Gerónimo Giménez: La Boda de Luís Alonso
Francisco Tárrega: Gran Jota
Celin & Pepe Romero
Isaac Albéniz: Granada
Federico Moreno Torroba: Estampas
Bailando un Fandango Charro
Fiesta en Pueblo
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Prelude No. 3
Pepe Romero: Fiesta en Cádiz
Celedenio Romero: Noche en Malaga (encore)
In concert at the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall in Boston, Jan. 24, 2009
Three generations of guitarists make up Los Romeros, now on its 50th-anniversary tour. (L-R: Celin, Pepe Celino and Lito Romero.)
Fifty years ago, The Beatles had yet to make a record, the big summer hit was Paul Anka's "Lonely Boy" and audiences in Southern California began to hear remarkable sounds from a family of guitarists who'd just arrived from Spain, called Los Romeros.
The father, Celedonio Romero, and his three sons — Celín, Pepe and Ángel — started performing as a guitar quartet around the Santa Barbara area. The Romeros quickly found a following, and before long, they toured the U.S., played Carnegie Hall, found themselves on The Ed Sullivan Show and landed a recording contract.
The many guitar quartets of today owe a debt to Los Romeros. In the late 1950s, when Celedonio first trotted his young sons on stage with him (Ángel was 12 when they began), there was no such thing as a guitar quartet in a concert hall. Four, or more, guitarists playing together was common only in Spain's Flamenco tradition.
Celedonio Romero also generated much of the repertoire for his new invention. At first, he arranged and wrote music for his quartet to play. Eventually, as the Romeros' reputation grew, composers such as the revered Joaquín Rodrigo and Federico Moreno Torroba wrote pieces especially for the group.
Over the years, several of the Romero sons launched successful solo careers, and as the family grew, so did the number of Romero guitarists. Celín's son Celino began playing with the group in 1990, and when papa Celedonio died in 1996, Ángel's son Lito, the youngest of the Romeros, joined the group.
In 2009, the quartet celebrates 50 years and three generations' worth of Los Romeros with a globe-trotting tour. This stop at the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall, in Boston, marks a welcome return. Forty-eight years ago, the group gave its very first East Coast concert at Jordan Hall. The group had been back to Boston on many occasions, but never to Jordan Hall, until this appearance on Jan. 24.