Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Gourmet Guitarist

By Michael Henningsen

MARCH 8, 1999:  Popular myth holds that most professional musicians are barely able to dress themselves, much less create a savory meal. But for Italian-born Beppe Gambetta, cooking comes as naturally as guitar playing. Add to his six-album discography, slew of instructional manuals and regular freelance work for various music magazines a recently published cookbook titled Beppe Cooks! Recipes from the Homeland, and you've got a recipe for one monumentally talented guy who might someday make a good wife.

A native of Genoa, Italy, Gambetta began his career in a classical music orchestra for plectrum instruments. But as music from other genres--Celtic, American flatpicking, European folk and fingerstyle guitar--began to infiltrate his listening mind, the blossoming virtuoso turned his focus toward American traditional music, which has become the cornerstone of his unique style and overall approach to acoustic music.

Gambetta's perfect marriage of technique and feel affords his music a stunning lyrical quality. In many ways, his fluidity and complex voicings on the guitar served as a means of communication for the young guitarist when he came to America for the first time 10 years ago, unable to speak more than a few words of English. His ability to stir folk musics from all over the world into fanciful coalescence not only earned him widespread acclaim early in his career, but with it, a sense of community with other musicians and audiences.

Once Gambetta's formidable music machine got underway, it wasn't long before festival touring opened the doors to command performances as a solo artist and residencies at music centers and colleges all over the world. As if he weren't busy enough, Gambetta has also become one of the most sought after acoustic guitar workshop instructors in the United States and contributes regularly to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and other publications.

His recordings offer a multicultural tapestry of acoustic music and a glimpse of the broad range of music from which he molds his personal style. He does it with finesse and expertise, underscoring the fact that music, indeed, is the international language.

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