Guitarist Gino D’Auri died January 26 of cancer in Los Angeles (California).
D’Auri was born in Rome, grandson of a Gypsy and a promising classical guitarist until the day he was fascinated by flamenco. "I had been studying classical guitar and done some recitals. Nothing major, just the usual repertoire. Then I saw the movie Sombrero with José Greco, the famous flamenco dancer. It was about a bullfighter who danced flamenco, and I got completely traumatized by his dancing and the music of guitarist Gerónimo Villarino, who I later found out is one of the all-time greats. I went back and saw the movie seven or eight times, to listen to the music and try to repeat what I’d heard."
D’Auri was still in his teens when Sombrero inspired him to begin investigating flamenco music and its surrounding culture. After studying in Italy and Spain, he toured with several dance companies. In the 1960s he moved to Los Angeles in the United States. For many years he played regularly at Flamenco restaurants in the area.
In the 1990s he recorded two Flamenco-influenced new age CDs, Flamenco Mystico and Flamenco: Passion & Soul, for World Class, a division of new age label Hearts of Space Records. "These days, many people think that flamenco is about playing sixty thousand notes as quickly as possible," D’Auri said. "My flamenco is slower, very traditional and down to earth. I may use cello and percussion, but its done in a traditional way, without a lot of notes. For me the music is about feeling and improvisation. I like to take chances, the communication is better that way."