Twanguero hits the road ahead of European tour
Renowned guitarist Diego Garcia, aka Twanguero, will soon return to his native Spain to begin a European tour and present new material from his soon-to-be-released album, which he recorded in the wilds of Costa Rica.
He recently performed at the Hotel Cafe and wowed fans with his original blend of Spanish classical guitar, flamenco, rock and blues — a mix some have called “rockabilly mambo.”
Classical guitar and classic rock
Garcia, born in the coastal city of Valencia, Spain, began studying classical guitar when he was 6 years old.
“My parents wanted me to study that Spanish tradition,” he explained. “But I loved Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. My favorite guitarist ever, Chet Atkins — who’s my idol. The great Ry Cooder. … John Jorgensen, who lives in Ventura.
“I wanted to play electric guitar. I developed a love for both electric and Spanish guitar at the same time. I never made the switch — I was combining both schools all the time.”
He moved to Madrid when he was 20, working with a variety of Spanish artists, and traveled to Mexico, Argentina and the United States as well, contributing to television and movie soundtracks.
In 2013, Garcia co-produced flamenco great Diego El Cigala’s “Romance de la Luna Tucumana,” picking up a Latin Grammy for his efforts. That cachet helped him to get an artist visa and move to California, where he eventually settled in 2016.
“It’s the right place to be if you want to make it in the music industry,” he said.
Return to nature
Considering himself something of a “lone wolf,” Garcia decided to spend the pandemic living on his boat in Marina del Rey. But city life, even in a charming harbor community, wasn’t feeding his creative soul.
“After a year, I grabbed my guitars and went to the jungles,” he says.
Garcia headed to Costa Rica, first on the Pacific side, in Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula. There he enjoyed “rehearsing with the birds,” but he also found the area to be “an extension of California — surfing, lots of Americans. I needed something more local.”
In Limon, on the Caribbean side, he was inspired by the Afro-Costa Rican culture. Here is where the songs that would become his latest album, “Carreteras Secundarias, Vol. 2,” began to take shape.
“I wanted to do music in nature, a forest,” Garcia says. “I did a record that is a tribute to the flora and fauna. … Trees, forest, guitar — completing a circle between these elements. I wanted to do a record to tell a story about the tree, the guitar maker, and the guy who plays the guitar.”
“We were recording raw in the middle of the jungle. It was hard — it was hot, humid, surrounded by mosquitos,” he continues. “But it was going to a place where you didn’t have any distractions … you didn’t have anything else to do but play guitar. And you get in shape, drink a lot of water, (reestablish a) relationship with nature.”
Now back in California, Garcia has made a home for himself in Santa Monica, using his boat in Marina del Rey as a studio space.
“It’s where I go to make some noise,” he said with a laugh.
Garcia will play a few engagements in Southern California, including the Ventura Music Festival on April 9, before heading to Europe. He’ll be joined by his trio — Moises Baqueiro on bass, Brian Griffin on drums and Danilo Torres on percussion — with some solo acoustic sets as well. Fans can expect an exciting melding of musical traditions, with both old and new material performed by a true master of the guitar in all its forms.
“I’m gonna play the new material, but I want to do the previous albums also,” Garcia explained. “It’s a trip. We will start with past works, telling the story of why I came up with these new ideas. This music traveled, suffered and lived intensely.”