There’s really not much reason to think that you would’ve ever heard of Adam Fulara.
But don’t go anywhere, because you might soon enough.
(photo courtesy of adam.fulara.com)
The 32-year-old software engineer-turned jazz musician has started to make some noise in his native Poland and parts of Europe, where his impressive two-handed polyphonic tapping style of guitar playing has made him something of a musical sensation.
And thanks to his wildly popular YouTube videos and the recent debut release from his comtemporary jazz trio, Fool-X, Fulara now seems like a safe bet to earn wider acclaim on this side of the Atlantic as well.
Born in the small town of Ostrzeszow in central Poland, Fulara took up accordion and piano at age six — an understandable path for a musicially inclined kid. In fifth grade, he took up guitar, idolizing and mimicking American guitar virtuosos like Stevie Vai and Joe Satriani, and taking that passion on stage with a few local rock bands.
But at 18, things started to take a turn. Fulara says he started experimenting with two-handed tapping. Then he went to a concert by prominent guitar player Partyzant, who parlayed the technique into a successful musical career in Poland.
“I was blown away by his music,” Fulara says.
It opened the way for him. But he was finding himself limited in what he could do musically: He tried playing pieces by Bach in music school but found himself frustrated, able to play only one harmony at a time while using standard technique.
“However,” he says, “when I employed the two-hand tapping technique, I could play the entire piece.”
Several years ago, Fulara began videotaping his playing from home and posting it on YouTube. The videos started to get hits. Lots of hits, particularly his renditions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and standards like Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag — with some of the videos getting nearly 400,000 hits.
And people outside of Europe began to take notice.
“I enjoy Chopin, Bach and (jazz guitarist Pat) Metheny, and still it’s for me very important to combine jazz and classical with some very smart methods of working,” Fulara emailed me yesterday. “Everything I do in music, I do FOR MUSIC ITSELF. Not for money, not for appreciation, only want to have good music, good compositions, improvisations and fun with it.”
He now plays custom-made, double-neck six-string guitars made to his specifications — they feature wider necks that are closer together than in standard double-neck guitars. It allows him to play two-part harmonies on the Bach songs he favors, which were written for harpsichord.
More recently, Fulara formed the jazz trio Fool-X, and has toured throughout Poland and nearby Germany. They recently released their first album, Doubleshred, which is available by mail order in the U.S. through his website — and has yet to make it onto Amazon.com.
But it might just be a matter of time.
Fulara also tells me that he’s just completed “Two-handed tapping: Guitar Workshop,” a teaching DVD and accompanying book that is being released in both English and Polish.
So, he’s clearly setting his sights on a wider audiance. My money’s on him making it.
Here’s one of the video clips that made Fulara a YouTube sensation:
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(NOTE: This is part of my ongoing series of reports on guitar players who fly under the mainstream radar. Keep checking The Listening Room for future installments of guitar players you should know – JF)
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