Romero conquers Keystone |

Romero conquers Keystone

KEYSTONE – The Romero family has been sweeping people off their feet since the 16th century – only then, the Romeros were Spanish conquistadors.

Today, Ruben Romero conquers people with his mesmerizing melodies and rhythms that express the joys and sorrows of the gitano souls of his gypsy ancestors.

“I seem to have been drawn to the Spanish guitar,” Romero said. “I have a kinship with it because of my heritage.”

Born in Santa Fe, N.M., Romero comes from a long line of guitarists. He began playing folk songs, then studied flamenco guitar in Spain when his older brothers, who were accomplished flamenco dancers, needed accompaniment.

Since then, he has released more than 20 albums. He has captivated fans with the driving rhythm of his rumbas and the lyricism of such songs as “Lagrimas para Mi Hermano,” written in memory of his late brother.

His reputation as a flamenco guitarist grew with the worldwide success of “Gypsy Passion” and “Gypsy Soul,” released by Narada. The company also included his “Cathedral Bells: Homenaje a Ruby” on its newest compilation, “Obsession.”

“I combined techniques I learned in classical and flamenco guitar,” he said. “As I began to appreciate the guitar more and more, I began to create music for it.”

Romero strives not only to entertain people, but also to educate them and “conquer” listeners who aren’t fans – yet.

“(The guitar) is one of the very few instruments that is as complete as a piano,” he said. “The possibility of the guitar, I don’t think it’s been discovered yet.”

Romero has stretched the ability of the stringed instrument with his distinctive flamenco sound, inspired by the Native American tradition.

“My music has Spanish roots, but it also has American, popular and classical roots,” he said. “It’s an international program for Spanish guitar.”

Romero has performed in Keystone since 1999 as part of the Snake River Chamber Festival. Snake River Chamber violinist Charles Wetherbee will fold in the lush, haunting tones of the violin with Romero and a collection of Romero’s friends.

The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Park Lane Pavilion. Tickets are $5 plus service fees and may be purchased by calling (888) 222-9306.

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