Captains’ Bar is one of those special places we always hope to stumble across when we’re visiting a new city. You know the kind I mean? The hidden gems that give you a real flavour for a place. The landmarks and beauty spots are fantastic of course. But it’s the local waterholes, eateries and personalities that elevate a trip into a cherished memory. Captains’ is definitely one of those places. A tiny, traditional, Scottish bar, tucked away just a few minutes walk from the famous Royal Mile. And Sergio Bueno, Spanish Guitarist and host of the weekly Tambo Sessions is without a doubt one of those personalities.
Sergio is still a fairly new face on the Edinburgh music scene. He moved here from his native Huelva just 2 years ago, after visiting the city for a friend’s wedding. I would say it’s amazing how much impact he’s had in the short time he’s been here. But when you hear him play – maybe it’s really not that surprising after all. Sergio is mostly known for his own beautiful compositions. But we’re going to tease you a little and make you wait a bit for one of those. First of all here he is, doing what Sessions hosts do, and jamming out an amazing version of Hotel California with Tambo drummer Alonso Marquez, and Sessions regular Ray.
Sergio Bueno’s own music, like the man himself, mirrors the tender warmth and understated complexities he brings to the Eagles’ favourite. It’s not the first time we’ve seen him play, but listening to him introduce his tunes, and interact with his audience, I’m always struck by how gentle and uncontrived this man is. There is no hint of ego as he warmly welcomes all and sundry to join in and play a tune. Praise of his playing triggers a recital of a list of great guitarists who have inspired him but who, he insists, are much better than he is. There is no false modesty here. He works hard at his craft and is grateful for the recognition he has been receiving since moving to Scotland. It is, he says, something he had to do to become a professional musician. In Huelva it was just not possible for him.
There is no mistaking Sergio’s sadness and frustration when he explains he could not have moved forward with his music in the same way if he had stayed at home. Much as he loves Edinburgh, and the many fellow musicians who have helped him and worked with him here, if he could have done this and stayed in Spain with his family there is no doubt that is where he would be. The love he feels for his family, and his desire to be with them is so strong I can almost reach out and touch it. He talks passionately about the support they and his friends, here and at home have given him. The strength this has given him and the determination to keep going. To never give up
Talking with Sergio I kind of imagine I can see his music as an extension of his character. The obstacles to be overcome. The determination and willpower to fuel the years of practice needed to reach his level of skill. The passion for his homes, the old one in Spain and the new, Northern city in Scotland. The friendship and partnerships that he clearly holds in the highest value. The inspirations for living he finds in nature and the simplest things. However he compares himself to those greats of Spanish guitar, it is clear to me that Sergio Bueno is a gifted, dedicated and unselfish performer. Pouring his entire self into his work with entrancing results.
Don’t just take my word for it. It seems to be a popular viewpoint given his numerous appearances at top Edinburgh music spots such as The Jazz Bar, Stramash, The Caves and the much loved Royal Oak. And lets not forget the night he played for the Spanish Consulate. Not to mention upcoming gigs at well known British Music Festivals like Eden and the Fleetwood Folk & Blues Weekend…Sergio is a busy guy. As well as a constant demand for solo gigs he’s played in a number of bands in his short time in Edinburgh, including Red Fox, Che Care and Tambo.
Tambo is a new trio comprising Sergio, his childhood friend Alonso and the luxuriant soprano saxophone of Michal Jesionowski. As well as their regular Wednesday Session at Captains’ the guys also play the first Sunday of every month at Edinburgh’s Basement Bar. I’m sure they and Sergio Bueno will be playing a lot of other places too. Somethings are just too good not to share.
I’ll leave you with Tambo playing one of Sergio’s earliest compositions – Trisquel. Just magnificent.