Justin Arawjo doesn’t wish to make music his career.
His day job as one half of Fennec Design keeps him plenty busy. But he does like to share his love of the guitar with an audience. So, last Friday, he set up inside Little Amps on State Street in Harrisburg, fingerpicking solo before sharing the stage with Congis Fizz.
Attesting that he “feels better in front of a crowd,” Arawjo executed his short set with the fluidity of a seasoned professional, despite the fact that he was just “getting back into the groove.” Seated in a single chair, under the dim lights, he plucked through tracks drawing from deep wells of inspiration.
In between verses, Arawjo’s fingers danced across the frets and fingerboard. I found myself watching them, mesmerized. His lyrics swept over me like a fall breeze, a night beneath the stars – cool and crisp.
Though Arawjo describes his music as “simple,” his lyrics are complex. I would describe both as soulful and authentic. I didn’t want the set to end, a feeling, I think, shared with the rest of the audience as no one spoke or made a sound except to follow each song with vigorous applause.
“I have no illusions about making this full time, being a full-time musician,” he told us.
Working as a studio artist at the Millworks, Arawjo said that music is just a part-time hobby. It’s one he’s always had but that he came back to with renewed vigor after the election. His music, however, is not political at all.
This concert was one of a few solo ventures for Arawjo. Although he’s been playing music for 15 years, mostly serving as guitarist for various bands, he’s only played solo for six or seven years. He re-released his album, “Ghostless Limbs,” on Bandcamp earlier this year with new art and design, but with the same songs he originally penned and recorded in 2008.
He had compact disc copies available for the audience. Arawjo donates the proceeds from his performances to various charities and relief efforts. He said that he planned on donating the money he made at Little Amps that night to hurricane relief efforts.
And, ultimately, that seems to be what motivates him.
For information about Justin Arawjo and his music, visit https://justinarawjo.bandcamp.com.