Nouveau Flamenco Guitarist Opens Season At Macey

SOCORRO, N.M. September 17, 2013 – Internationally acclaimed nouveau flamenco guitarist Ottmar Liebert and his band, Luna Negra, will open the New Mexico Tech 2013-2014 Performing Arts Series season with a show at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at Macey Center.

The performance is the first of a dozen “subscription series” events to unfold over the next nine months.


 Ottmar Liebert is a world-renowned guitarist who lives and records in Santa Fe. He will open the Performing Arts Series season with a show at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20.


“We are delighted to have an opportunity to showcase the singular talents of Ottmar Liebert, and introduce him to music aficionados near and far,” Director Ronna Kalish said. “This outstanding nouveau flamenco guitarist has a fascinating background, including early travels throughout two continents, experiences reflected in his performances.”

Kalish explained that Nouveau Flamenco is the title of Liebert’s first album, released in May 1990, written in a subgenre of flamenco known as “new flamenco,” a melding of pop and “call-and-response” structure with flamenco elements.

“Call and response is two distinct phrases, usually played by different musicians, where the audience hears the second phrase as a direct comment in response to the first,” she said. “More recently, Ottmar Liebert has released ‘Dune,’ what many consider his finest work to date, a hauntingly beautiful collection that will astound audiences.”

Indeed, Dune evokes images of magic men drawn to the desert sands.  Sometimes they come as sculptors, like Christo, that put up strange and beautiful environments that inspire.  Sometimes they come as Native American medicine men or old Japanese Kyoto masters to meditate and postulate. 

And sometimes, just simply great artists disguised as guitar players.  

Dune has been described as random beauty – airy, rhythmic and sometimes funky; filled with sounds that pull audiences inside of full and empty spaces simultaneously.  

“Ottmar is always exceptionally brilliant and mysterious, but with Dune, he has entered a realm into itself,” Kalish said.

  1. www.ottmarliebert.com/biography/awards.php).  He has sold millions of records across the

He plays with lots of textures in this set – contrasting traditional and electric instruments and adding accordion, Memphis bass lines, trumpets and a drum machine – in addition to lots of percussion.  The release features Liebwert on acoustic and electric guitars; Jon Gagan on acoustic upright bass, electric bass guitars, and keyboards, including clavinet; Char Rothschild on accordion; Robby Rothschild on percussion (Chris Steele on Track 14).

“I’m following the idea of contrasting traditional and electric instruments like we did on the ‘Opium’ release,” Liebert said. “There are also beautiful treatments and sound design by Andrew Gaskins on three tracks.”

Liebert, born on Feb. 1, 1959, in Cologne, Germany to a Chinese-German father and a Hungarian mother, began playing guitar at age 11. His extensive treks through Europe and Asia introduced him to diverse musical styles and cultures.

Like many young musicians of the era, Liebert first embraced the genre of rock-and-roll, an amalgam of musical influences including jazz, gospel and blues; which, incidentally, did not acquire its name until the 1950s in the United States.

He pursued these rock-and-roll dreams in his native Germany; and, later, in Boston. Eventually, the frustrations of the East coast prompted Liebert to leave the region behind. He headed west and settled in Santa Fe.

The ethnic and cultural influences of the City Different and the Land of Enchantment can clearly be traced in Liebert’s growth as a musician, as evidenced by his reputation as a nouveau flamenco guitarist.

By 1989, he had founded the first incarnation of his new band, Luna Negra, and released the self-produced, “Marita: Shadows and Storms,” which found its way to radio stations and began generating generous feedback.

“I was honestly happy playing this music in hotels and restaurants in Santa Fe, and going in one year from doing that to opening for Miles Davis was a pretty intense jump,” he said.

“Most shocking for me was to realize how many different people from so many diverse cultures embraced it. I still get letters from fans in Europe, South-America, Australia, and Asia...it’s been a really gratifying experience. I’ve had the opportunity to play in a wide variety of cultural settings with musicians from around the world, and that has been a great experience, too.”

Liebert is a prolific musician who has become one of the most successful instrumental artists of the past decade, having released a catalog of classic recordings, including the remix collection Euphoria (1995), the live album Viva! (1995), the double-CD Opium (1996) and the classical-oriented orchestral album Leaning Into the Night (1997).

His first recording of the new millennium was 2001’s Little Wing, followed by a lush album of lullabies called In the Arms of Love (2002) and an album with Luna Negra XL called The Santa Fe Sessions (2003). 

La Semana (2004) was Liebert’s first all-new band album in five years, followed by Winter Rose (2005), which featured original pieces, classical selections and Christmas songs.

In 2006, his record label SSRI released One Guitar, his first solo guitar recording, for which Liebert received his fourth nomination for a Grammy. The musician’s newest releases are Up Close (2008), which Liebert described as “a binaural dummy head surround sound recording,” and The Scent of Life” (2008) a labor of five years.

“We are hoping our-long supporters join us as we kick off a new season – and it would be great to introduce music lovers from around the state to Ottmar Liebert and nouveau flamenco,” Kalish said. “And, of course, we recognize the key support of our sponsors, including those for this performance.”

Sponsors for the Ottmar Liebert concert are the New Mexico Tech Student Government Association, Wells Fargo, EMRTC, Socorro General Hospital and Manzanares Street Coffee Shop. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for youth, and are available at the N.M. Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up or at the door.      

– NMT –

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech