the chaos of wartime Sarajevo. There is a depth to each of the songs on this cd that words can’t really explain and the best I can say is that Amir Beso is easily on the caliber of Santana or Jimi Hendrix in terms of raw talent. I don’t believe there’s one song on this cd that you won’t love.”
© Unsigned Magazine
“Coming out of Seattle by way of Sarajevo, Amir Beso has put together a guitar player’s dream set with “Fatamorgana.” Taking hints of Flamenco and Classical styles and mixing them with bits of Jazz, Folk and even Rock, Beso proves to be one of the best players this side of the Atlantic.
This release was written, recorded, mixed, produced and mastered by Beso. This is an artist with many talents, and the best of them is his ability to write the magical melodies you hear on “Fatamorgana.” All of his talents come to life as he precisely picks strings that cry out with an urgency and a soul. Each song seems to have a beating heart and a personality.
Surviving in a war-torn Sarajevo for many years, Beso conveys the spirit of the time through his instrument in songs like “Balkan Nights” and “Sweet Solitude.” There are so many emotions flowing through these songs, it’s difficult to finger just one or two. The solemn grace and sensitivity that emanates from “Laura’s Lullaby” and “Mikey’s Song,” are offset by the playful bounce of tunes like “Gypsyland” and “Caravan.” This is instrumental guitar music of the highest caliber.” - Scott Itter, DrMusic.org
“Virtuoso is a word too often tossed about lightly. But, it would not be out of place in describing this album and the Balkan-born musician whose work it represents.
Amir Beso is, in the best sense of the word, a virtuoso. You don’t even have to like the kind of music on his album, Fatamorgana, to admit his virtuosity. It’s evident by the precise fingering and fretting that this is a skilled guitarist.
Fatamorgana offers a pleasant listening experience. It’s an exotic mix -- flamenco, gypsy, Middle Eastern -- but with a modern twist perhaps owing to Beso’s early immersion in metal and rock.
From the title track to “Balkan Nights” and the lovely lullaby written for his wife, there’s a lot of passion and just plain good listening in those 10 tracks.” - John R. Lindermuth, Rambles Magazine
Amir Beso is among five nominees/finalists up for 2006 Independent Music Awards in the World Fusion category. His debut solo album “Fatamorgana” is nominated for 2006 Album of the Year.(http://www.musiciansatlas.com/pages/ima_finalists.asp)
Indie Acoustic Project, which “celebrates the best in innovative, independent acoustic music” included Amir Beso’s album “Fatamorgana” among three nominees for the “Best CD of 2005 Award” in category World Music - Latin.
Individual tracks from this album are available for download at iTunes and all other major services.