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Milos Karadaglic, Transforming a Personal Silence

Milos Karadaglic
Courtesy of the Artist
Milos Karadaglic

Guitarist Milos Karadaglic is back from a devastating hand injury, and now he has transformed the silence of his darkest period into an eclectic album of popular songs and classical jewels.

Many artists have been through the trauma of injury, forced to stop and withdraw at a high point in their performing lives. A thumb-bone abnormality left pianist Murray Perahia facing the idea of a life without the piano. Pianist Leon Fleisher spent decades with only one functioning hand. And conductor/violinist Reinhard Goebel lost fine motor control of his left hand.

The miracle is that when these artists are able to recover and rediscover their instruments, they invariably speak of revelations. Perahia’s years of exile led him to a deep dive into the solace of Bach. Fleisher became the Obi-Wan Kenobi of piano teachers and learned to conduct. And Goebel turned his fiddle around so his right hand could do the work on the fingerboard.

Montenegrin guitarist Milos Karadaglic has faced injury, too. For six years, up until 2016, he gave 120 performances a year, recorded new albums, and learned new repertoire - all of this while chronically jet-lagged and constantly pushing himself to do more. His playing was better than it had ever been. Then came the moment when his hand hurt so desperately he could no longer hold his guitar. “The craziest dreams were coming true,” he says, “and then this.”

Despite incorrect diagnoses and psychological trauma, Milos eventually found his way back, and the good fortune he’s had in recovery has brought its own revelations. Now he’s charted them in a new recording called Sound of Silence, where Milos travels roads he likely never would have taken before his hand injury. The result is a personal and boundary-busting collection of pieces from the classical and the popular worlds.

It begins with Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.” You can experience it in this video:

It’s a poignant homage to the receding of the world that Milos initially experienced as an utter collapse, and which now, in good health, he looks to for restoration.

Also on the recording are some beautiful, chamber-like arrangements of popular songs, including Portishead’s “Sour Times” and The Magnetic Fields’s “The Book of Love.” Skylar Grey’s “Moving Mountains” has a strikingly personal meaning for Milos – it popped up on his phone as he was heading to Munich for hand therapy, in a devastated state of mind. He found the strength to lay down his guitar in its lyric, “‘For once in your life push your ambitions to the side / And instead of moving mountains let the mountains move you.” That strength was the beginning of his road to recovery.

Don’t miss the classical tracks here, too. Tárrega’s “Oremu”’ and “Endecha” and Pujol’s “Milonga” show off the soulful sound that Milos Karadaglic became famous for in the first place. 

Here’s the trailer for the CD:

For more information and to purchase this album, visit ArkivMusic.

Cathy Fuller is a Host and Producer for CRB.