WASHINGTON - Guitarist and composer Ottmar Liebert helped to establish "new flamenco" music in the early '90s. Think flamenco guitar mixed with Latin, jazz, and even Middle Eastern influences.
Liebert and his band Luna Negra are scheduled to perform at the Birchmere Saturday, June 1.
For more than 20 years, Liebert's masterful guitar work has garnered several Grammy nominations and thousands of fans worldwide.
"Dune," Liebert's 25th studio album, finds the guitarist exploring new territory, including adding accordionist Char Rothschild into the mix.
"I had never been a huge fan of accordion," Liebert tells WTOP in an interview. He changed his mind after hearing raļ music -- a form of Algerian folk/pop.
Rothschild's accordion playing is prominent throughout "Dune," and adds a new texture to Liebert's signature hybrid guitar style.
"It's a great foil for the guitar on the album," Liebert says.
One of the standout tracks on the album, "Horse," employs an Arabic scale that Liebert discovered through an internet search.
Listen to the song below.
The melodies throughout the album embody a haunting, vocal-like quality.
"I kept thinking of crooners from the '40s and '50s, and the way they would sing," Liebert says.
He composed most of the melodies by singing along to the recordings in progress, then translating the results to his guitar.
Liebert also added electric guitar to the album's palate, to great effect.
"A lot of the music I used to love as a teenager was American funk music," he says. Guitar players, such as Wah Wah Watson, influenced the electric guitar parts on "Dune," according to Liebert.
The Birchmere's sit-down supper club atmosphere is perfect for this kind of music.
Tickets can be purchased online at the Birchmere's website.
Listen to 2012 live recordings of Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra below.
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