Guitarist, vocalist, researcher and composer Beppe Gambetta, was born in Genova, Italy and weaves together American and European Roots music together in one voice. In his unique approach, Gambetta blends energetic grooves with passionate melodies, giving new life to sources from different times, periods and places. In addition, the original music he composes gives contemporary influences to traditional roots music. On Saturday, Sept. 25, this seasoned touring guitarist comes to Maine to perform at the historic Opera House in Boothbay Harbor.
In the 1980s Gambetta came to the U.S. and recorded a collection of duets with 12 of the most admired guitarists in the American bluegrass/folk genre including Norman Blake, Mike Marshall, Charles Sawtelle, John Jorgenson and David Grier. In 1989 Beppe Gambetta crossed the “Iron Curtain” to perform at the Porta Festival in Czeckoslovakia and sensed the revolutionary wave that in those days expressed itself also thorugh the music. In that occasion he started an important collaboration with American banjo master Tony Trischka.
In 1993 he met and collaborated with Gene Parsons, a member of the legendary folk-rock band, The Byrds. Parsons performed on Gambetta's first solo American CD “Good News From Home” (1995). In this album, Gambetta started to blend his love for American roots with elements of European tradition moving away from being known strictly as a hot bluegrass picker to create his own multi-national style.
In the late 1990s he launched a project to research the forgotten music of the Italian String Virtuosi of the turn-of-the-century. He focused on reviving the music and re-building the instruments of legendary Genovese harp-guitarist Pasquale Taraffo (1887-1937). This work led to the recording of two CDs “Serenata” (1997) and “Traversata” (2001) with classical mandolinist Carlo Aonzo and American mandolin icon David Grisman.
More recently, Gambetta has focused his work mainly on his solo career, touring constantly and naturally and seamlessly joining the shores of the two continents, Europe and America, creating in spite of the interposed ocean a musical fusion where American root music and Ligurian tradition, emigration songs and folk ballads, steel string guitars and vintage harp guitars not only co-exist but interact.
In April 2019 he was awarded with the title of “Genoa Ambassador To The World” by the Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci. “Beppe Gambetta has built countless bridges between Genoa and the Americas, combining the rich culture of his hometown with the beauty of the American roots and adding in his compositions contemporary influences to the traditions he mastered. He has been a true Ambassador of the Genovese culture in all his studies, productions and performances.”
Audiences are invited to meet this master musician and ambassador this fall. Advance discounted tickets are $25, available only by visiting or calling the Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Avenue: 207-633-5159. Regular tickets are $30 and available online at boothbayoperahouse.com. The concert is a 7:30 p.m., all seating is general admission. Audience members must show proof of vaccination, or have had a negative Covid test within 24 hours of the performance.