Sonido Alegre’s exotic flamenco guitar melodies spiced with Gypsy music, Latin rhythms and mystical Middle Eastern sounds evoke images of faraway lands ... and dreamlike, nearly forgotten memories.
The Ashland-based band — guitarist Charles Guy, violinist Linda Powers, drummer David Bolen, percussionist Theresa McCoy and bassist Jeff Addicott — has cast its musical spell on audiences for several years at wineries all over the Rogue Valley.
Sonido Alegre will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 3, in the Sjolund Auditorium at North Medford High School, 1900 N. Keene Way Drive, Medford. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at jcconcerts.org, at Piano Studios, 2580 Crater Lake Highway, or at the door. See jcconcerts.or or sonidoalegre.com or call 541-772-1384.
The show was set up under the auspices of JC Concerts, a nonprofit that has organized concerts in Jackson County for 75 years.
Guy and Powers have performed together — first as a duo — for five years. McCoy joined them about three years ago, which is right around the time the group took the name Sonido Alegre. Addicott and another bassist, Donnie Yance, will perform throughout the summer with the band.
Guy played in local dance bands for many years, but about 10 years ago, while in the Riviera Nayarit in Mexico, he heard a band performing Spanish flamenco music with nylon-string guitar and making a sound similar to that of the Gipsy Kings.
“I fell in love with the sound, got a nylon-string guitar and started pursuing that style of music,” he says. “We think of our music as Spanish flavored, flamenco flair music.”
Powers played violin in Gypsy swing bands that sounded similar to Django Reinhardt music, Guy says.
“So Linda brought nuevo flamenco with a Gypsy swing and that blended well with what I was already doing,” he says.
McCoy is principal percussionist in the Rogue Valley Symphony, and performs with Opus 3 and other jazz trios, along with various musical groups around the valley.
Addicott also plays in several different jazz groups, including Opus Three. The other member of that trio is David Scoggin.
Bolen plays with the Rogue Suspects dance band and Jeff K & OverTones, who perform mostly listening music.
“Linda and I play only with Sonido Alegre,” Guy says. “We do original material — music and lyrics that I have written,” Guy says. “It’s music with a lot of different influences from all over the world — Latin, Spanish, flamenco and, of course, Gypsy.”
About 1,500 years ago, Gypsies, who are more accurately called the Roma people, left the Indian subcontinent and moved through the Near East, Middle East, North Africa and Europe, Guy says.
On those journeys, they incorporated the music of the regions with the music they originally played in India.
“So when you hear Gypsy-influenced music, you sometimes hear the sounds that originated in one of the far eastern regions,” he says.
Sonido Alegre means joyful sound in Spanish, and Guy emphasizes that the members of his band always aim to make spirited music that makes the people feel happy.
“We like to think of this music as something that transports people to Spain or Mexico and other exotic places like Brazil, the Mediterranean Riviera, or the Middle East,” he adds.
The band released a self-titled CD a few years ago and is now in the early stages of putting together a second album.
“Most people that have heard us think of us as a duo or a trio,” Guy says. “Now that we have five people, it’s a bigger sound, and we do have some new songs and new arrangements. Probably 70 percent of our music is strictly instrumental and the rest is songs with lyrics, with me on lead vocals and Linda on harmonies.”
“We’re all excited about this show and hope this is the beginning of a new phase of our performances,” he adds. “We’re planning to make a video of our concert at Sjolund Auditorium and put it on our website along with new recordings of our music, and we are scheduled to perform at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Green Show in Ashland on Oct. 3. That will increase the number of people who recognize our name.”
Once the website contains the video and recordings, he says, the band plans to reach out to larger concert venues in Portland and beyond.
“It’s important that people who book concerts can see and hear what we do at our shows,” Guy says. “We perform lively, complex music, an
d most of it has movements in which the tune changes as it progresses. We do original material that allows each musician to bring their own creative spirit forth, and we think capturing that on a video will open new doors for us.”