Headshot.sepiaZak Borden didn’t really have a choice.  He grew up in an extended family of artists, musicians and writers.  It wasn’t exactly the quiet, cul-de-sac life.  There was a  warmth to late-night gatherings where wine and laughter would often lead to passing a guitar around.   It left an indelible impression.

“All manner of tuneful sorrow” – Guitar World (Acoustic)

Zak has put down roots in many musical disciplines.  In his late teens, he fell in love with bluegrass music.  As it does for so many, that fertile American hybrid introduced him to a world of other styles: from the country soul of The Band to the lilting traditions of Ireland; from modern string band takes on Thelonious Monk to the syncopated rhythms of Brazil.  However, as a performer and educator he soon came to find that it was really just passionate, well-played and interesting music that he loves.  Music that connects and tells a story.  Zak’s shows employ nimble picking on guitar or mandolin and a deep baritone voice that leaps easily into a clear, high tenor.  In the last several years he has maintained a steady practice of hiking, dancing, meditation and yoga that has deeply influenced his work.  His teachings now passionately seek to help his students (and by extension, himself) slow way down, get out of the way and truly savor the process of learning and the space between the notes.

“Captures your attention in the simple beauty of stuff going on…filled with love, loneliness…like a favorite photo you tape to the fridge because it makes you happy when you see it.  That kind of charm.” 
-Performing Songwriter 

Zak’s many musical collaborations have reflected his diverse background, including tours with Portland rock veteran Casey Neill and Japanese / Irish flute master Hanz Araki, Willy Mason, Rachel Harrington and classical and jazz double bass and cello wizard Buell Neidlinger (Cecil Taylor).