Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine


May/June 2013: George Benson

Ariel Posen

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Ariel Posen spent his childhood immersed in music—his parents both played in the band Finjan and the family toured all over North America. He got his start on piano, but got into guitar, thanks to 90s rock and grunge, and hasn’t looked back. He’s a busy musician with a lot of different projects on the go, and he says his parents support him fully—despite knowing the ups and downs of life as a professional musician. — Charlene Diehl

Tell us a bit about Guitarama, the Nu Sounds concert on May 11.

The concert showcases six different guitarists: Greg Lowe, Tim Butler, Larry Roy, Chet Breau, and me, plus Bjorn Thoroddsen from Iceland. We each have pretty distinctive styles, so the audience can expect to hear a wide-ranging concert. I think it’s a killer idea, and I’m honoured and flattered to be a part of it!

You’re involved in a lot of different projects—tell us about a few of them.

Every artist I play with has a slightly different sound and genre, and all of them are satisfying. Some of the folks I’ve been playing with lately, at home and on the road, are Del Barber, Sierra Noble, One More Girl (from Vancouver), JP Hoe, Keith & Renee and many more. I’ve had the chance to work with everybody from Chantal Kreviazuk to Lesley Gore. I do lots of session work in the studio and recently finished up a month-long run in the pit at Manitoba Theatre Centre for the production of New York play, Daddy Long Legs. Doing a variety of different things makes for a very exciting job—I couldn’t imagine doing anything different!

How does your jazz training connect with all these projects?

My jazz training has helped me with all styles of music in the sense that the theory itself is quite complex, and has made me understand music to the core. Rather than thinking of your instrument, it’s best to think of the music itself and how it can be applied to any instrument. My upbringing and training has definitely helped with that.

Which musicians are your ongoing inspirations?

I am inspired by many different musicians from all over the world. All of my friends and colleagues from in and out of town are on that list. It’s easy to get inspired and learn from untouchable influences, but it’s the people you constantly work with who truly inspire you—well, me at least!

What are you listening to right now?

I am not afraid to admit it: I have been listening to the new Justin Timberlake album. It’s really great, and you can tell that he hasn’t put anything out in awhile, so there’s a sense of honesty in the music.

What are your goals as a musician?

My main goal is to just make as much music as possible and have the best time doing it. Music is a beautiful thing and it should never be considered work or a burden.

What life lessons does music offer?

I think music teaches you to be honest as a person and with your craft. There is no point of doing it if you’re not fully passionate about it!


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