- APR 5 Private Wedding - Tinley Park, IL
- APR 10 Private Real Estate Event
- APR 16 Private Marriage Proposal
- APR 18 Forget Me Knodt - Grand Opening!
- APR 20 Private Cocktail Party
- APR 23 April in Paris Bridal Show @Left Bank
- MAY 1 Private Real Estate Event
- MAY 2 Straw Dog Theater - Big Love
- MAY 4 Private Fundraising Event - Lake Villa, IL
- MAY 5 Tommy Bahama Store Opening
- MAY 7 Private Wine Tasting Event
- MAY 9 Private Cocktail Party
- MAY 10 Private Party - Glenview, IL
- MAY 18 Private Memorial Service - Chicago
- MAY 18 Private Dinner Party
- MAY 19 Private Corporate Event
- MAY 22 Private Gallery Show
- MAY 23 VACATION - May 23-27
- JUN 2 Gallery Show @ Old Town Triangle
- JUN 5 Private Corporate Reception
- JUN 6 Private Wedding - Benton Harbor, MI
- JUN 9 Private Wedding - Evantson
- JUN 12 Private Gallery Reception
- JUN 15 Private Wedding - Chicago
- JUN 15 Private Bar Mitzvah
- JUN 22 Private Fundraiser
- JUN 23 Private Wedding - Glencoe, IL
- JUN 28 Tommy Bahama Mag Mile In-Store
- JUN 30 Private Wedding - Chicago
- JUL 6 Private Wedding - Lake Villa, IL
- JUL 13 Private Wedding - Chicago
- JUL 28 INDIE WED!
- AUG 10 Private Wedding - Watervilet, MI
- AUG 24 Private Wedding - ON HOLD
- AUG 31 Private Wedding - Chicago
- SEP 21 Private Wedding - Green Bay, WI
- SEP 27 Private Wedding - Glenview, IL
- SEP 28 Private Wedding - Chicago
- OCT 5 Private Wedding - Chicago, IL
- OCT 12 Private Wedding - Chicago, IL
- OCT 16 VACATION 10/16 - 10/31
- NOV 2 Private Wedding - Geneva, IL
- NOV 9 Private Wedding - Chicago
- DEC 7 Private Wedding - Chicago
- JUN 14 Private Wedding - ON HOLD
June 2013 Happy Summer! The top story for the month: learning tunes!
Wedding season is ramping up, which means there’s always something on my plate to be learning. Right now I’m working on Have I Told You Lately That I Love You by Van Morrison, The Wedding Song by Paul Stookey, White Wedding by Billy Idol, La Gota Fria by Carlos Vives and I’m also hoping to get down the classic cumbia Caballo Viejo by Simon Diaz, which should just be in my repertoire anyway.
I’m always excited to take on these requests, but of course, it’s always great when folks want the traditional music, too.
What I’m most excited about, new music-wise, is discovering a solo guitar arrangement of the Brazilian classic Carinhoso, which has long been one of my favorite songs (I first learned it within my guitar quartet Los Guitarristas), and it’s one of the most significant of the Brazilian songbook. You’ll be hearing this one at probably every gig I play from here on out.
Beyond that, I’m continuing my progress on my “standing-up set", featuring my best party jams, played while not sitting down. I hope to officially debut this at my performance at the Logan Square Farmers Market on June 30 - beat box and all!
May 2013: The biggest news this month is that I can now report I’ve officially evolved into a biped. That’s right, I can now offer my serves as a sitting OR standing guitarist!
Of course, I have a long history of playing guitar while standing. For years I played in bands as an electric guitarist, but when I got serious about learning classical guitar technique and becoming a soloist a chair (and my footstool) became essential accessories.
For dinner parties, weddings and many of the events I play, sitting is definitely the more appropriate option. Once in a while I would get a request for a “strolling guitarist", and I would just politely say that wasn’t something I did.
But in the occasion to play an event where I knew I wouldn’t be using an amplifier, held in a very small space, I thought it was time to really give it a shot…and it turns out, not only could I do it without diminishing too much of the quality of my playing, but I found it to be quite fun!
After further explorations, I’ve learned what pieces I can and can’t play standing up. Some tunes are just too tricky to play without the leverage and proper angles I get from sitting, but the good news is that I can definitely handle a 2-hour cocktail party standing up, maybe even adding a subtle dance move here or there.
So if you are looking to hire me for a cocktail party, this is definitely an option! For a high-energy cocktail party, this will be great for me, as sometimes I get a bit lost in the room seated. I’ll also have my neck strap with me, so it’s always something that can be decided at the last moment.
You’ll also likely see me some Friday afternoons practicing my standing technique on the lakeshore! And I plan on doing a bit of busking on Sundays at the Logan Square Farmers Market when I can.
In other news, this month is chock full of great private events - and I hope to have news of some more public appearances soon.
In my April news, I mentioned playing for a marriage proposal. This being the 21st century, I can now share the video:
Enjoy the Spring!
April 2013 - Happy Spring! The season starts to pick up (finally!), with my first wedding of the year on April 5 in Tinley Park.
I’ll also be playing for my first “marriage proposal” this month - that’s all I’m saying about that, I hope the bride to be isn’t enough of a detective to find me here!
But I did want to mention that here as that is the kind of thing I love about what I do - providing live musical ambience to fantastic moments in amazing spaces. I love it when people have creative ideas about using musicians for special moments, and whenever I get an unusual opportunity like this I try to make an extra effort to make their decision worth it.
Likewise, I’ll also help christen the opening of a new Chicago floral shop, Forget Me Knodt on April 18. Come on out if you’re near Uptown!
Nothing official yet, but good things are brewing with Los Alquimistas. We’ve been busy expanding the repertoire, expanding into some new sounds. I hope to have exciting breaking news soon on that front!
Enjoy the warm weather! Go Sox!
March 2013 - Ahhhhh, the off season! This is the time of the year where all my promotional work is done (new demos, website updated), but I’m still another month or two away from really having to crack down on wedding music requests. Which means now is the time to brush up on the dustier corners of my repertoire, and even learn some new music.
One of the great benefits to learning my craft the way I did (apprenticing with a master, as opposed to going to a music school), is that I was bequeathed a gigantic repertoire. I can remember early in my studies with Sr. Chacon, when I had maybe 30-40 pieces memorized, he said I should have around 70. And sure enough, when I got to around 70 a couple years later, I found that I was essentially hitting the capacity of my memory. New information coming in, usually meant a degradation of the older memory files.
It is my ethic to always play from memory. With the exception of Holiday music (and I’m getting better there too), you’ll never see me perform in public with sheet music. Everything I have learned, from long written scores to folk styles passed orally, I play from memory. And when I really have something, in the best conditions, I can put myself in a purely emotional state while I’m playing. Every piece performed with my own internal narrative unfolding.
So these days I get to take my time, go through the old notes. Learn how I’ve maybe gotten a little lazy here or there, or inadvertently changed the piece.
And, most importantly, now is the time where I can dedicate myself to new music. Currently, I’ve set myself the goal of learning the entire Serie Americana by Hector Ayala, source of one of my favorite pieces to play (Guarania). It is 7 movements in all, each representing a South American national style. Last year I added Gato y Malambo (Argentina), and I’ve just finished Choro (Brazil). When I have the whole thing done (maybe this year?), perhaps I’ll have my first official solo guitar recital.
For fun, I’m also going deep on some Colombian cumbia too, creating a solo guitar arrangement for the classic Danza de los Mirlos, as well as the Carlos Vives mega-hit La Gota Fria - expect those to liven up cocktail parties this Summer!
February 2013: Welcome to my newly updated site! v.2013
I need to give major props to my wonderful friends and brilliant design folks, Letterform, who I have now worked with for something like 7 years. I receive many great compliments on this site, and I am forever grateful for all the incredible work they have done for me.
As you see from the previous months’ news updates, with the 2013 update, I have overhauled much of the content here: all brand new recordings in my Solo Guitar Demo, and my Wedding Music Demo. And there are a number of new videos (as well as photos) on the Photo/Video page.
I’ve also added more of the writing that I’ve done for various projects, including a new short essay on choosing perfect wedding ceremony music for any prospective brides that may be visiting here. You can enjoy a quick scan of all the music and writing projects that I’m involved with on the newly minted My Work page (still in final stages up updating as of this writing, I should mention).
Getting together everything for the update utterly consumed the last two months of my life, I now look forward to a couple months of diving into new music and hopefully pushing forward my abilities on the six strings.
One big show early in the month: on Tuesday Feb 5 my trio Los Alquimistas will be making our debut at the fantastic northside music club Martyrs’. You’ll be hearing a lot from this group this year…