Las Guitarras de Espana

Artist / Band / Musician
Latin / Flamenco / Classical
Sweet Pickle Music
The Guitars of Spain ensemble formed in 1999, when guitarist, Carlo Basile was researching material for his Master's Degree Lecture/Recital titled "Flamenco Music and Spain's Nationalist Composers." Along with other guitarists and dancers who were studying flamenco music from Spain, Carlo put together a series of "Flamenco Night" performances (at Martyr's and then, later, at the Hothouse in Chicago) that gave everyone a chance to "practice their chops."

The "Flamenco Night" series was quite successful and lasted for a few years. It also led to collaborations with many fine musicians and dancers from the Chicago music scene such as Doug Brush (percussion), Issa Boulos (oud), David Gonzalez (vocals), Patricia Ortega-Alonso (vocals), Tomas de Utrera (guitar), Peter Baime (guitar), Julie Goldberg (guitar), Hector Fenandez (guitar), Greg Nergaard (bass), Colin Bunn (tres guitar), Wendy Clinard (dancer), Kalyan Pathak (tabla), Siri Sonty (Indian dance), Kinan Abou-afach (cello), and quite a few others.

In 2000, Carlo Basile, David Gonzalez, and Patricia Ortega-Alonso composed some new music based on Spanish classical and flamenco guitar forms. That material became the basis for the ensemble's first CD release, "Donde Esta' Paco?" Soon after, the ensemble began to receive some attention outside of the "flamenco scene." The music began to evolve into a fusion of styles that included Afro-Cuban percussion, Latin American forms, Middle Eastern grooves, and Classical Indian music as well.

In 2001, the ensemble visited Cuba to explore and study some of the traditional music of the island. Much of the music that was composed on that trip paved the way for the ensemble's second release, "Ida y Vuelta." This second CD, "Ida y Vuelta" (2002) has enjoyed world wide distribution and critical success. The music is regularly featured on NPR's "La Voz Latina" program. As well, it has sold out of it's first pressing and it continues to chalk up sales at and dozens of other internet sites for music purchase.

In 2003 and early 2004, members of the ensemble traveled to Spain, Morocco, India, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia. The ensemble also collaborated with Shona musicians from Zimbabwe, Africa in the summer of 2003 and Rajasthani musicians from India in early 2004. All of these travels and collaborations have, of course, influenced the ensemble's approach to creating new music based on traditional forms: "We continue to seriously study traditional flamenco and other world music forms, yet as artists, we also feel a need to express in our music and dance our personal life experiences ranging from our travels to visual arts, poetry and literature, as well as our own music heritages."

In December 2004, the ensemble released it's third CD, titled "Un Respiro por El Mundo" which features a blend of styles and grooves along with guest artists from Latin, Indian, and flamenco music. In early 2005, members of the ensemble traveled to India, Senegal, Mali, and Guinea for study, performance, and inspiration.

In the fall of 2005, the ensemble, in collaboration with Clinard Dance Theatre will present "Unraveling Rhythms" to audiences in the Chicago area. The ensemble has been invited to perform this work in Japan and Singapore in early 2006.

Las Guitarras de Espana (The Guitars of Spain) performs "Spanish guitar influenced world music and dance." The ensemble is also influenced by Latin American and Middle Eastern styles as well as American Jazz. The fusion of these styles backed by Afro-Cuban percussion forms completes the unique combination of sounds and grooves that is Las Guitarras de Espana.

The current core line-up features dancer, Wendy Clinard (; percussionist, Doug Brush; vocalist, Patricia Ortega-Alonso; bassist, Greg Nergaard; cellist, Kinan Abou-afach; guitarists, Diego Alonso and Colin Bunn; and, guitarist, Carlo Basile.
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