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 »  Home  »  Culture And Arts  »  Damir Halilic Hal Croatian fingerpicking guitar virtuoso
Damir Halilic Hal Croatian fingerpicking guitar virtuoso
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  11/8/2009 | Music , Culture And Arts | Unrated
Founded Hal's All Star Guitar Festival in the city of Rijeka

Damir Halilić Hal, Croatian fingerpicking guitarist
A slick mix of guitar styles ranging from blues, bluegrass and classical, to jazz fusion and 'fingerstyle' acoustic.

Damir Halilić Hal

Damir Halilić, more casually known as Hal (pronounced ‘Hall’ in English), is a professional musician from Rijeka, Croatia. Hal has published three critically-acclaimed albums to date. His latest effort, the new 3-disc project entitled, Trilogy, will soon be released. Trilogy is predicted to be one of the largest projects in Croatian discography. Over the past few years, a great deal of Hal's music has received airplay on radio stations around the world.  His music could be heard over the airwaves in the United States, Australia, and Europe. This hard-earned recognition came after Hal performed several stellar concerts abroad.  Hal has played and collaborated with many of the world’s top guitarists. A lot of these artists have expressed their deep appreciation for his music and hold his work in high-regard. Most recently, he has gained notoriety for his concert-organizing abilities on the Croatian circuit, the crown jewel being his self-named extravaganza, Hal's All Star Guitar Festival, which has become an annual event and created in cooperation with the city of Rijeka. ...

At his first performance at Rijeka's National Theatre, Hal displayed his unique concept of a solo guitar concert. This show stood out from other guitar concerts in many ways. The first difference was that several types of the instrument were played: the standard acoustic, the 12-string acoustic, the classic, and the electric guitar. The second obvious difference was that a distinct, historical dimension was added to the repertoire by the inclusion of compositions from a variety of eras and genres. The tunes included classical music scores, blues compositions developed in the U.S.A.'s Mississippi River delta during the 1920's, and Scott Joplin's ragtime standards. The performance also featured Celtic dance pieces and a rendition of W.A. Mozart played on the electric guitar. Other songs, made famous in Hollywood movies, were covered, such as "Dueling Banjos" from the film Deliverance, and two by Henry Mancini- "Pink Panther," and "The Third Man." Still another difference from the typical solo guitar concert was the multimedia support on display behind the performer. Each song, while being played in 'real time,' was accompanied by video projections detailing pertinent information about the composition’s history. Interesting facts about the original composer, the song itself, and the historical period of each specific composition was shown to the audience while the live version was performed. In addition, during some of the compositions the audience was able to view brief video clips relating to the music. An example of this was the presentation of Hal's masterpiece Brela, a composition developed using the tremolo technique for the classical guitar. This particular song has strong Mediterranean Sea/Dalmatian coastal influences and the video visually enhanced the relationship. In addition to Brela, Croatia's national heritage was revealed in many other compositions.

For the rest see

Hal is playing "The Fairy Gloom" in the hall of the "Exhibition of Croatian Glagolitic Script", within the building of the University Library of the city of Rijeka.

More music by Damir Halilić Hal is available at

Hal received FENDER 2009 award, presented to him by Nenad Bach in the city of Rijeka.

The above three photos are from, many thanks to Nenad.

2006 was an outstanding year in Hal's musical career. The year was highlighted by the release of his fourth CD entitled, TRILOGY. The entire TRILOGY project was the end result of many years of hard work and dedication.

Hal is proud to announce that the success of his previous three CD's earned him the opportunity to travel to Nashville, TN to record the bulk of TRILOGY. Other tracks on the album were recorded in Rome, England, Germany and Zagreb. While in Music City USA, he had the honor to work with several top-notch studio musicians during the recording process. Being from the distant country of Croatia, this was no small feat.

As you will hear on the song above called, 'Tonight We Dance,' Hal's masterful guitar work was complimented by the lovely singing voice of Nashville's Suzy Bogguss. Other Nashville musicians who contributed on TRILOGY were Charlie Chadwick (producer, bass), John Jorgenson (guitar), Stuart Duncan (violin); J.D. Blair (drums), Jim Horn (sax), and Jamie Hartford. In addition, many other Nashville stars and European artists helped out on the project. Hal would like to use this forum to thank each of them for their time, expertise, and professionalism. And, of course, Laurie McClain will never be forgotten for her support.

It should be noted that TRILOGY is a 3 CD recording that is comprised of 36 songs. Each disc is defined by a distinct genre. The first disc is pop-orientated with strong blues, rock, and country influences. Most of the songs are sung in English. A few are in Croatian. The second disc is made up of 'fingerstyle' acoustic compositions, which is where Hal's guitar playing truly shines. The third disc is a collection of jazz fusion recordings done in his personal style. Hal openly states that this particular disc was one of the most powerful recordings he has ever made.

Hal is elated to have the opportunity to showcase his guitar magic to an international audience. Croatia is a small country, but has an enormous musical history. It is with high hopes that people around the world will enjoy the music that he worked so hard to create. Be sure to check out the video for the song 'Speak to Me,' which was awarded Croatia's Porin Award for best song in 2005.

Tommy Emmanuel: 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.

Thomas Kleemaier: At the moment you think everything that can be said with an acoustic guitar has already been 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 named Hal, a classically 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!

Woody Mann: 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 extraordinary 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 world of guitar.

Michael Messer: If there is any justice in the world, Hal’s music will reach out from Croatia and touch people in every continent.

What you need to fully appreciate 'Trilogy' is an open mind toward new ideas and  the ability to embrace something different, but interesting (i.e., all the factors inherent to appreciating true art.)
Irene VanDijk

This is a "must have" album for all lovers of guitar music
Alan Smith

This triple album will impress you at your first listening. It is without banalities and very carefully arranged. 'Trilogy' is the purest example of where virtuosity serves the music and not vice versa.
Giorgio Fairsoni

Hal is a very special musician, so is his album 'Trilogy'. A unique piece of Croatian discography.
Davor Hrvoj

A triple album hosting a bunch of legendary, foreign stars. Master of the "fingerpicking" style, Hal will not disappoint his fans. 


Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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