WEB OF TRADITIONS: GUITARIST FORMED LOCAL GROUP TO EXPLORE A MYRIAD OF STYLES
Career and family: It is possible to have both, but it takes work. Guitarist Beau Bledsoe is a peripatetic soul by nature, and over the years he has explored the roots of music he loves through travels to Seville (flamenco), Lisbon (fado), Buenos Aires (tango), Istanbul (Middle Eastern styles), and Mexico. More recently he has delved into the confluence of styles that pervades Texas-Mexican conjunto music, and the Country music that surrounded his early years in Little Rock, Arkansas.
But Beau and his wife, Zhanna, are now raising two young children, so things had to change. Long known locally for his central role in such groups as Tango Lorca, Bach Aria Soloists, and Alaturka, six years ago Beau founded Ensemble Ibérica, the name of which says much about Beau’s own lifelong fascination with the traditional Spanish guitar and its origins.
This December the group presents two programs: Siento y Vivo with flamenco dancer Melinda Hedgecorth (December 8th at Polsky Theatre) and Cruzando featuring Bolivian-born Amado Espinoza performing music of Iberia and the New World (December 20th at St. Paul’s
“My activities were sort of splintered around a lot of different things,”
Beau said recently. “One of the reasons I started Ensemble Ibérica is that I wanted to be around here more.” He does indeed love being at home these days: Lately he finds himself exploring Country music by singing the kids to sleep with the songs his grandmother used to sing.
Another reason Ensemble Ibérica has become central for Beau is that much of the music he loves is inherent to, and has radiated out from, the
Iberian Peninsula: not just Latin America with its indigenous mixtures, but also Moorish Spain and its Middle Eastern influences. “For me it was sort of the first ‘world wide web, ” Beau said, with a laugh, of the ship-lines that took Iberian culture throughout vast stretches of the globe during periods of colonization.
Photos by Jeff Evrard