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Sound Check

I was polishing off a sizzling skillet of crocodile fajitas on the top floor of Bayside when I felt the floor begin to vibrate and heard strange plucking sounds.

At first I thought the Poltergeist-like scene was a result of the Tabasco-laden fajitas. However, after a glass of ice water and a good listen, I realized that guitarist Arturo Fuerte had taken the outdoor main stage below, by the water, and was playing some of his uniquely blended flamenco songs.

"It's not just flamenco," Fuerte explained to me in his thick Cuban accent a few days after the Valentine's night performance. "My music is really a mix of Afro-Cuban and Caribbean with rumba flamenco."

His 1995 debut CD, the nine-song instrumental Passion, sold 50,000 copies in South Florida and South America. His recently released twelve-song instrumental disc, Illusion, should do just as well if not better. It can be best summarized as an eccentric mix of Latin B-movie ballads and flamenco guitar compositions, with Fuerte once again displaying the romantic relationship he has with his guitar.

As a soloist for the past four years, Fuerte has toured South and Central America and is currently gearing up for another tour covering Mexico, Brazil, and Curaçao. Before he leaves you can catch Fuerte in Miami on Thursday at Lombardi's and on Saturday at Bayside Marketplace as part of their outdoor concert series.

If you're a big fan of Fuerte, mark your calendar: The Illusion CD release party will take place at Planet Hollywood in Coconut Grove on March 18.


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