Folkfinds: William Csorba’s “Up From Columbus”

William CsorbaIt’s been a while since we visited any fingerstyle guitarists, so today we introduce William Csorba of Houston. Will is a prolific young Texan of the resurgent American Primitive guitar school, already several albums and EPs deep. His work takes a cinematic approach to the discipline, frequently guiding the listener from its roots in old-time and blues through modern drone, raga, pastoral and experimental styles. Csorba plays close attention to compositional elements in his pieces, enhancing the idea of his music as a journey, but isn’t afraid to use improvisation as one of those elements; the songs rarely wind up where the listener expects, but whether it’s by intent or chance only Will can say. The very lyrical ‘Up From Columbus’ serves as a great introduction to his work and aesthetic, constantly wandering but in a series of gentle turns that carry you along with it.

Q & A

What is your goal in recording and sharing music?

I think there is a complex of several different interests behind my efforts to record and put stuff out there (let alone to play music and compose in the first place), but I will say that it’s mostly not like a premeditated thing really – like having a particular “”goal”” in mind. Partly, it’s fun and interesting to see what happens when you record stuff, but I do also hope some of it can be valuable for listeners in ways beyond that.

Come up with a descriptive, original genre name for your music.

Someone once described my stuff as “cosmic American primitive” which i actually kinda like and is accurate in a way I think, but I wouldn’t really worry too much about calling it anything.

Who do you view as a likely audience for your music?

I honestly have no idea; I think most people who have heard my music at this point are other musicians and people already very much plugged-in to (at least superficially) similar stuff, but I’ve often been surprised by people who have told me they like it, so i really don’t know – but I certainly do hope it finds its way to folks who might be moved by it.

If trapped on a desert island with only three songs, which would they be?

Wow. Okay I’ll play. I know these aren’t “songs” exactly, but this is pretty much the best I think I can do:
1) Either Bach’s Mass in B-minor or the St. Matthew’s Passion
2) Maybe a performance of Raga Yaman; a couple versions I love are done by Nikhil Banerjee and by Zia Muhiuddin Dagar, so one of those I guess
3) John Fahey’s “Days Have Gone By” (the album treated as a single piece of music) [alternately, “Fare Forward Voyagers”]

Is there an instrument you do not currently play that you’d like to learn?

I’ve always fantasized to some extent of playing fiddle and actually have been trying to learn for a while now (and just barely starting to get the hang of it which is cool). I’d also love to get my hands on a sarod at some point.

Who is your musical hero(es), if any?

Certainly John Fahey; for reasons largely summed up in this quotation: “Like Segovia, who used the guitar techniques of Spain to make arrangements of classical compositions by composers like Bach, I use the techniques of the United States and a few I think I invented myself to play my own songs.”
Also, Beethoven comes to mind for many reasons one of which is the way he showed us at a whole new level how it’s possible to tell a story with sound. I could go on and on but those are a couple i think of a lot.

You can hear more from William Csorba on his website: Click Here

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