Romero conquers Keystone |

Romero conquers Keystone

Kimberly Nicoletti

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 soul 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, captivating fans with the lyricism of his heartfelt “Lagrimas para Mi Hermano,” written in memory of his late brother, and the driving rhythm of his rumbas.

“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. Jazz guitarist Wayne Leslie Johnson and Latin percussionist Carlos Guzman round out Romero’s sound, and Charles Wetherbee folds in the lush, haunting tones of the violin.

“(Romero) plays a real mix of classical guitar and flamenco, then Charlie chimes in with him on the violin, and there’s no telling what they’ll play,” said Kikken Miller, Snake River Chamber Festival organizer.

The free concert begins at 6:30 p.m. today at the Park Lane Pavilion. For more information, call (970) 496-4FUN.

Event: Snake River Chamber Players

When: 5:45 p.m. concert Sunday, August 18

Where: Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church, Dillon

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