Friday, October 5, 2018

Madrid born guitarist brings music of Spain to San Diego


Jesus Soriano performs regularly at a popular tapas bistro in San Diego.
Longtime friend and fellow guitarist Fred Fisher designed this colorful poster.


HE STARTED performing when he was 15 years old, in his native Spain.  Many years  later, Jesus Soriano is entertaining appreciative audiences in southern California with elegant classical guitar techniques inspired by his affection for the Catalan tradition.
"I received my first guitar for Christmas," says the soft-spoken Soriano. "Two years later, I was on stage."
 Born and raised in Madrid, Soriano played in several rock bands as a teen-ager, and moonlighted as a folk musician in several “Tunas and Estudiantinas,” wearing traditional costumes and singing serenades.
HE FOUND flamenco appealing and crowd pleasing, for its spirited, rhythmical style. He was being paid by age 17 for sharing his talents.
"But besides flamenco, I pay special attention to old, traditional songs from different regions of Spain," says Soriano.
Soriano, far left, offers friends a beautiful paella on special occasions,
here served for a reunion among old pals, with salad, wine and bread.

He identifies with music and lyrics with strong social content, music born in Spain's streets and legendary tapas bars.  So how did a devoted Spaniard end up in San Diego?
"It was to be a short visit to get acquainted with my first wife's culture." Back in 1969, he met Melody, a UCLA foreign student. The two married in 1973. "I couldn't argue with her contention that it was time for me to learn her culture," he smiles, "since she had spent four years immersed in Spanish culture.  We came to San Diego for 'a couple of years' and it's now 45 years later."
Soriano is still learning the culture that has been his for a near half-century.
 AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN music both left their mark on his soul. "I love Leonard Cohen,
Two old friends Bruce Keller, left, and Soriano, recreate
their musical pose of  1975, at Costa Brava.
Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Peter, Paul and Mary, but I don’t sing those in public," he says.
Soriano, right, and friend Bruce
Keller, in 1975, photographed by
mutual friend Carlos Montero.
His Spanish influences include well known and legendary singers, songwriters and performers.
Patxi Andion, Paco Ibanez, Joaquin Sabina, Los Chichos and Los Chunguito.
But friends also know Soriano for two other less obvious talents: motorcycling and cooking.
A paella collaboration by accomplished amateur chef
Jesus Soriano and his longtime friend Carlos Montero.
This writer can attest that Soriano's paella parties are legendary, and he gets to his San Diego gigs aboard a motorcycle, which he rides at least twice a week from his hilltop home in Julian.
HIS SAN DIEGO gigs began in 1973, at places some of which are gone: El Cafe del Rey Moro, Espana, Al-Salam, La Gran Tapa, La Tavola and El Circo Barcelona. He spent many years at Cafe Sevilla, and has been at Costa Brava in Pacific Beach since it opened in 2003. Enjoy him on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 p.m.
The motorcycle passion involves logging a half-million miles.   His current ride is a 2004 Honda ST1300 with 167,000 miles.
   Soriano's three sons are Alonso and Marcos, who live in northern California with Melody, and Anthony, who lives with Soriano in Julian.
If you're planning a paella party, consider Soriano and his apropos music.
And a trip to Costa Brava any night is a good idea, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you'll have the bonus of Soriano's beautiful music.
New Orleans is celebrating its 300th birthday!

UP NEXT: While we're in a celebratory mood, consider that New Orleans turns 300 this year.  The city is celebrating through year's end with special concerts, parties, and tributes to the people who have made the city great, including musicians, statesmen and world renowned chefs. Remember to explore, learn, live and catch us Fridays for a new twist on travel, family, art, music and changing culture.


  1. Manhattan snowbirdsOctober 9, 2018 at 8:55 PM

    Wonderful musician, great story! We are Costa Brava regulars.

  2. La Jolla music loversOctober 9, 2018 at 9:01 PM

    Thanks for the heads up on the wonderful musician's regular gigs.

  3. Happy to see this magnificent virtuoso's praises sung. Spain's loss is truly our gain.