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Patty Larkin Exploring The World Of Female Guitarists

Of the Oakland Press

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Patty Larkin has plenty of her own work to do. She’s working on a new album as well as a theater piece in Maine about the life of an 1840s Martin guitar.

But the singer-songwriter also is committed to another project, La Guitara, which celebrates women guitarists in all styles of music and was the subject of an album Larkin spearheaded in 2006.

“We try to make it an annual event where people see us coming through,” says Larkin, 55, who’s touring with two other La Guitara contributors, Brazil’s Badi Assad and blues veteran Ellen McIlwaine.

“There’s something exciting about being out there together. It’s like genre-bending, no borders by the time we get out there. I think last year we were kind of up against the name-recognition thing. It’s a new artist, really, La Guitara. It’s a living, breathing and developing thing.”

Larkin, who resides in Maine with her partner and two young adopted daughters from China, has more plans for La Guitara. Another album is a possibility, she says, as well as some sort of video documentary and perhaps even a book. She continues to encounter new players and new stories, but Larkin says she’s also been heartened to see that female guitar players have become more common over the years.

“I think 10 or 12 years ago, when we first started talking about doing this, it seemed very unique and cutting edge,” she recalls. “There was this whole wave of women guitarists who were emerging, and younger women.

“It’s not a done deal by any means now, but it’s so mainstream, almost. You can turn on (‘The Late Show with David) Letterman and see a woman guitarist. Some of the teachers I talk to tell me that, ‘Half my students are girls, and half those girls want to learn electric guitar and play rock ’n’ roll.’ That’s just great for me to hear.”

La Guitara with Patti Larkin, Badi Assad and Ellen McIlwaine performs at 8 p.m. Thursday (March 22nd) at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $25. Call (734) 761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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