Surabhi Ensemble
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Surabhi Ensemble

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
Band World Latin

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

May
10
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

May
03
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Apr
26
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Apr
19
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Feb
19
Surabhi Ensemble @ City Winery

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Nov
10
Surabhi Ensemble @ Acorn Theater

Buchanan, Michigan, United States

Buchanan, Michigan, United States

Oct
07
Surabhi Ensemble @ Instituto Cervantes

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Sep
30
Surabhi Ensemble @ Navy Pier

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Aug
20
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Park

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Aug
06
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Park

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jul
29
Surabhi Ensemble @ Eckhart Park

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jul
25
Surabhi Ensemble @ Welles Park

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jul
12
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Park

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jul
08
Surabhi Ensemble @ Taste of Chicago

Illinois, United States

Illinois, United States

Jul
07
Surabhi Ensemble @ Senka Park

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jul
06
Surabhi Ensemble @ Taste of Chicago

Illinois, United States

Illinois, United States

Jul
05
Surabhi Ensemble @ Taste of Chicago

Illinois, United States

Illinois, United States

Jul
01
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Park

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jun
29
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jun
24
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Park

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jun
21
Surabhi Ensemble @ University of Chicago Medicine

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jun
18
Surabhi Ensemble @ Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jun
17
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Park

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jun
15
Surabhi Ensemble @ Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Jun
13
Surabhi Ensemble @ University of Chicago Medicine

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Music

Press


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. - Chicago Tribune


Another great review with mention of Spanish guitar music by Carlo Basile - Chicagoist


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 - Chicago Suntimes


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 - Chicago Suntimes


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. - Chicagoist (Blog)


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. - Reviewsic (Blog)


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.
- Radio One Chicago Blog


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.
- Max Herman


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. - Various Online and Print Sources


May 2008

CD

LAS GUITARRAS DE ESPAÑA:

Cuatro por Arriba

(Sweet Pickle)

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.

–Gail Isaacson - Lake Magazine


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:

http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/content.aspx?audioID=33094 - Chicago Public Radio


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. - Gapers Block Blog by Marla Seidell


The world needs the music and message of the Surabhi Ensemble. Their self-titled debut is a cultural touchstone bringing together the music of different global cultures in a free-wheeling folksy, jazzy, jammy good time. They’ve been at it in Chicago for eight years, fusing ragas from India with Arabic scales, Spanish Flamenco and Middle Eastern folkloric dance (two Surabhi members you do not get to hear on this great CD are dancers who add drama, action and flair to their live shows). The intent is a “positive message of togetherness” and, to that end, they’ve brought their sound and choreography to schools, hospitals, theaters, concert halls, festivals, refugee camps, neighborhood parks and cultural centers.

There is no describing this joyous sound in terms near enough for understanding. There are instruments being played that Western ears might never have even heard. Thanks to Ravi Shankar, we’ve all heard the sitar but have you yet to experience the veena, oud, talking drum or erhu? Add guitar, tabla, percussion, bass and violin and you’ve got one simmering boil of sound that is as righteous as it is comforting, entertaining, kinetic and totally unforgettable. - The Aquarian Blog


The Surabhi Ensemble is a Chicago-based dance and world music collective. I first heard them while listening to the eclectic world music show Radio M on Chicago Public Radio. I couldn’t believe what I heard—Indian raga, blues style, rollicking with a shuffle! It was a local group playing a track called “Raga Blues.” Founded by Indian veena artist Saraswathi Ranganathan, the initial intention was to use raga as a springboard to cross cultures and connect various forms of world music.

The Ensemble includes Spanish guitarist Carlo Basile, founder of Las Guitarras de Espana, and Ronnie Malley, beloved Middle East oud player, vocalist, and teacher at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Fleshed out with Dhananjay Kunte on tabla and Bob Garrett on percussion, the music is purposeful and well done. Add Indian folk/modern dancer Kinnari Vora and Flamenco dancer Marisela Tapia, and a full-fledged party ensues. The combination of flamenco guitar, veena (a four-stringed Indian instrument said to be played by the Goddess Saraswati), and oud is intoxicating. Surubhi Ensemble just released their self-titled CD. Tracks are evocative, including “Hanoi Pho,” a South Asian (by way of Flamenco instrumental) with lux violins and erhu (an Asian spike fiddle) played by Chihsuan Yang. Live, the group is outstanding, with tasteful colors and moods. Surabhi is a gift of music, strings from many cultures played together with passion and harmony. Surabhi means “fragrance of the flower” in Sanskrit, a perfect name for the fusion of delicious cultures. - Yoga Chicago


Discography

Donde está Paco? (2001)
Ida Y Vuelta (2002)
Un Respiro Por El Mundo (2005)
Cuatro Por Arriba (2007)
Tantas Cosas (2011)

Photos

Bio

Surabhi Ensemble is a global music and dance collective representing different cultures. The group was founded by Indian veena artist Saraswathi Ranganathan in 2010 and is based in Chicago. The ensemble began with the intention of producing cross-cultural music influenced by Indian raga. It has grown to include Arab Maqam music from North Africa, the Middle East as well as Spanish flamenco, with Andalusia, Spain (Al-Andalus in Arabic) being the natural end point to the journey of the many cultures represented within the Surabhi Ensemble.

The mission of the Surabhi Ensemble is to demonstrate the connections between cultures and to teach a positive message of togetherness in creating, performing, and demonstrating new works of music and dance. Members of the group work in many settings such as schools, hospitals, theaters, concert halls, festivals, refugee organizations, neighborhood parks, and cultural centers to bring this positive message of cultural unity and outreach.

The artists in the Surabhi Ensemble are dynamic individuals who have traveled the world to study, teach, perform and to gather materials in an effort to create new music with a diverse and rich palette. The group has taken extra time and care to absorb and integrate the rhythms, melodies, and musical structures of the various cultures represented. Some of this work has now been recorded and released on the self-titled debut from the Surabhi Ensemble. In addition to Saraswathi Ranganathan on veena, the ensemble features Ronnie Malley (Arab oud and vocals), Carlo Basile (Spanish guitar), Dhananjay Kunte (tabla), Ganapathi Ranganathan (Mridangam), Bob Garrett (percussion), Kinnari Vora (Indian folk, classical, and modern dance) and Marisela Tapia (Spanish flamenco and Arab dance). The ensemble has also enjoyed collaborating with many guest artists including Mamadou Tama (African “talking” drums), Greg Nergaard (bass), Kinan Abou-afach (cello), Chihsuan Yang (violin and erhu), and Morikeba Kouyate (kora).

Surabhi has enjoyed many positive reviews of its work and currently has an ongoing residency at the prestigious Instituto Cervantes Chicago. To quote the words of Teresa Hernando, the Cultural Program Coordinator of the Instituto Cervantes, “Surabhi Ensemble is a perfect combination of musicians and storytellers, blending wonderful music with humor and memoir.” The current CD release of ‘Surabhi’ was made possible by a recent grant from the City of Chicago.

Las Guitarras de Espana features the "Spanish Guitar Duo" of Carlo Basile and Diego Alonso. Other artists and dancers can be added in combinations to create a unique world music blend. "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." Chicago Tribune (7-6-2012)