STEFFEN BASHO-JUNGHANSBorn 1953 in Saxony in the former GDR, Steffen Basho-Junghans grew up in North-Thuringia.
1st drawings in childhood
1st guitar at age 17
A self-- taught artist, acoustic guitarist and composer, Steffen Junghans' first splash came as co- founder of WACHOLDER, one of the leading folk groups in the GDR, in 1978. Influenced previously by a variety of rock and jazz acts such as Frank Zappa and Mahivishnu Orchestra, the music of British and German folksters colored his perspective in a way he could not shake. It was in 1978 when Junghans discovered the music of Leo Kottke that he experienced his first strong epiphany. Acoustic guitar took on a whole new shape, form, and way of life, especially the steel string and the 12-string. Kottke allowed Junghans to discover a very different North American tradition beyond classical and typical folk styles. In 1979 he started conducting solo-performances on 6 &12 string guitars and became one of the innovators and protagonists of the guitar- scene in East- Germany. By the early 80's, Junghans was consuming the Takoma Records staple of John Fahey and Peter Lang, but also a core stable of ECM Records artists. His perspective kept changing, his horizons slowly widened and subsequently his playing style. In 1981, SBJ conceptualized, co-coordinated and consequently became known as the "father" of the 1st All- style Guitar Festival of the GDR in Potsdam. Before the incept of the All-Style Guitar Festival, Germany's guitar festivals were strictly oriented towards classical guitar styles. SBJ's efforts to expose the many facets of the guitar to Eastern Germany is a story of diligence and passion against cultural realities of the time, and whose pioneering efforts cannot be underestimated. 3 years later he directed an All- Style Guitar Festival in Berlin, further establishing the festival and lending a greater awareness of the guitar's universe of potential to the Eastern Bloc.
The true revelation came with the discovery of Robbie Basho, who in the early 80's was recording for Windahm Hill (!!!) but whose earliest recordings came via Fahey's Takoma label. Even in America, Robbie Basho was most certainly an underappreciated artist who failed to reach a wider artist like his earliest counterparts did. Because Steffen Junghans did not have a musical teacher or any sort of direct guidance other than himself, discovering Robbie Basho was a breakthrough on all levels. In his words: 'It was like opening a new portal. When I heard more about him and his music I understood that I had to go through him. My path got a name. I took the name 'Basho', not because Robbie was my hero; rather, I saw a line in philosophy from Matsuo Basho over Robbie Basho to myself. In that way, with deep respect, I wanted to remember Robbie, his music, his part in the history." From then on Steffen Junghans became known as Steffen Basho-Junghans, and a new chapter in his life had opened.
Although inroads to illuminate various possibilities for the guitar had been forged by virtue of Steffen's work, it was still impossible, as an unskilled steelstring guitarist making instrumental music in 1980's Germany, to record an album. After initiating and organizing various projects and festivals, SBJ started conducting lectures on acoustic guitar history (with hard collected information...still being shielded behind the Berlin Wall), performed many concerts and held many exhibitions. From 1986-1991, Steffen Basho-Junghans directed the Berlin Guitar- Centre and was 2nd chairman of ProFolk, which is the German Association for Folk- & World Music. All the while, SBJ worked as a visual artist, creating many drawings, paintings, cartoons and posters.
Steffen Basho-Junghans is an absolute master of the 12 string and open tuning acoustic formats. His playing is a fascinating and magical foray into unorthodox styles and sound ideas which combine North American Indian, Far Eastern and Northern influences with old steelstring traditions, European classic and a devoutly experimental aesthetic. As he begins to offer his recordings to North America, his playing has taken adventurous turns in style and sound. INSIDE and Waters in Azure mark some of his most experimental forays into the possibility of the acoustic guitar to date. Recorded solo with absolutely no overdubs, these albums are glorious treks into every steel-string idiosyncracy, pulled off by virtue of pure skill and an an explosively passionate imagination. SBJ currently works as a guitarist, composer, painter and free author, splitting his time between Berlin and Thuringia in Germany.
- 12-string Solo (MC/Blue Moment Arts 1989)
- In Search of the Eagle's Voice (CD/BMA 1995)
- Fleur De Lis 1 & 2 (2CD/BMA 1996)
- Landscapes in Exile (Blue Moment Arts)
- Song Of The Earth (Sublingual Records, 2000)