Damir Halilic Hal - 2014 Porin Music Award Winner (the most prestigious Croatian music award)
Hal has recorded in the past decade six critically aclaimed albums. He has also performed in the Croatia, USA, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, England, Sweden, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Poland, Czech Republic,...
Hal’s Guitar Power audio visual shows have received critical acclaim for originality and innovation on the live music circuit.
From 2009 he is present on the official web site, of the world's biggest guitar star, an Australian virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel.
Hal shared the stage and collaborated with the world 's biggest names, such as Tommy Emmanuel, Muriel Anderson, Bernie Marsden, Michael Messer, Peter Finger, Franco Morone, Woody Mann,... and has brought many of them for the first time to Croatia.
Under the sponsorship of the City of Rijeka and the regional municipality, Hal is hosting the Hal's All Star Guitar festival with top name performers such as Pierre Bensusan, Martin Taylor, Dominic Miller, Preston Reed, John Jorgenson, Antonio Forcione, Jacques Stotzem, Duck Baker, Tony McManus,...
Hal is also the artistic director of Kastav Blues Festival, which draws thousands of visitors and is the largest and most important croatian blues festival. Hal is also a program director of BIG Festival (Baska International Guitar Festival) in Jurandvor and Baska on Krk Island.
Hal’s new album 50 (Croatia Records 2015) was recorded in separate sessions in Berlin, Prague and Zagreb. Besides the audio recordings the double CD provides, this album also features some fantastic video footage recorded and directed by Igor Modric.
The first CD was recorded under the guidance of producer Jorg Surrey, who is the owner of the Surrealis Sounds studio - a part of the prestigious Teldex Studios complex in Berlin.
A major portion of the recording was recorded and mixed in the Sun Records studio in Prague by producer Michal Senbauer.
The front and back covers, photo gallery, and final touches of the entire project were designed by a legendary photographer, Alan Messer. A native Brit who now resides in the USA, Alan is a Grammy award-winning artist who has taken many of the most celebrated photos in the era of modern music.
Immediately after releasing the double album debut called Gemini, Hal's songs have made it to the top charts in the U.S., Australia and Europe. After that followed the concerts abroad and excellent reviews which facillitated the production of the next CD Ocean in Bologna which was produced by one of most exposed names of contemporary acoustic guitar, an Italian musician Franco Morone. Continuation of the musical journey brought the album Infinity from which the song Speak To Me recorded significant success in local radio stations (Porin award for best female interpretation).
The following album was Trilogy which saw the light of day in early August 2006. It was one of the biggest projects in the domestic discography. The triple album was recorded around the world, from Nashville, USA, Rome, Munich, and as far as Zagreb and Rijeka. The album features guest appearances of eminent musicians such as guitarist John Jorgenson drummer JD Blair, saxophonist Jim Horn, singer Suzy Bogguss (recipient of GRAMMY Award), producer Woody Mann, guitarist and blues harp player Pat Burgesen, Italian percussionist Lucrezio DeSeta, American blues musician Michael Roach and many other guests.
The album, Mare Nostrum, by Damir ‘Hal’ Halilić, was recorded in September 2012, in London, England.
During the recording process, Hal had the honor of working with renowned producer, B.J. Cole, and highly-esteemed sound recorder, Steve Honest, both of whom earned their professional reputations by working with some of the most prominent artists in the music industry (Elton John, Sting, Bjork, REM, Mark Knopfler, Tom Jones, Depeche Mode, Dolly Parton, David Gilmour, Robert Plant, Uriah Heep…)
The entire Mare Nostrum album was recorded with no tape-overs or corrections. The songs were played-out in full as if recorded live in concert. The “natural chorus effect” in some songs required two recordings, which were then separated to the left and right side of the panoramic sound pallet.
"If there is any justice in the world, Hal’s music will reach out from Croatia and touch people on every continent."- Michael Messer
"Hal is wonderful musician and I admire his dedication to the guitar. I wish him success in his career and would like to see him take his music to the rest of the world,..."- Tommy Emmanuel
Alan Nimmo of the U.K.’s scorching-hot blues act, The King King (For the THIRD YEAR RUNNING King King have won the 'Best Band' award at the British Blues Awards 2014.), said this:
"It is remarkable how Hal is able to play so many different styles of guitar music in such a brilliant manner. His technique and ideas show a musician with unusual talent. After hearing him play, it is clear that he is an important musician with much to offer the musical community in Croatia. I think he has the potential to be a major figure in the words of guitar."- Woody Mann
Elliott Randall, legendary guitarist and ex-Steely Dan member said:
"I thought he was an amazing guitar player…very technical, very passionate with amazing skill and amazing faculty. His performance was like listening to one man play a guitar and the music sounding like ten people playing ten guitars. It was absolutely awesome!"- Alan Nimmo
"I enjoyed HAL's CD very much. Damir is a lovely player - and in quite a few styles. There's really enough for two albums in there! Warm congratulations on a 'job well done'."- Elliott Randall
Blues harmonica ace, Johnny Mars, who has performed with many legends in the Rock & Roll and Blues music categories, offered this comment:
"At the moment you think everything that can be said with an acoustic guitar is already said, there will be a voice from somewhere in the world, and may it be Croatia, that suddenly tells you new stories. It happened to me when the guitar was in the hands of a guy called Hal, a classical-trained player from Croatia. Hal plays in the best American fingerstyle tradition, but there always is this little something, this little extra, that makes his playing unique. Hey people, listen to him, this guy is great!"- Thomas Kleemaier
Michael Roach, acoustic blues star and founder and past president of the European Blues Association, had this to say:
"The guy knows how to play a guitar…blues, he’s got it. He’s got feeling. Rock guitar, classical, everything across the board…this guy is great!"- Johnny Mars
"He’s known all around the world because all the guitar players know [of] him. Even the blues guys have respect for Hal!"- Michael Roach
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