|Luis Alfredo's love for music began very early in his childhood. He used to spend hours playing his parent's vinyl records. His dad worked at a local TV/Radio station in Puerto Rico and he used to bring home records of all genres. One vinyl in particular "Aquellos Ojos Verdes" with "Violines de Pego" was his favorite. He used to pretend to be a musician or director in a big hall. At the age of 10, his mom bought Luis an old classical guitar from his aunt. Luis began basic guitar classes at a local academy where he learned basic chords, rythms, and traditional music from Puerto Rico and Latin America. He also started learning Cuatro guitar and electric guitar soon after - Cuatro is a mandolin like instrument autochthonous of Puerto Rico. He spent many hours practicing these instruments. He became a fan of "musica jibara" (Puerto Rican country music) and American '80s rock/heavy metal.
It was not long before Luis and several of his friends started forming a garage band. In high school, Luis became the lead Cuatro player for the school's Award-Winning folkloric music and dance group. As if Luis was not busy enough, he was also taking guitar and music theory night classes at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. He had the honor to take one-to-one classes with composer and classical guitarist Luis Enrique Julia
. Maestro Julia saw a lot of talent in young Luis, and started teaching him advanced classical guitar pieces like "Recuerdos de la Alhambra", "Capricho Arabe", "Una Limosna Por el Amor de Dios". The maestro had high hopes for Luis to attend the Conservatory after high school. However, Luis moved to Orlando, Florida the summer after high school graduation in 1989.
In Orlando Florida, it did not take long for Luis to meet new friends and other young musicians. Even with Luis' limited english vocabulary, he became friends with an american rock drummer, and they started having jamming sesions. He also started playing guitar at the local Catholic church; and became one of the musicians in the Sunday Mass for about four years. He got his first paid gig at the Central Florida Fair Grounds with a short-lived Latin/Guaracha band named "Caña Brava". In 1990, Luis started attending Seminole Community College. Even though his main goal was to become an Engineer, he took many music courses including Classical Guitar with professor Michael Petrovich
, Piano, Music Theory, and Jazz Ensemble. In 1991, Luis, with other three students, started the Latin American musical group "Sol Latino". This was the beginning of a long-lasting friendship. Because of "Sol Latino" exotic and ethnic sound, they started performing at local high schools, colleges, and international festivals. Luis eventually transferred to the University of Central Florida with the goals of completing a Computer Science degree and a minor in Music. He started taking classical guitar courses under professor Eric Lesko. Between 1994-1997, Luis and Sol Latino were playing gigs regularly. Besides the band, Luis was also playing solo classical guitar at weddings, banquets, and other private events. For several years, Sol Latino played on weekends at a local Mexican Restaurant; and at several Disney World resorts. Eventually, Disney try to hired Sol Latino for a full-time job to play near the Epcot Center Mexican Pavilion. Since everyone in the group were also full-time students at UCF, they turned down Disney's offer. In 1996, Luis completed his Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. Due to time, money, and pressure from parents to graduate, he stopped music courses and did not complete his Music minor.
After graduation from UCF, Luis started working as a Software Engineer for a local software company. However, that did not stop Luis love of music. On nights and weekends, Luis continued to play anytime he had a chance. In 2006, for the first time, Luis got an interest in teaching guitar - thank to an old friend and guitar teacher Brian Hayes. He got a night job teaching music at a children's music academy. Sadly the academy went out of business just a year after. During most of Luis' musician career, music was mostly a hobby - never intended as a second income. However in 2007, things changed when Luis' daughter was born. Because of birth complication, Luis' wife, an experienced Registered Nurse (RN), had to stop working and stay home with the baby. Luis decided to start booking "Sol Latino" more often to make some additional income. However, he soon realized that booking a musical group of 4-5 musicians was very hard under bad economic times. After seeing the success of several local solo "one-man-band" musicians, Luis decided to put great investment and time into this route. Luis started practicing and working very hard to put together his own solo music repertoire. He started taking private flamenco guitar lessons with world renowned flamenco guitarist Juan Serrano
. He became friends and started learning from other local solo guitarist like Leo Lopez, Mark E, Omar Miguel, and old guitar teacher Michael Petrovich. The jobs and opportunities as a solo "one-man-band" guitarist (specially Flamenco Classical, Smooth Jazz, and Latin), are great. Therefore Luis' first solo gigs were hand-me-downs from other solo guitarist. Eventually, because of the internet and available video and audio software tools, Luis did his own recordings, videos, and web advertisement from home. Luis was so exceeded when his YouTube.com videos were watch by people all over the world. This just added more momentum to Luis' music career.
As Luis repertoire, versatility and popularity increased, so the visibility and opportunities for playing with other musicians. For about four months, Luis played on weekends with Leo Lopez at Corona Cigar in Lake Mary, Florida. Soon after leaving Corona Cigar, Luis started playing also on weekends at Ceviche Restaurant in downtown Orlando where he was part of a Flamenco Show with dancers. Eventually, Luis left Ceviche's flamenco group and got his own solo gig at Mi Tomatina Paella Bar Restaurant and El Bodegon Tapas and Wine Restaurant - both located in Winter Park, Florida. During all this, Luis continued getting better, more popularity, and therefore getting more work. To be continued...
Presently, Luis continues to play every Friday and Saturday at El Bodegon Tapas and Wine Restaurant , and every Wednesday and Thursday at Mi Tomatina Paella Bar Restaurant. Additionally, He stills performs in weddings, banquets, corporate events, and other venues all around the Central Florida area. As if his was not busy with his solo guitar career, He is also working on various projects with Flamenco dancers Ernesto and Jenny Caballero, flutist Humberto Velez, and percussionist and Armando Cabrera. Adding all that, Luis dedicates many hours practicing and learning new styles. He continues to take private flamenco guitar lessons when he has a chance. He continues to work as a Software Engineer for the US Naval Air Warefare Center Training System Division (NAWCTSD) in Orlando. Luis favority quotation: "Live each day as if it were your last, but learn each day as if you'll live forever."