Art

Percussive guitar from the guy who invented it (and someone he inspired): Preston Reed and Usman Riaz at TEDGlobal2012

Usman Riaz and Preston Reed

TEDGlobal Fellow Usman Riaz is an innovative musician who plays with vim and verve. He’s taken to the stage to enchant the assembled crowd with a virtuoso round of percussive guitar. But that’s not all. After one song, out comes the guy who invented percussive guitar playing– Riaz’s personal hero–Preston Reed. Um. His playing has the audience on the edge of their seats so as not to miss a note. Finally, the two come together onstage to perform a duet that’s, well, indescribable. Whoops, hollers, cheering and the most fervent standing ovation of the conference ensue, leading to insistence from TED curator Chris Anderson that the pair give us an impromptu encore. It’s pure, glorious improvisation, with Riaz even turning to the audience to shrug with a smile that he’s not quite sure what he’s doing. What a way to end the day.

Watch Usman Riaz play “Fire Fly” >>

Watch Preston Reed play “Ladies Night” >>

Usman Riaz

Photos: James Duncan Davidson