Ottmar Liebert

©2011 Mike Lane

Ottmar Liebert is one of the most successful instrumental artists of the modern era. His unique guitar style, known as nuevo flamenco, has earned him six grammy nominations and millions of album sales since the release of his first album, Nuevo Flamenco, in 1990. Yet despite 30 years of success, many people still don’t know his music. Hopefully, this article will help change that.

One of the pleasures you’ll have if you’re just discovering Ottmar at this stage of his career is the change to sample songs from across his life. You can really feel him change over time. His early work is faster, more melodic, sunnier, brighter.

Barcelona Nights, perhaps his most famous song, feels like dancing in the middle of the midday sun, or perhaps being in a boisterous club at 10 PM. The energy, the vibrancy, and the catchy repeated melody all feel very much like a young man’s song. It’s a city in full motion, it’s plunging into life with energy.

Santa Fe, another early song, starts like a lazy morning before maturing into a catchy chorus. The whole song feels like movement, like transitioning from walking to running, from standing to dancing. It’s a great tune.

Shadow, is far different and reflects not just an older man, but a calmer and wiser one. Every time I hear it it takes me to a far away sunset, to a world you can just feel. It’s just as well that he doesn’t sing on the song, since describing the emotions this song evokes is nearly impossible. This is probably my favorite Ottmar Liebert song.

Silence, No More Longing, begins slowly and builds towards a large climax with an electric guitar. With this song, as with Shadow, you can really feel the calming influence of Ottmar’s Zen Buddhism training.

One of the great things about Ottmar’s work is that it is simple enough to be a relaxing backdrop for study or work but it is also complex enough to truly enjoy on its own. The songs and melodies Ottmar has created with his guitar are truly stunning. If you’re just getting into his music, the retrospective Barcelona Nights: The Best of Ottmar Liebert Vol. 1 is a great way to start. I also particularly love his 2014 album, Dune. 

For more on Ottmar Liebert check out his official website, where you will find a biography, music, and behind the scenes content.

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