Apr 12, 2010

Roni Benise

Rarely is an artist capable of touching the hearts and souls of people of all ages, cultures, and diverse musical backgrounds as RONI BENISE. Armed with his Spanish guitar, an amazing world class band of musicians, and elaborately choreographed dancers, NIGHTS OF FIRE! captures world music at its best, with a show that appeals to the hearts and souls of people of all ages, cultures and musical backgrounds. 

Audiences thrill to his unforgettable concerts that unite his passionate music with elaborately choreographed stage shows. With his “NIGHTS OF FIRE” special airing nationwide on PBS and a U.S. tour launching in April, 2006 marks the year he unveils his electrifying show to the country.

Just as his fiery melodies and high-energy rhythms weave a stunning tapestry of emotions, RONI has always charted his own distinctive path. Since the age of eleven (when he received his first guitar) he practiced relentlessly, completely self-taught, mastering a variety of different styles that were eventually to become his own unique sound. Though unable to read a single note, he began composing original works with powerfully emotional arrangements that are both wild and refined, producing a sound that is as edgy and exotic as it is romantic and sensual. “I’m always inspired by places I’ve traveled,” says BENISE, “so I’ll try to capture the essence and beauty of the different places in my melodies. It’s truly like painting on air--creating colors and lush soundscapes that take people (and me) away to a safe place with no prejudice and no boundaries.”

And so began his American success story. 

Leaving his family and friends to move 1500 hundred miles away from home to Los Angeles with nothing more than his guitar, he held in his heart the encouragement from his parents to “work hard and have Faith!” 

After being turned down by almost every club in Los Angeles, BENISE started performing on the streets. It was not uncommon for BENISE to put on over 200 shows a year, sometimes playing 2-3 events in a single day. Tourists from around the world and native Angelinos alike took to RONI like the “Pied Piper” of Spanish guitar. From there, the path of his music took on a life of its own, effortlessly opening doors along the way to attract musicians, dancers and cirque performers, eventually creating the extended family that is now known simply as his namesake, “BENISE.” 

BENISE redefined the ordinary and started to promote his own concerts, selling out 2,000-seat theaters throughout Southern California. Exceeding expectations, the BENISE shows became inspiring experiences that celebrate “Love, Music, and Life!” A natural performer, BENISE holds his audiences captive as exotic drums, Gypsy violin, Flamenco dancers, Cirque performers, Brazilian Samba dancers, Brazilian Samba percussionists, African tribal drummers, Havana horns, and brilliant theatrical lighting work together to create an unforgettable experience.

In addition to organizing stunning live shows, BENISE took his career by the reins by producing, arranging and releasing six albums--plus one live DVD--on his own independent record label, Rosanegra Music. The recordings capture the expressive Spanish guitar arrangements that stem from influences around the world, carrying listeners to such culturally rich destinations as Spain, Africa, Brazil, the Mediterranean, Cuba, France and Egypt. “It’s almost like writing a soundtrack to a movie,” notes BENISE, “but a lot of my songs tell a story so they’re perfect for the stage.”

Marking BENISE’s most ambitious endeavor, the NIGHTS OF FIRE! DVD and CD present an unprecedented and spectacular journey of Spanish music and dance that raises the standards of live performance to a fresh new level of originality, cultural fusion and passion. BENISE says the show’s ambition is “to take people on a musical journey. I wanted to push the boundaries of traditional Flamenco/Spanish guitar while combining the elements of dance and theater. This show is a celebration of culture; the culmination of all the shows we’ve done over the last five years.”

As master of ceremonies, RONI takes his mesmerized audience on a romantic and exotic voyage through unbridled choreography and sounds that embrace all of the artist’s inspirations. 

Launching nationally on PBS, NIGHTS OF FIRE! blends RONI’s innovative vision with the creative minds of director Amy Tinkham (Paul McCartney, Dixie Chicks, Madonna, Britney Spears) and Brazilian born choreographer Alex Magno (Madonna, Ballet Hispanico, Academy Awards). Inspired by early reaction, BENISE reports that “the response from people all over the country (and world) has been overwhelming.” 

Throughout NIGHTS OF FIRE!, the traditions of music and dance are reinvented by 50 performers on a lavishly decorated stage. Backing BENISE as he visits Spanish Flamenco, Cuban Salsa and Brazilian Samba are such world-class musicians as violinists Karren Briggs (Yanni) and Jim Sitterly (John Tesh), percussionists Munyungo (Miles Davis, Sting, Stevie Wonder), Luis Conte (Phil Collins, James Taylor, Madonna) and Kalani (Yanni). In addition, a Havana Horn section accompanies RONI during his Cuban salsa number, while a 10-piece orchestra supports the bold and beautifully arranged ballads.

The 19 dancers in NIGHTS OF FIRE! were carefully handpicked from a global pool of some of the most brilliantly diverse talent to be found. Traditional Flamenco dancers, De La Guarda performers, Broadway performers, and soloists previously featured with the likes of Madonna, Gloria Estefan, and Ricky Martin, have all joined forces to make up RONI’s female dancers, The Gitanas. Breathtaking couture fashion and innovative staging and choreography give Spanish dance a fresh and luminous makeover.

“This is a great show for the whole family; I really think we have something for everyone,” comments BENISE. “I hope people will be inspired, by our story, by the music, by the production and have the passion to follow their own dreams.” Looking ahead to future tour dates, BENISE adds, “I can’t wait to travel to new cities, meet new people, and play every night--it’s what I live for.”

BENISE’s NIGHTS OF FIRE! is an inspiring family experience that celebrates “Music, Love, and Life.