tripliciti guitar trio covers “Ursa Major” by Michael Hedges

by | Apr 12, 2024

In their first album recorded together, guitar group tripliciti pays tribute to Michael Hedges by including a cover of “Ursa Major” – a song included on his posthumously released album, Torched (read the full story on that album). Guitarists Andy McKee, Calum Graham and Trevor Gordon Hall all cite Michael Hedges as one of their major influences, and often cover his music, and their gratitude for his music, on their recordings and at live performances.

Filmmakers Mischa Hedges (Michael’s son) and Brendan Hedges (Michael’s brother) recently interviewed all three guitarists at Andy McKee’s guitar camp Musicarium and recorded a live performance of tripliciti performing the song, for the upcoming documentary Oracle.

In April, 2024, triplici released this video of their arrangement of Ursa Major:

VIDEO: Ursa Major  Solo originally written by Michael Hedges and released on 1999’s Torched”, trio written by tripliciti

Ursa Major is a piece by a musician who very much changed the lives of all three of us, Michael Hedges. Michael is known for revolutionizing the way people think about the acoustic guitar and he has several pieces that are technically demanding. However, we wanted to take a piece that shows the genius of Michael as a composer of music with depth and gravity as well. Ursa Major was our choice to honor him.” – Andy McKee

“This song is hauntingly beautiful as it is so I was very careful to stay out of the way of the main parts and just add some background texture throughout with the ebow to create some depth and atmosphere. Michael Hedges’ music has had such an enormous impact on our lives and we wanted to honour him by putting this song on the album. Every time I hear this it reminds me of the timeless essence and power of Michael Hedges music and how much we all wish he could be here to hear this 🙁  – Calum Graham

This piece holds an incredibly special place in my heart. It has been a constant companion to me throughout the years, and I would listen to it repeatedly, finding solace and inspiration in its beauty. One night, as we were all hanging out, we discovered that this piece held a deep significance for each of us individually. It was composed by our hero, the late and great Michael Hedges. While it may not be as widely known as some of his other works, to me, this piece, along with its companion piece “Dream Beach,” reaches the highest and deepest levels that music can attain.

Having lived with this piece as a companion for so many years, it felt fitting to explore it as a trio. Writing parts for this composition was a unique experience compared to the others on the record. I approached it with great care, ensuring that I didn’t overshadow a classic, but rather delved deeper into its essence and sought to complement it. I delved into various chord voicings and tunings until I found a peculiar one that worked perfectly. Additionally, I had to learn a new technique of playing strummed harmonics solely with my fretting hand, as my other hand was occupied with playing kalimba melodies simultaneously. It’s an element I believe Michael would have appreciated, finding a new technical approach to meet the musical demands. He is a giant figure in all of our lives, and the ultimate validation and honor we could ever imagine is receiving the approval and admiration of our rendition from Michael’s family.” – Trevor Gordon Hall

More about tripliciti – from their website:
Piloted by world renowned guitar titan Andy McKee, tripliciti is a fingerstyle supergroup includes rising stars Calum Graham and Trevor Gordon Hall, culminating in a chemistry that captures the imagination and intellect of musicians and non-musicians alike.  Tripliciti pushes the edges of acoustic music through dizzying technical command of their instruments, rich sonic textures, memorable melodies and soulful arrangements, offering an igniting live musical experience for audiences around the world that is real, inviting, lasting, tangible and powerful.

Having each individually contributed to the standards of must-know Fingerstyle Guitar repertoire, the merging of these 3 breath-taking solo performers into an electrifying live band leaves no aspect of the guitars’ potential out of reach.  The inspiration found in traveling as solo acts across the world performing thousands of concerts on various stages from castles in Luxembourg, jazz clubs in Paris, or sports arenas in Brisbane, has merged into a wholly unique sound that blends flavors of Americana, Jazz, Flamenco, New Age, and Rock music ideals. With textures combining steel string guitars, electric guitars, high strung guitars, low pitched baritone guitars, and even a hybrid invention known as the “Kalimbatar”, triplicitidoesn’t overcomplicate or indulge in the fretboard gymnastics for its own sake but carefully navigates these sounds with creativity, curating every melody, harmony and rhythm for the listener and guiding them into a fully immersive experience that must be heard and seen to be believed.  This is a celebration of the history and future of the most iconic instrument in the world still waiting for new sonic and compositional possibilities to be discovered. 

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