Overtones, Undertones and The Beauty of Harmonics: “Acuarel” by Rubén Reinaldo & Kely García

Ruben Reinaldo CD cover

They use space, air, sound waves and timing, all to perfection. Two guitars are all there is…but in its minimalism is great substance. From Spain come Rubén Reinaldo and Kely García in a fully collaborative effort, their new CD called “Acuarel.”

Each track shimmers, creating peace, ease and positive vibes. Their notes blend and bleed from one into the other so the listener cannot tell the two musicians apart. “Naturaleza Par” presents a joyful run up and down a hill before catching your breath with a fresh melody. The song is a sunny experience, as is “Jacobo” which is a smart and pretty ballad making a few shifts into the minor side for added dimension. “Beiramar Blues” briefly evokes the classic “Ipanema” before asserting its bluesy personality. Musical twin brothers here making some great tunes together.

How long have you been collaborating with Kely García and what’s your favorite part of working on music together?

(Rubén Reinaldo) We’ve been working together at the same school as teachers for six years, but we started playing as a duo two and a half years ago. My favorite thing about playing together is the great symbiosis achieved anytime we improvise, because we fit each other at a quite deep level. We can feel, in a reciprocal way, the interpretative purpose of each other. Sometimes, we can disagree about the direction a track was having and we could argue, but the moment we start playing everything goes right. We truly agree when we play, not when we speak.

Do you compose your music or is it largely unwritten- improv?

(Reinaldo) We compose a structure, melody, general arrangements and harmony, but afterwards we’ll develop everything without preconceptions until we can find a perfect point between intuition-creativity and a logical arrangement. Two different and quite important parts of our work, as important as the two brain hemispheres. Our secret is balance.

How did this concept come to you for “Acuarel”? What is the meaning of the title?

(Reinaldo) In Spanish, the word “acuarela” means to paint on paper or cardboard with watercolors. In this CD we wanted to relate water and painting through our guitars, as if it were a sound trip. Firstly, I just used the word for one track, removing the final vowel (a), trying to use this metaphor: temporary beauty with short duration. Later we both became convinced that this track really depicted what the CD fully expressed.

Talk about the production of this music- why did you choose to use the very sensitive equipment?

(Kely García) I found two challenges, the technical and the interpretative.

About the technical: doubtless it was “Naturaleza Par”. We reached a key point where it was necessary to find an overwhelming blending of the two guitars. Nothing better, having reached this point, than composing this track together. The intro in this particular song is like molecular graphism, a stream of notes that become a complex and careful performance, and this resumes at the beginning of the track where we each play our own part of the melody just enough for the two guitars to fit each other.

About the interpretative angle, doubtless it was “Manchica.” In the very beginning we conceived of the melody to be played in a quartet or quintet. We had to adapt it and also it had to introduce the CD to the listeners. This adaptation was made to be played by just two guitars which made us play it over and over.

(Reinaldo) We needed equipment which was able to capture all the acoustic details of our guitars, because there are a lot of sounds of great subtlety. We wanted to offer our public a sound experience quite special that was as or even more unique than a live performance. We tried to appear fresh and dynamic but with a variety of tones that are unachievable live, due to the vast number of conditions necessary to reach the level of acoustic excellence.

What track was the most challenging?

(García) “Coscovals.” This track was the most playful and fun because of its waltz rhythm combined with tango. We couldn’t help dancing in our chairs during the recording. It felt risky and laughable because of the surroundings which were full of high-sensitivity microphones that can capture any noise in the studio.

How do your guitars differ and what does that bring to the music?

(García) The resulting sound of both guitars was most satisfying. Initially we feared the different vintage guitars: a Gibson 165, wide box and big rate medium and bow frequency; and a Gibson 335 narrow box, big rate medium high. However, both guitars playing together achieved a perfect sound.

In spite of the different sounds, we noticed there are many moments when we cannot distinguish which guitar is playing.

What was the highlight of working on this project?

(García) It was when we saw the track “Aquarel” finished. Everything went smoothly, and we could see the process coming to an end. We coined the phrase “acuarelizar” to mean our special way of playing, since we talk to each other with total freedom.

I was completely surprised with the final result, specially at my age, and I found myself greatly pleased working with young talent.

Other comments?

(Reinaldo) I would like to acknowledge the public for their affection towards this CD which has been listened in places all around the world despite the pandemic. I was surprised by the support of NYC, especially since the city is going through this difficult situation. I’m so grateful to you, to all New Yorkers and also to all the American people who are suffering from this illness.

For more information, visit https://Rubénreinaldokelygarcia.bandcamp.com/releases.

Photos courtesy of and with permission of Rubén Reinaldo.
(c) Debbie Burke 2020

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