Over the past 10 years, Las Guitarras de Espana has consistently performed to sold-out venues in Chicago and the Midwest. The ensemble has also performed at numerous universities, concert series, and performing arts venues. Members of the ensemble have roots from Brazil, Peru, Italy, Cuba, Mexico, and Portugal and they have traveled to, and performed or studied in, over 30 countries. In the fall of 2005, the ensemble, in collaboration with Clinard Dance Theatre, presented "Unraveling Rhythms" to audiences in the Midwest. The collaboration produced 17 successful performances which were highlighted by sold out shows, guest artists from India, and international praise of the work. In 2009, the ensemble produced a new work entitled "Music and Movement" which featured re-arranged Spanish guitar compositions interpreted by flamenco, modern, and African dance (see video link below). In 2011, the ensemble released it's 5th CD, "Tantas Cosas" featuring Patricia Ortega. Comparative artists: Gipsy Kings, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Buena Vista Social Club. In 2012, Las Guitarras de España was selected to perform an official showcase at SXSW. Guitarist, Carlo Basile composed and performed Spanish guitar music for "Rick Bayless in Cascabel" at the Water Tower theater in Chicago. The performance received outstanding reviews.
Carlo Basile - Spanish Guitar
Patricia Ortega - Vocals
Wendy Clinard - Flamenco Dance
Bob Garrett - Percussion
Chihsuan Yang - Violin
Donde está Paco? (2001)
Ida Y Vuelta (2002)
Un Respiro Por El Mundo (2005)
Cuatro Por Arriba (2007)
Tantas Cosas (2011)
Carlo Basile performs Spanish guitar for Cascabel
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Outstanding review for Rick Bayless in Cascabel at the Looking Glass Theatre in Chicago. Spanish gui...Outstanding review for Rick Bayless in Cascabel at the Looking Glass Theatre in Chicago. Spanish guitar music composed and performed by Las Guitarras de España's Carlo Basile
Carlo Basile performs Spanish guitar for Cascabel
Another great review with mention of Spanish guitar music by Carlo Basile
Las Guitarras de España celebrates the release of Tantas Cosas
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Within the first 20 seconds of “Tantas Cosas (Bulerias)”, the opening track to Tantas Cosas, the lat...Within the first 20 seconds of “Tantas Cosas (Bulerias)”, the opening track to Tantas Cosas, the latest release from La Guitarras De Espana, we were filled with insurmountable joy. Perhaps it’s the jovial twang of its Spanish style strumming or the beautiful crisp, clear sound of Patricia Ortega’s vocals- whatever it is, the opening notes of this record truly are magical. This first track sets the pace for the remainder of the record as it continues to be jazzy, jaunty and rich with instrumental textures. In a way Ortega’s voice resembles what we imagine Elizabeth and the Catapult’s Elizabeth Ziman would sound like had she been raised in Spain instead of Greenwich Village. But beyond the pretty vocals La Guitarras De Espana is an enchanting collection of music styles puling inspiration from flamenco, afro-cuban percussion, classical Indian music and whole slew of other cross cultural sounds.
While harmonic songs like “Dos Besos” and “Capricho Arabe” offer a gentle change of pace from the jaunt of the other tracks, it is in songs such as “Cejilla” and “Cada Dia” that Tantas Cosas really grabbed us as listeners. A total digression from the music that normally rolls through the constant stream of press releases we receive, the passionate vocals and quick-stepping instrumentals of Tantas Cosas truly swept us off our feet. For those Reviewsic readers who haven’t explore many musical styles beyond the continental United States, we strongly urge you grab a copy of Tantas Cosas for a taste of what lies beyond the confines of American pop culture.
Las Guitarras releases 5th CD, "Tantas Cosas" (May 4th, 2011)
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Chicago's Las Guitarras de España celebrate the release of their fifth album, Tantas Cosas, with a s...Chicago's Las Guitarras de España celebrate the release of their fifth album, Tantas Cosas, with a show at Mayne Stage in Rogers Park on Saturday, June 4.
Radio One was fortunate enough to preview the full album, which spotlights the amazing vocals of Patricia Ortega. You don't have to speak Spanish or be familiar with Flamenco music to enjoy Tantas Cosas--the album has heavy doses of Latin pop, rock n' roll and various "World music" genres, from African to Arabic.
The album opens with the title track and the vocals, guitar and rhythmic hand claps are explicitly Flamenco and much superior to what you might hear on the Travel Channel. The following track, "Cejilla," marks a dramatic shift--the drumming, electric guitar and vocals are very rock n' roll, referencing the 60's most specifically.
Other highlights and unexpected twists include "No Me Queda Mas," a faithful cover of the 1994 Selena hit, "Capricho Árabe," a classical guitar piece that spotlights band leader Carlo Basile's accomplished playing, and "Reverie," which has a decidedly Middle Eastern feel.
"Tantas Cosas," which translates to "many things" is an appropriate title for this album--Las Guitarras de España access so many cultures and moods in just twelve songs.
Ortega shines on new Las Guitarras release
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Tantos Cosas, the new album from Las Guitarras de España, is the strongest release yet from the popu...Tantos Cosas, the new album from Las Guitarras de España, is the strongest release yet from the popular and long running local nuevo flamenco group. Since Carlo Basile formed the band in 1999 as a way to work on his research for his Master's Degree lecture/recital, it's long been a collaborative effort.
For Tantos Cosas ("Many Things"), vocalist Patricia Ortega has taken on a more assertive role in the band's material. She and Basile co-wrote most of the songs on the album, with Ortega drawing inspiration from a litany of artists ranging from the Latin rock of Café Tacuba and Ojos de Brujo; the alt-country and Tejano mélange of Calexico; Spanish vocalist Concha Buika, who works equally among fado, copla, jazz and house music; Rodrigo y Gabriela's mashups of metal and flamenco, and the grooves of James Brown, African rhythms, soukous; pop ballads, driving rock rhythms and jazz can be heard, all infused with the flamenco that forms the foundation for Las Guitarras de España's sound. It all may be enough for the band to finally move past the nuevo flamenco pigeonhole and earn itself a wider fan base.
Getting in Touch with Your Flamenco Side
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Getting in Touch with Your Flamenco Side Written by BARMEY UNG * Wednesday, 22 December 20...Getting in Touch with Your Flamenco Side
Written by BARMEY UNG *
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
As a guitarist myself, Las Guitarras de España, and The Avanti Guitar Trio touched a special place in my heart. The night opened with Avanti who reminded me of all those arduous but serene hours I spent practicing my guitar when I was in college. Avanti’s technicality was comparable to machines. The educated trio performed old classical guitar repertoire with some new works by contemporary composers. With thick concentration, Avanti produced a careful, droning, and melancholic sound. It was characteristic of the nylon string. However, it was almost too sensitive to be comfortable with. It brought me to an existential level. There is something very beautiful about an instrument that produces a sound which dies as soon as it is played.
Avanti Guitar Trio, Las Guitarras de España
December 10, 2010
These are the things I thought about during the intermission while the nine-piece Las Guitarra de Espana took their time to setup. My anticipation grew when I saw all the different instruments they had. I wondered what sounds could possibly be made with a cello, violin, Spanish cajon (A percussive box that you sit on basically), middle eastern frame drum, string bass, clarinet, electric guitar, Spanish guitar, etc.
Throughout their set, Las Guitarras de España (The Guitars of Spain) made me feel like I was back in Miami, playing Flamenco throughout that strange phase of my life. I suppose my opinion of the show was saturated with nostalgic bias, but I could still tell that the rest of the crowd, and some young Flamenco enthusiasts were thoroughly engaged.
The songs were centric around the singers (who I must say were very beautiful) who traded focus with the violinist playing sporadic gypsy fiddle lines. The group as a whole sustained an engaging groove throughout the night. I heard influences of Cuban music, gypsy music, flamenco, bossa nova and rock. No one player overpowered the other, but at times, I wish they had.
Patricia Ortega, the lead singer of Mexican and Cuban descent, displayed a voice that screamed and belted, like Celia Cruz perhaps, but at times, her voice was thin but loud. It was an original sound, and I enjoyed how skillful and natural she was at her art. Another women took my attention, Flamenco Dancer Wendy Clinard. The nine-piece band barely fit on the stage, so there was very little room for Wendy to be comfortable in. Although she held back, she was still able to seduce the audience. People shouted, “Ole” often which followed Wendy’s dominating hand raising cadences. She reminded me of a bull fighter, and quick applauses acknowledged her cathartic footwork.
The night ended with a short “Tablao,” which is like a Flamenco tradition when they basically jam out between the instrumentals, vocals, and dancer for an indefinite amount of time. In Spain, they would do this the whole night while drinking themselves stupid. There was something so hypnotic about the Gypsy sound and it’s repetition that Las Guitarras was able to create. Their set slowly climaxed, when afterward, the crowd’s standing ovation ended the night.
Worldview March 2009
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Las Guitarras was the featured ensemble in a Chicago Public Radio segment for Worldview. To listen t...Las Guitarras was the featured ensemble in a Chicago Public Radio segment for Worldview. To listen to the entire piece, please follow the link below:
Interview with Las Guitarras de España
"The new CD, Un Respiro Por El Mundo, is innovative and delicious."
Las Guitarras: Music and Movement Review
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CHICAGO—Tucked away in the shadow of Chicago’s Wrigley Field, above a convenience store and restaura...CHICAGO—Tucked away in the shadow of Chicago’s Wrigley Field, above a convenience store and restaurant, is a little venue known as Links Hall. There I saw a recital called Music and Movement, by Las Guitarras de Espana. We traveled to Spain, India, Bali, and Africa through music and dance (Flamenco, Modern, Afro-fusion, and African) in a one-hour presentation that could easily be expanded to a full show.
Director Carlo Basile presented a union of melody and groove with music of the American blues, jazz and rock, and Flamenco rhythms, along with some great Spanish composers, all fused together by marvelous musicians, vocalists, and dancers.
WEST AFRICAN HARP: Morikeba Kouyate plays the kora. (Courtesy of Las Guitarras de Espana)
The Flamenco by Wendy Clinard captivated as she used her shawl as a matador's cape. Nadine Lollino's modern dance, hauntingly beautiful as well as inspiring, moved to the works of Satie and Pink Floyd. The movement of Kevin Dirckson (Afro-Fusion) and Idy Ciss (African) was rousing, with Ciss doing some explosive moves while accompanied by percussionists Bob Garrett and Doug Brush.
A DRAMATIC MOMENT: Wendy Clinard, Flamenco dancer. (Courtesy of Las Guitarras de Espana)
Gerald McClendon and Satya Gummuluri provided the vocals, as well as Morikeba Kouyate, who also plays a mean kora (a West African harp). Greg Nergaard on the bass, Steve Gibbons on the violin and Carlo Basile on the guitar rounded out the ensemble, each a specialist and each blending perfectly to make this a production solid in every way.
Yes, the room is small and the lighting not the best (Justin Wardell does the most with the least equipment), but despite the intimacy of the Links Hall venue and the roaring of the "El" just yards away, we were treated to an experience that allowed each audience member to walk away with a warm feeling. We witnessed a production that appealed to all types of audiences and offered pure pleasure in both sound and feeling.
Basile plans to expand the show and hopes to bring it to a larger venue. I, for one, will keep my eyes open for the expansion. To stay in touch, check out www.theguitarsofspain.com.
This one hour of mixed cultures is beauty in the making.
Alan Bresloff writes about theater and entertainment in the Chicago area.
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May 2008 CD LAS GUITARRAS DE ESPAÑA: Cuatro por Arriba (Sweet Pickle) If you’ve been ...May 2008
LAS GUITARRAS DE ESPAÑA:
Cuatro por Arriba
If you’ve been to Spain, or even snapped a castanet, Las Guitarras de España’s latest album will evoke the swirling world of Flamenco. Based in Chicago, the ensemble members have musical roots in Brazil, Peru, Italy, Cuba, Mexico, and Portugal – and all influences have married beautifully on this disc. It rocks an Afro-Cuban beat and flirts with swing riffs of blues and jazz. The core group – a percussionist, vocalist and guitarist – composed most of the music, often augmented by additional players: a bassist, cellist, two guitars, and flamenco dancers. The opening track, “Junto a Ti,” starts the album off with addictive energy, prompting lively listeners to perform some tango, rumba and mambo moves around the living room. On the track “Sevilla,” I felt the whirling skirts and group cries of encouragement and delight. The Roberta Flack hit, “Killing Me Softly,” is haunting and lyrical when sung in Spanish. The "Guitars of Spain" will lift you, lilt you and probably make a dancin’ fool out of you. Cuatro por Arriba is hot as an evening in sunny Spain. Feel the vibe live when the band performs at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Mich., on Sat., May 3 at 8 p.m.
Bottom line: Be prepared to move to the grooves of this spicy Spanish album.
6th Annual Chicago Flamenco Festival
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Performing to yet another sold-out crowd, the next dance event of interest was Las Guitarras de Espa...Performing to yet another sold-out crowd, the next dance event of interest was Las Guitarras de Espana — the Chicago-based, nine-piece ensemble that fuses together flamenco, world music and jazz elements. The addition of local dancer Wendy Clinard and singer Alfonso Cid as guest performing artists made this a dizzyingly good show. The music was jazzy and brassy, flavorful — with elements of klezmer a bit melancholy but with high-spirited jazz that rounded it out into a delicious blend of flamenco fusion. Clinard demonstrated that flamenco is not something one can do without a lot of feeling involved — so intense and vividly poignant was her performance.
"A grand, lovely piece of work." (2007)
"The ensemble is great...I love it." (2007)
Chicago Arts and Entertainment Weekly
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Ida Y Vuelta receives 4 stars...Las Guitarras de Espana present soothing, occasionally upbeat, Spani...Ida Y Vuelta receives 4 stars...Las Guitarras de Espana present soothing, occasionally upbeat, Spanish guitar music that reaches out to the sounds of myriad cultures... ...[they] make their own rules, yet they have respect for tradition.
Flamenco Fusion Melodies Fill The Hothouse in Chicago
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The haunting melodies of Spanish flamenco and the imperious moves of flamenco dancers enraptured t...The haunting melodies of Spanish
flamenco and the imperious moves of
flamenco dancers enraptured the audience at HotHouse during a recent performance by chicago-based group Las Guitarras de Espana as part of the month long 2007 Chicago Flamenco Festival.
Read more in English online
Featured Music at Taste of Chicago
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This is flamenco music, sort of — its roots are in the classic, guitar-driven sound, but Las Guitarr...This is flamenco music, sort of — its roots are in the classic, guitar-driven sound, but Las Guitarras add jazz, rock, blues and everything else into the pot. The result is brilliant.
A typical one hour performance features diverse and energetic blend of Spanish guitar influenced material such as rumbas, Cuban son and bolero forms and flamenco dance pieces. The program is comprised of Las Guitarras de España compositions and traditional forms.