CHICAGO: a city of House Concerts, Torres' guitars and The Wieners Circle's insults (LOL)

I spent two wonderful days in Chicago, last week (February 19-21, 2016) and it was an unforgettable experience!

My great friend Brian Adams (no, not the one who sings Summer 69), one of the campers at the Steve Howe’s Guitar Cross Style in Big Indian (NY, August 2013), hosted me for a couple of House Concerts. Everything went perfect: great people, new friends, new connections and…great music, of course!


Flavio Sala in one of the House Concerts in Chicago, February 19-21, 2016.

I decided to play two different programs, one for the Friday and one for the Saturday. 

Here it is the list of the compositions I played: 

Rey Alfonso X: Cantigas de Santa Maria 
Johann Sebastian Bach: Preludio Cello Suite nr. 1 (my transcription)
Fernando Sor: Variations op. 9 on a Mozart’s Theme
Enrique Granados: La Maja de Goya
Agustin Barrios: Julia Florida
Agustin Barrios: Sueno en la floresta (Dream in the forest)
Frederick Chopin: Nocturno op. 2 nr. 9
Miguel Llobet: Three Catalan Songs
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Tarantella
Carlo Domeniconi: Koyunbaba op. 19
Ortolani: Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna
Lou Handman: Are you lonesome tonight?
Antonio Lauro: Natalia
Antonio Carrillo: Como llora una Estrella
Alfonso Montes: Preludio de adios
Ignacio Figueredo: Los Caujaritos
Eric Clapton: Tears in heaven
Carlos Santana: Europa
Gerardo Nunez: Vals Flamenco

I closed both concerts playing Brian’s favorite tune: Alma Llanera by Pedro Gutierrez. I love it too, the most famous song of Venezuela, that I recorded on my album “Mi Alma Llanera – Music from Venezuela” seven years ago.

I believe it’s a program that gives me chance to show all the guitar’s beauty, from classical to pop, flamenco, Latin and soundtracks. People cried. And they loved the width of my repertoire and the intimate connection we could have during the concerts, with questions after every piece. Everybody was so curious to ask me about my life, my career, my vision of being an artist today, my guitar Inna, made by the great Camillo Perrella (chitebbiv :) and I felt so happy to answer!

Guitar is such an instruments full of fascinating stories and people. 

And writing about fascinating stuff, my friend Brian introduced me to Mr. Richard Bruné, an accomplished guitar maker, flamenco guitarist and his son Marshall Bruné, who is following his father’s passion, very kind people. Mr. Bruné owns the MOST beautiful collection of fine Spanish Guitars in the entire world I’ve ever seen in my life! 

It took just a few seconds after entered his workshop, Brian, our friend Bob (who came from Connecticut just for my concert! Bob, I love you! Thank you!) and I understood the precise level of the place: pictures of the greatest guitarists of all times were on the walls: Andres SegoviaPaco de Lucia, Julian Bream, Abel Carlevaro, Sabicas, etc…with their signatures on top!

Flavio Sala playing a Richard Bruné guitar.

My friend, Brian Adams, with Richard Buné.


I brought my guitar, I wanted him to see this amazing instrument made by my best friend Camillo Perrella. They loved it! But I also wanted to try one of his instruments. And he put in my arms a guitar he made in 1993. Very sweet guitar, easy to play. I was in the mood of music from Spain, so I played Mallorca by Isaac Albeniz.

Then the shock. 

The 2nd instrument Mr. Bruné puts in my arms is a guitar made by Antonio De Torres in 1888, the same year he made the guitar owned by the greatest Francisco Tarrega (1952 – 1909), the father of the Spanish Guitar School, the one who wrote the wonderful piece called Recuerdos de la Alhambra. This is a priceless instrument and I couldn’t believe my eyes! And ears! 

Flavio Sala playing an Antonio De Torres's guitar made in 1888. Courtesy of Richard Bruné.


And then other instruments made by Santos Hernandez, Marcelo Barbero, Domingo Esteso (Ramon Montoya’s guitar!!! Unbelievable!!!), Manuel Ramirez (1913). I could really spend weeks in that place!!! I played a little bit of Flamenco on authentic precious instruments from the best Flamenco guitar makers from Spain!!! 

Thank you, Richard, it was a gift I will never forget! 

Then he gave me a beautiful edition of “A Collection Of Fine Spanish Guitars from Torres to the present”, with a dedication: “Para el gran artista Flavio Sala, con carino, Richard Bruné”. 

Richard Bruné playing my Camillo Perrella guitar.

Flavio Sala with Richard Bruné and his son, Marshall Bruné. Chicago, Feb 20, 2016.

I am sure we will meet again soon. 

I feel so lucky: music brings me to places that I would have never visited nor discovered. 

Thank you, Brian and Gemma, for having done this for me!


PS: Have you ever gone to The Wieners Circle's??? No??? Well, you must! The Weiner’s Circle is Chicago’s legendary hot dog joint that is famous for abusing their customers. People line up to get in the place, if only to watch the craziness.
 We went to eat the most famous hot dog in the area and the first words the girl employee told me were: "GO SHUT THE FUCKING DOOR, GOD DAMN IT!". Chicago is full of different surprises! LOL We couldn't stop laughing!

Thank you Robert Stones for the pictures.


Leave a comment

Add comment