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Musician’s sound reflects global influences
by Cortney Maddock
Jul 15, 2010 | 540 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Photo/Joe Mozdzen - German-born guitarist Ottmar Liebert performs his worldly music Saturday at the Silver Legacy in Reno.
Courtesy Photo/Joe Mozdzen - German-born guitarist Ottmar Liebert performs his worldly music Saturday at the Silver Legacy in Reno.
Guitarist Ottmar Liebert could have become a photographer if not for a fateful trip that led him to focus on music.

Decades later, the guitarist has released multiple flamenco-themed albums, with the uniquely recorded and composed “Petals on the Path” arriving on June 15. Hitting the road to share his music with the world, Liebert and musical ensemble Luna Negra will perform together on Saturday at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino.

“I think looking back, I grew up mostly without TV and a telephone,” Liebert said of his upbringing in Cologne, Germany. “On the weekends, we would visit my grandparents who had a black-and-white TV and we would watch a show called ‘Beat-Club.’

“It was a very innovative show with a lot of musicians on it,” Liebert continued, explaining that the show, which ran from 1965 to 1972, was what sparked his interest in music.

Liebert admitted that in his early childhood he never believed music would become his career path, so asking his parents for a guitar seemed harmless.

“I knew my parents wouldn’t let me have an electric guitar, so I asked for an acoustic one,” Liebert said.

Liebert’s parents gave him the guitar when he was 11 years old, and from then on he practiced and took lessons. But as an adult, he believed he’d follow a different artistic path.

“I actually went to design school and wanted to be a photographer,” Liebert said. “When I was 19, I traveled Asia for a year and that’s when I decided I wanted to be a musician.”

The trip that prompted Liebert to pursue music was nothing more than a teenage quest for worldly knowledge at a time when travel was easier, he said.

“It was really a great experience,” Liebert said of this time traveling Asia and Europe. “I started meeting lots of people I would make music with and sometimes I would make music with people I could not communicate with. That ability to communicate something without language, without saying something to somebody, that’s why I like instrumental music.

“When you’re 19 and travel for a year and come home, your friends seem to be in a very different place,” Liebert continued. “I ended up just wanting to keep traveling. I met someone during my year in Asia who was from Boston and invited me to visit him.”

From Boston, Liebert moved to Sante Fe, N.M., which he now calls home and where he continues to create music. Liebert said creating music is no different from any other artistic medium, he approaches it like any artist who wants to communicate a vision.

“It’s really not that different than a painting,” Liebert said. “Talking about music is like architecture, someone once said. Like when you paint, it’s just something you get into. For me, instrumental music is about the moods you want to show.”

Taking a different approach to “Petals on the Path,” Liebert said the project was aimed at making something that was natural.

“It’s actually quite different because I think we were rebelling a little bit against the way digital music is recorded these days,” Liebert said about the new album was recorded with musicians Luna Negra. “We went back to the way music was recorded in the ‘60s and ‘70s. There was no copy and paste and no quick track.

“We made it in a really organic way,” Liebert added. “This album took four days. I am so pleased with it. I love the sound. I love the interplay between the musicians.”

Although the recording process might have been as stripped down as possible, Liebert said he worked hard to produce an album fans would love as well.

“It only took four days to record, but I spent about a month mixing it,” Liebert said. “There were only three elements: guitar, drum kit and the bass. Even though the recording went really fast, I took my time mixing it because I wanted it to be perfect.

“I was really pleased with the original recording,” Liebert added.

Ready to hit in the road, Liebert said his audiences can expect a show that will incorporate old and new material as well as some spontaneity.

“It’s a little surprising and different every time,” Liebert said of his shows. “It’s a trio and we play a lot of stuff from the new album and we play several of the older tunes. I think people will enjoy the interplay between the three of us. It’s quite enjoyable.”

Liebert will perform with Luna Negra at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $35 and $50 and can be purchased by visiting

For more information about Liebert, visit

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