Paul Gogo's first exposure to music came from his father Ken, the "king of the campfire."
Part of a family that is a local musical dynasty, Gogo is the youngest of seven siblings - all musicians - and cousin to award-winning blues maestro David Gogo.
From that early campfire exposure, Gogo went on to a long and successful career as the keyboardist for Canadian rock band Trooper. It's now time to give back, said Gogo, who this month will debut a new series of affordable campfire music sessions. "If you've never touched a guitar before in your life, I'll have you playing a song as soon as you pick the thing up," said Gogo. "I think there are more guitars in closets than there are being played."
The essential thing is to start simple: there are at least 20 songs one can play with just one chord, and another 20 that can be played with two chords, he said.
Though the techniques are not secret or difficult, the other component that he believes is essential is gathering together in a group to learn, which is where the campfire comes in.
"There's a social issue here, right? Everybody has parties - birthday parties, Christmas parties - and people used to sing around the piano, like our parents and grandparents. Whatever happened to that?" he said.
"(Many people want) to play guitar, but they don't know where to start. Well, this is where you start."
Gogo acknowledges that oneon-one lessons can often be expensive, so this is a way to get the initial inspiration going that can translate into private lessons later, he said.
The sessions started this month, around an 'indoor' campfire, and Gogo said they will continue as long as there is both interest, and when he's not out of town performing with Trooper.
The all-ages workshops are Monday nights at St. Peter's church and Wednesday nights at Arbutus Music. Drop-in is $10 or $60 for seven sessions. The evening starts at 6:15 p.m. with a campfire sing-along followed by two sessions at 7:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
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