Originally aired on January 8, 2020
Julie Amacher, Classical MPR
Miloŝ Karadaglić is a guitarist from Montenegro who now calls London home. His star rose quickly after the release of his debut album in 2011. Five years later, he was faced with the possibility of never being able to play his guitar again.
"When you are going from one concert to another, from one continent to another, from one recording studio to another, it's takes a lot of energy out of you. When I started to feel that it was difficult to play, I didn't really know what struck me. It was very, very shocking, and that kind of kicked me sideways."
For two painful years Miloŝ searched for answers to heal his crippling hand issues. It's a journey that he says has changed his life. He's more relaxed, more focused, and he's discovered new meaning in his music.
Another very positive thing that has come out of this experience is your new recording, Sound of Silence. You took a lot of care in selecting the repertoire and spent a lot of time on your own and with others, choosing this music. Is that right?
"I wanted that album to be the reflection of the musical exploration that I enjoyed during the time of not being able to play myself. When I wasn't touring, I was for the first time really at home, and I could see a lot of friends and family. We were all sitting around the table, eating wonderful food, drinking wonderful wine and enjoying music.
"And on this album, I wanted to make a personal collection, like a personal playlist of songs that have marked that period. And to see how far you can go in terms of genre and style, and how far you can challenge it, by bringing it into your own world.
"And that's why on the album you have some really core guitar pieces, which represent my core as a very, very classical artist. But then, there is even Moody Blues on the album. There is even Radiohead on the album. Of course, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen. And why not? Music is just music, and it's out there for everyone to enjoy."
One of my favorites is "The Book of Love" by The Magnetic Fields.
"I don't know what it is about that song. A lot of people love that song. It's a favorite song of one of my close friends. But it's not the first time I hear this, because I always think of it. Out of all the pieces on the album, it's the one that is the most under the radar for me. But I'd love to hear why you love that song."
The recording is atmospheric. When I heard that melody, I thought, let me turn it up. That's the only way I can describe it. I felt a sense of comfort.
"It was like a warm blanket. Yes, I agree. It's a very, very nice, intimate arrangement."
I also felt the same about the Leonard Cohen piece, "Famous Blue Raincoat."
"I just think that there's something about Leonard Cohen that is so transcendental, I don't know. It's incredible."
It also felt like a tribute to Cohen, since he'd also recently passed away at the time?
"Yeah, because that also happened in that time, and I was always a fan of his music and his storytelling. And then I was thinking, how can I tell the story of that song without actually saying the words? Every time I hear that song, I just get all teary. It feels very, very deeply personal and very emotional."
To hear the rest of my conversation, download the extended podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.