“The blues are about the “transcendence of the difficulty of living for all of us. The blues exist as sound AND feeling, and for me, truth and honesty are the blues artist’s greatest assets. I seek those qualities, above all, in my own music.”
Guggenheim and Fulbright award-winning guitarist, composer, and producer Cristian Amigo hears and plays contemporary blues with an open ear and mind. Inspired by funky sounds drawn from styles ranging from country to jazz blues, Chicago electric blues to r&b, and from London to Mali to NYC to Bolivia, Amigo draws inspiration and technique from classic artists and from many local Miami, LA, and NYC music heroes. On a typical Amigo playlist you will find  Charlie Patton and Jelly Roll Morton, Miles DavisThelonious Monk, Charles MingusAli Farka Toure, Freddie King, Santana, Prince, Baden Powell, Fela Kuti, Ornette Coleman, Curtis Mayfield, Eric Dolphy, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Manuelcha Prado, Astor Piazolla, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and classical music as well. Amigo’s goal since he began playing at thirteen was to “become the best musician and guitarist I could be. And in order to do that, my teachers and elders insisted that I Iisten to the best musicians in the world regardless of style. I still do.”
Amigo has developed his unique and personal blues guitar sound out of deep listening, study, and openness to music; and culled from four decades of professional playing, composing, and producing with hundreds of master musicians and artists from different artistic traditions.  His collaborators include Grammy, Pulitzer, Oscar, Emmy, and MacArthur genius winners (see name drop list). As a student of music and anthropology he earned a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from UCLA. He has studied with, among others, Kenny Burrell, Wadada Leo Smith, Cheik Tidiane Seck, Harihar Rao, Randy Wolff, and Bern Nix. He is currently composer-in-residence at INTAR Latino Theatre in New York City.
In 2017, Amigo was on a Fulbright Artist/Scholar in Cochabamba, Bolivia, teaching blues and jazz improvisation at the local university, a community music school, and a music school for orphans. While there, Amigo also became a visiting guitarist with Bolivia’s classic Tiquipaya Golden Blues Band and Blueselektrico. Invited to perform in the 2017 La Paz International Blues Festival, Amigo had to decline because of an injury and is back home in NYC healing and putting together a new group with singer/multi-instrumentalist/actor Kevin Mambo (who played Fela on Broadway and Floyd in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars). We want to have a blues band that functions like a jazz band. In this way we maximize the potential for improvisation also cover a huge range of stylistic influences from r&b to boogie to cumbia to reggae to afro-funk.”
For Amigo, the return to a focus on blues is a return to his beginnings as a musician in the late 1970s as a child from Latin America fascinated with the sounds of America and especially, American black music. “I study the original musical artists and deeply respect the the specific cultural contexts, but I seek the complement of a personal guitar sound and music built on my own experience as a American, Latino, and immigrant artist. I also seek to create,  a universal sound that reaches beyond stylistic walls. I think the blues and it’s descendants have been, and are still, that universal vehicle.”
” Guitarist-composer Cristian Amigo straddles the contemporary-classical, improv and rock worlds; no wonder he calls his Kingdom of Jones a “new music jam-band.” During any given performance, Messiaen grapples with Led Zeppelin while Perez Prado teaches Stravinsky to mambo.”
“ I kind of hate myself for digging this abrasive clatter [War is Good for Business] because it’s galaxies away from my Beatles- and Beethoven-forged sense of composition. But it rocks real hard against its orchestra of bloops and bleeps, and then breaks down to a mournful sound collage. A great theme for Halliburton’s symphony of opportunism.
“Cristian Amigo is an excellent creative artist, guitarist and composer whose works reflect his concern with tradition and innovation in creative music in America.”
– WADADA LEO SMITH (AACM composer/trumpeter)
grooves, neo-soul, 70s, ambient, dance mixes, head mixes, songs, ghosts, dub, remix, found, super-villains, parades, beats, hip hop, patois, reggae, polisi, environmental, pop, rock, kids, not-pop, blues guitar, real fuzzy and less fuzzy guitars, scratches, scrapes, beeps, buzzes, drones, pianos, noise, rhodes, telecaster, ear candy, new music, bees, feedback, atonality, old music, video, trombones, string quartet, dancers, chamber orchestra, players, gibson les paul, funk, fender amps, synths, moog, blue fish, trees, toy pianos, bowls, glass, voices, soundscapes, filters, birds, sturgeons and mermaids.

3 Responses to

  1. Pingback: Coney Island's mayor says: don't elect (or shoot) a Republican

  2. Margaret LeGrand McDonald says:

    Hey Christian! I know you do not remember me but we went to school at St. Aedan’s in New Haven CT. I remember crying to my mom because the horrible teacher put you in the coat closet for a very long time. I googled you and I am happy to see you are doing so well. Glad we both survived our Catholic school upbringing! Best to you and your family. Margaret LeGrand McDonald

    • OMG. I totally remember you. I hope all is well with you too. Visited St. Aedans a few years back…quite a different place these days. I am in touch with Oscar Okwu and Patrick MacCormack from our grade. I did survive, but am kind of anti-clerical these days, probably because of the closet. 🙂 I’m on FB is you would like to communicate that way. also, my email is Really nice to hear from you. The best recent news is that I have a one year old daughter Daisy (my first) and I am overwhelmed with love for her.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s