Milos Karadaglic, or Milos, has a theory. The 35-year-old guitarist says, “It is always the musicians, who, when they play together, are creating more peace and more harmony than any politician and ambassador ever could. So I think with music and musicians — we are the true ambassadors of this world.”
And he knows what he’s talking about. As a child in erstwhile Yugoslavia, he spent his formative years troubled in a troubled country. “It was not easy,” he says. “As a boy, I very quickly realised [at the] subconscious level that when I pick up my guitar and when I play for people no matter what is going on in the outside world everybody comes together and we all disappear into this magic world of music. And after conflict, it’s always music that crosses the borders first.”
The musician is headed to the UAE’s Dubai Opera on November 26 with his ‘The Voice of the Guitar’ show that will see the works of Bach, Falla, Rodrigo and Piazzolla, and the Beatles come alive. Ahead of the gig, he talks about returning to the stage after a two-year hiatus brought on by an injury, collaborations and his back-up plan if he’s ever unable to play the guitar (there’s some singing involved).
Here’s what he had to say about…
He’s been called the ‘hottest guitarist in the world’ by The Sunday Times, and it’s a moniker he wears well — you’ll find references to the title on his website. “The media is very quick to keep bombastic titles and I think every time you read something like that you think, ‘oh my God, the expectations are even higher’. For me, I always just focus on what I love doing — and that is playing guitar and playing beautiful music and playing it for as many people as possible. And if that makes me the hottest guitarist in the world, then I’m very happy with that.”
“I think collaborations are a very important part of being a musician, because each time you play with someone or collaborate with someone — whether it’s another musician or a visual artist or a dancer — you are always learning something new about yourself and you are always adding new arrow into your set of skills,” he says.
Plus, he says, it’s a good way to spend time with your friends. “Playing concerts together is seeing the best of both worlds, because you not only get to see each other and spend quality time together, you also make wonderful music together.”
Some of Milos’ fun collaborations are with Gregory Porter, whom he calls “such an incredible jazz singer”, and sitarist Anoushka Shankar, with whom he worked on a rendition of The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
…is too processed for Milos’ taste. “I always listen to different types of music but it always tends to be classical music, opera and jazz. I very rarely listen to pop music. Some pop classics — like pop cults from the 60s and 70s, absolutely. But from the contemporary pop, very rarely comes an artist that I enjoy, for example Adele or Bruno Mars… those are rarities. I think these days music is so compressed and processed that it’s not really real and that’s why that’s not really my taste.”
Back to the stage after a two-year hiatus
When a recurrent movement disorder kept Milos away from the stage for two years (in 2015), he had to relearn his art. And that gave him greater perspective, he says. “If somebody now told me that we could snap fingers and take you back in time for two years and really bring you exactly where you were. I would say, please don’t. Because I don’t think I would be able to perceive in life as a musician without the experience of those two very difficult years,” he says.
If he could not play anymore…
…he’d be a singer. “If I wouldn’t be a guitarist, the only thing better than being a guitarist is to be a singer. And I still everyday sing — for my self, for my pleasure and for the love of singing.”
“I’m recording a new album [which is expected early next year]. It’s an album that will also be very collaborative and very innovative, and as part of that album I will also record the concerto by Joby Talbot, which I premiered at the BBC Poms this year in London.”
Don’t miss it!
Tickets to Milos Karadaglic’s ‘The Voice of the Guitar’ at the Dubai Opera on November 26 alongside Ensemble 7 start at Dh150.