Las Guitarras de Espana Review. Musically, philosophically, and visually dazzling!

Las Guitarras de Espana. Compelling, sensual, original. Seeing them perform at City WineryLas Guitarras is all these and more. This ensemble is musically, philosophically, and visually gorgeous! Las Guitarras de Espana dazzles with all sorts of traditional and exotic instruments and personalities. Many surprises await you. 

Most of Las Guitarras de Espana's Flamenco compositions are original. Their desire is to create new music within traditional forms. Along with the vibrant tones of Patricia Ortega's vocals, we heard the Flamenco and Electric Guitar, Percussion, Electric Bass, Trumpet, Veena (Indian), Tabla (Indian), Diembe, Kora (Senegal), Flamenco Cajon, and the Talking Drum. Add to this the charismatic, sensual and haunting Flamenco Dance pieces composed and performed by Wendy Clinard. Combine these sophisticated elements and you've created a rich, complex, and profound musical experience.



The band got it's start with a Flamenco jam session in 1999, arranged by Classical Guitar Master, Carlo Basile. This first jam session was so successful that musicians and dancers continued to gather, and these jams began to be known as the "Flamenco Nights". It was this series of jams that laid the foundation of what is now Las Guitarras de Espana. From that original session, three members serve as the heart and soul of this ensemble - Carlo Basile(Founder), Patricia Ortega (Lead Vocalist), and Wendy Clinard (Flamenco Dance). Their process is fluid - generally, Ortega and Basile conceive of and then compose the new arrangements. At times, vocalist Ortega (a founding group member) will bring in an idea to Basile who will then add the chords and groove. Other times, Basile will send a groove to Ortega and she will add the vocal melody. Other ensemble members have creative impact and are noted compositional contributors as well - Colin BunnBob Garrett and Satya Gummuluria. These new compositions are brought to the entire ensemble to be rehearsed and refined. The group's final element is to add Flamenco dance pieces which are rehearsed and composed with the gloriously talented Wendy Clinard.


Carlo BasilePatricia Ortega, and Wendy Clinard are the heart of Las Guitarras de EspanaBasile holds a Masters Degree in Classical Guitar Performance and pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois University, and continues to study Flamenco guitar in Cordoba and Seville, Spain. He's a composer, performer, and teacher and has traveled to over 30 countries to study, teach and perform, including Rajasthan, India; Mirissa, Sri Lanka; Chang Mai, Thailand; Cebu, Philippines; Merzouga, Morocco; Camaguey and Havana, Cuba; Limassol, Cyprus; Zabalo, Ecuador and Paracho, Mexico.


When Patricia Ortega cries, we cry. When Patricia Ortega dances, we dance. This Lead Vocalist is crisp and vibrant with a ton of personality. Her musical background is both self-taught and classically trained. Having studied voice at Northeastern Illinois University, she graduated with a degree in Music Education. Like BasileOrtega studies Flamenco in Spain, as well as with visiting and local artists in Chicago.


The charismatic and sensual Wendy Clinard is tantalizing, compelling, haunting and poetic. Her eyes and beauty are piercing, and her presence is chiseled like a Michelangelo sculpture. In 1999, Clinard founded the Clinard Dance Theatre and is the Artistic Director of Choreography. The company’s works address Clinard's personal and global concerns and integrate her passion and love for flamenco and her need to create theatrically compelling works. After completing a BFA at The Art Institute of Chicago, Clinard embarked on a rigorous apprenticeship with flamenco dancer Edo Sie and augmented her studies in Spain with notable teachers such as Juana Amaya and Hiniesta Cortez.



This is a moving performance - adventurous and rich in dimension. Filled with the unexpected. This author eagerly awaits Las Guitarras de Espana's next creative endeavor.

Next Performance at City Winery with guest Cellist Ian Maksin
Friday, June 21st, 2013 @ 8PM
1200 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL
Ticket Sales: 312.733.9463

Performance Band Members and Instruments:
Flamenco Guitar - Carlo Basile
Lead Vocals - Patricia Ortega
Indian Veena - Sara Ranganathan
Indian Tabla - Dhanajay Kunte
Flamenco Dancer - Wendy Clinard
Drum Kit and Percussion - Bob Garrett
Bass - Ryan Hembrey
Electric Guitar - Colin Bunn
Trumpet - Greg Duncan
Vocals - Patricia Alonso and Satya Gummuluria
Djembe - Michael Taylor
Talking drum - Mamadou Diop
Kora - Morikeba Kouyate


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