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Mixed Company is written by Saint Paul Sunday staff, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the classical music they love. We welcome your online comments.

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August 10, 2005

Royal Family

Our programs with the great Pepe Romero (you can hear the most recent one here) are true high points of my time with Saint Paul Sunday. Pepe’s not just an absolute master of the guitar and its illustrious Spanish tradition—he's also a delightful human being. There seems to be little separation among his personal and artistic and ancestral selves—they all feel grounded in the same source, and each adds its own magic to the spell cast by his playing.

Pepe is the first to acknowledge his debt to the tradition he’s devoted his life to realizing, particularly as it was embodied by his own father, Celedonio Romero. And at one point during his last session with us, he said, “You know, I have this family…”

We did know, of course, and this week’s program is how we got to meet three of them: another of Celedonio’s sons, Celin, and two of his grandsons, Lito and Celino—all of whom play the guitar masterfully.

Traditions are often referred to as “living,” but it was amazing to experience, close up, what that actually means as these four fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, and sons passed Celedonio’s “Zapateado” and “Noche en Malaga” back and forth among themselves in the close circle of a quartet.

Please let us know of any family music making of your own...

Posted by Vaughn Ormseth at August 10, 2005 10:08 AM



Your program [with Jean-Yves Thibaudet] raises—at least at its edges—the relationship between “classical” music and jazz, and touches briefly on some of the interrelationships. It’s a topic that’s rarely discussed on either side of the aisle-—borne, I think, by the ignorance that mutual isolation creates. To wit: there are very few musicians who play both art forms, and fewer still those that do it well (Wynton Marsalis and Keith Jarrett come to mind). Also, there are few musical scholars and critics who understand both. The NY Times, for example, has critics who cover classical music, but has no jazz critic. They delegate this job to their “popular” music critic Jon Pareles.

Worse, most discussions I’ve read are facile comparisons weighing in on which is the superior art form, or what debt jazz owes—-as its bastard child—-to classical for its birth.

In short, each medium has a different intent. Much of classical music is based on melody and harmonic structure. Jazz is based on rhythm and melody (in that order). Comparing the two is like comparing Renaissance painting to 20th century painting: da Vinci was using his medium in a far different way than Jackson Pollock.

You’ve made a great first step with this program. Perhaps you could invite Jarrett or Marsalis to the studio to delve into this divide in greater detail, and help bridge the gap.

John Niesyn
Fairfield, CT

By John Niesyn at July 31, 2005 11:07 PM


Bravo, los Romeros

By russ barnett at August 14, 2005 12:00 PM


We loved the Romeros! Please invite them back often.

By Betty Howell at August 14, 2005 1:11 PM


The Romeros were wonderful. The show was filled with joy, and proved a great tribute to this great family's love of music. Bring them back!

By Jeffrey Tubbs at August 14, 2005 1:18 PM


The Romeros were wonderful. The show was filled with joy, and proved a great tribute to this great family's love of music. Bring them back!

By Jeffrey Tubbs at August 14, 2005 1:18 PM


What a thrilling concert. Thank you for the Romeros,they are wonderful.
Will it be possible to purchase the recording of this mornings broadcast??

By Ruth & Alejandro Herrera at August 14, 2005 1:45 PM


The Romeros were exceptional. What a joy to hear!When will they be in San Antonio? I'll buy my tickets now.Great show.

By Oak DeBerg at August 14, 2005 5:07 PM


Wonderful program! This was a great surprise, as I was simply channel-surfing the FM this afternoon when your program come on. I've been a Romero Quartet "fan" for decades, and their artistry never ceases to be amazing.

By David Norton at August 14, 2005 5:14 PM


Marvelous Program with los Romeros.
Salt Lake City

By Larry Walker at August 14, 2005 5:18 PM


This was my first exposure to the Romeros and I was very impressed. The music and conversation was very refreshing. I hope to hear them again.

By Bill Ritenour at August 14, 2005 8:03 PM


I too would like to have a CD of today's show with the Romeros. I heard only a part of it, while alone in a car, and was very sorry that my wife wasn't there to hear it with me. We recently lived in Andalucia for four years, studying flamenco, and she'd have enjoyed a lot of the conversation. Please let me know if a CD of the show becomes available! Thanks.

By Howard Runyon at August 14, 2005 10:37 PM


What terrific comments! To all of you who asked about purchasing a CD of the show, unfortunately our contract with the artists doesn't allow us to sell or send out any copies of the show, but you can always listen online from our website. To all of you who said you wanted more Romero, we're working on it...

I am hard-pressed to think of any other family that has been so talented across generations. The grandfather of this family, Celedonio Romero, was an outstanding composer and guitarist, Pepe and Celin are two of the best guitarists in the world and their sons are exceptional as well. Do you know of another family tradition as strong?

By Suzanne Schaffer at August 15, 2005 9:30 AM


On my way to play a gig in Columbus, Saint Paul Sunday came on the radio. Even though I'm a drummer in a college rock band, I always listen to Saint Paul Sunday. And this was the best show I've heard. Not to say any of the others are bad, because they all all great! This was the first time I had heard of the Romeros and I plan on getting all their records. Thanks for all the great music and for all the places it can take you!!!

By D Copper at August 15, 2005 9:39 AM


Fantastic program!! I listened yesterday and have listened to the Romero's Saint Paul Sunday broadcast on the web all afternoon..I lost track of the time. Their music is so wonderful! Please have them back again and often!!

By Rosann at August 15, 2005 5:19 PM


I remember your show with Pepe Romero a year or so ago (Songs My Father Taught Me) as one of your best: not just the fabulous musical performance, but warm discussions about his father. Sunday's show with Los Romeros was equally memorable. I'm sad that their recordings seem to be in such limted supply (4 to 6 weeks maybe for some retailers); they are extraordinary talents.

By Jim Thiltgen at August 16, 2005 2:01 PM


re the query on other music-making families (and this has to do again with the classical guitar): The Brazilian guitar duo Sergio and Odair Assad, at least one of whom composes, and their sister Badi Assad—a remarkable guitarist who's given to outside-the-box uses of the guitar and of her voice. It might be fun to hear them on the show.

By Howard Runyon at January 20, 2006 8:43 AM