Ciro Hurtado plays acoustic guitar with a unique Latin style that combines what he calls “Andean Blues” (from his Peruvian birthplace) with elements of American jazz and rock’n’roll plus a variety of other international influences. Proof of his innovative guitar technique is available on his new solo-guitar album, Los Angeles Blues.
Hurtado was born and raised in Peru, but immigrated to the United States when he was 20. Since then he has released seven albums under his own name and seven with the band Huayucaltia. He also has played and recorded with the renowned guitar ensemble Strunz and Farah. Hurtado has spent the past several decades developing his own guitar style that incorporates Peruvian folk music motifs that originated in the Andes Mountains and that he grew up listening to and performing as a teenager.
Hurtado’s last album, Guitarrista, also was a solo acoustic guitar recording. It went to #2 on the international Zone Music Reporter Top 100 album airplay chart, stayed on the chart for six months, and was named one of the Top 5 best world music albums of the year by the radio programmers reporting to ZMR.
Los Angeles Blues and Guitarrista and some of Hurtado’s other music are available for purchase online at CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes and a variety of other sites that sell CDs or digital downloads. More information is available at cirohurtado.com.
Hurtado’s childhood was split between living in a small town on the family’s plantation in the Amazonia rain-forest and going to school in the large city of Lima. The plantation was so remote it was primarily accessible by small planes, and initially had no electricity or running water. When electricity was finally available for two hours a day, Ciro listened to music on the shortwave radio that picked up music from Brazil and Cuba as well as Russian broadcasts which expanded his awareness of many musical styles. “I had heard Andean folk music all my life, and members of my family played it on guitar, but as a child, the first time I heard The Beatles on the radio, I also became mesmerized by rock’n’roll.”
Ciro began playing guitar at age nine, and started studying it seriously when he was 13. He played acoustic guitar in traditional folk ensembles and electric guitar in rock groups. After moving to the United States, he studied at the prestigious Guitar Institute of Technology. Hurtado appeared on the Strunz and Farah Misterio album and toured for four years with this popular group including concerts at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Havana Classical Guitar Festival in Cuba, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, plus a return to his native country for a tour throughout Peru.
Hurtado’s own previous albums are In My Mind, Tales From Home, The Magic Hour, Guitarra, Echoes of the Andes and Guitarrista. The first five recordings mostly featured ensemble music with a few solo guitar tracks. After the release of Guitarrista, he toured extensively by himself with a show called “One Guitar, Many Stories” that paired his compositions with stories to illustrate the cultural and social contexts behind the music. Hurtado also is a founding member and currently the musical director of Huayucaltia (pronounced why-you-call-tea-ah) that has group members from Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and the United States (“In this group I have gotten the chance to explore virtually every kind of Latin rhythm.”). He has appeared on and co-produced their albums -- Despertar, Caminos, Horizontes, Amazonas, Origenes, Destinos and El Tiempo. During the past decade the group performed “Misa Criolla” by Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez at the Hollywood Bowl to critical acclaim, and performed three times with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The last performance was a piece specifically written for the band and chorale by renowned composer Gabriela Lena Frank.
Hurtado was awarded the prestigious Durfee Master Musician Fellowship. “The highlight of that experience was playing with and collaborating with musicians from Africa, Japan, Iran, Ireland and Vietnam. I felt like we were creating universal music.” In addition, Hurtado has produced and recorded albums for Michele Greene, Conjunto Jardin, Rosalia Leon and numerous others. As a composer, Hurtado has scored and participated musically in various feature films and documentaries such as Ron Fricke’s classic film “Baraka,” “Dead Women in Lingerie,” “Max is Missing,” “Hope Street,” “Monsters,” “Peru: The Royal Tour” and “From Wharf Rats to Lord of the Docks.”