Ottmar Liebert is a German-born flamenco guitarist who released his first album at the beginning of the '90s. He specializes in nouveau flamenco, which blends flamenco with jazz rhythms and pop music structures, making the music accessible to a wide audience.
Ottmar Liebert has said that "flamenco is a music both romantic and dangerous; it is an attitude as much as it is a musical genre." The guitarist is renowned for harnessing the emotional fire and mournful tonalities of traditional flamenco music, updating it with the subtle rhythms of jazz, and making it widely accessible with the melodic song structures of pop. But even the cleverest formulas are worthless without the animating spark of genius - a quality for which there is no formula, only serendipity. Liebert, together with Luna Negra, provides that spark.
Liebert's incredible global success on a musical level often seems like a simple outgrowth of his cultural background and powerful wanderlust in his formative years. Born in Cologne, Germany, to a Chinese-German father and a Hungarian mother, he began playing guitar at 11 and traveled extensively through Europe and Asia, intent on fully absorbing each musical tradition he encountered. After pursuing his rock 'n' roll dreams first in his native Germany and then in Boston, he abandoned the frustrations of the East Coast and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
By 1989, he had founded the first incarnation of his band Luna Negra. Since then, he has released multiple successful albums, including Nouveau Flamenco (1990), Euphoria (1995), Rumba Collection (1998), Little Wing (2001), La Semana (2004), Up Close (2008), and his most recent release, Santa Fe (2011). With all these discs and numerous others, he has succeeded in bringing flamenco music to mainstream America with accessibility and sophistication.