By Narrow Staff
The past four years have been a whirlwind of activity for guitarist Alberto Cebollero, a longtime local and St. Augustine High School graduate. After having lived nearly a decade in New York City, studying classical music and apprenticing in a woodwind workshop, he returned to his Florida roots, fell in love, and joined a band. Now with over 1400 live performances under his belt, Alberto is hoping next year will turn out to be even busier.
Over the past twelve months, Alberto has continued his work alongside Jeanetta Salyer as a mainstay of the St. Augustine-based band, RAMONA; while doing that, the longtime couple also created "Winehoused: the Amy Celebration," a 10 piece nationally touring homage to the music and style of the late Amy Winehouse. Having built two successful musical enterprises, Alberto now hopes to add a third endeavor: a solo career.
Starting in 2019, Alberto is taking on the challenge of playing instrumental music, both unaccompanied on guitar, or in small ensembles. “It’s different than either the improvisatory hip-hop of RAMONA, or the highly arranged theatrical stage production that is Winehoused,” Alberto told us. “I definitely want to do something more intimate.” Alberto’s first two evening performances at the Lightner Museum, February 4th and April 11th, should prove to be just that: intimate. Accompanied by local cellist Sam Shin, Alberto will be performing songs from 40’s jazz standards to interpretations of 80’s hits, like A-ha’s ‘Take On Me.’ “The Lightner Museum is one of my favorite places to play. The acoustics in the Rotunda, where the large swimming pool used to be, are very complimentary to the sound of acoustic guitar and cello.”
Alberto Cebollero will also be taking the stage with electric guitar at Prohibition Kitchen for 6pm dinner performances on March 11th and April 22nd, accompanied by Jacksonville-area trumpetist Robert Bidwell III. With such an uncommon pairing of instruments, Alberto concedes he has to straddle the line between what’s experimental and what’s entertaining. “Will it go over well in a place like PK? It remains to be seen, but I look forward to the challenge it presents both Robert and myself as instrumentalists,” Alberto admitted to us.
2019 will also have quite a bit of travel in store for Alberto. Winehoused has performances scheduled nationally, including at The Joy Theatre in New Orleans on June 8th, and Ramona has engagements internationally, including in the Bahamas. “I have to get used to traveling more, working more, and probably quitting sleep. But it’s worth it. Few things compare to the ecstasy of frenzied performance. Every night, I light myself on fire, and people come to watch me burn. I can’t explain it, but there’s nothing like it.”
And he has indeed been cooking behind Jeanetta Salyer for quite some time. But will audiences come see him without his powerhouse vocalist at his side? Can instrumental music thrive in the St. Augustine scene? We look forward to finding out. For Alberto’s upcoming instrumental performances or to contact him for booking directly, checkout www.AlbertoCebollero.com.