Pasión Gitana's Spanish Guitars incorporates the Gypsy guitars & vocals of Spain and the rhythms of Latin American and the Middle East. The style of music has many names. Rumba flamenca reflects the fusion of flamenco, a Spanish folk/artistic music tradition and rumba is from Afro-Cuban rhythms. This style of music was made popular by the Gipsy Kings in the 1980s. Since the 1990's Ruben Gonzalez, director of Pasión Gitana, developed a unique and dynamic style of guitar; which included a fusion of flamenco, rock and roll, R&B, and Cuban boleros.
Husband and wife duo, Ruben and Dounia, have been delighting audiences in southern California with Spanish guitars, vocals, and percussion.
Price Range: $500 and up
Gig Length: 120 - 360 minutes
Languages: English, Spanish
Ruben Gonzalez is the quintessential musician. Ruben plays spanish guitar, coronet, drums, bass, keyboards and sings in a gitano-esqe vocal style. This accomplished musician brings his years of experience and his understanding of the pieces of the musical puzzle. His uncompromising expectation of dynamic energy pushes the music forward. Ruben has the ability to make any song his own unique style and is the backbone of the band.
Ruben was born in Tijuana, Mexico. His father was an avid opera and classical music connoisseur. As a youngster, Ruben listened to the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi, and others. English and American rock was alive and well in Tijuana. In fact, during this time in Tijuana, there was a greater influence from rock & roll, then from other musical styles from other areas of Mexico. Famous bands that influenced Ruben included The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and 1950's "Oldies".
Growing up in the same musical crossroads of Tijuana that influenced many others like Carlos Santana, and Santana's mentor Javier Batis, Los Freddy's, Los Solitarios, and Los Moonlights, Ruben lived in the perfect place for inspiration. Furthermore many other musicians passed through "Tiwas" including Jun Gabriel, Tijuana Brass, Vincente Fernandez, Jos Jos, and many others. All of these musical talents influenced a young and burgeoning musical genius.
At age 13, he saw a friend of his at school playing the guitar and decided that's what he wanted to do too. The only guitar he had access to was a three-string guitar. Although limited by the guitar, Ruben took this opportunity to teach himself how to make melodies. To keep a young Ruben out of trouble, his mother sent him to church. Ruben joined the choir, played the coronet, and the drums at their local parish "La Catedral de Nuestra Sra. de Guadalupe".
In Tijuana, Ruben played keyboards (mambos, cha cha cha, and ballads) for a number of groups until emigrating permanently to the United States in 1978. After coming to the U.S., Ruben joined a group named "Karnaval". The Santa Ana based band, Karnaval, shared the stage with such acts as Indio, Pasteles Verdes, Los Muecas, Los Bukis, Los Corazones Solitarios, Grupo Miramar, Lorenzo de Monteclaro, Chalo Silva, Los Potros and many, many others. Ruben played the keyboards and bass.
Since childhood, Ruben had a love for the spanish guitar. Although influenced by other musical styles, his first true love was flamenco and Middle Eastern melodies/rhythms. In the late 1980s coming out of Spain was an entirely new musical sensation first made famous by the Gipsy Kings. Gipsy Kings play in a percussive (and commercial) flamenco style known as rumba-flamenca; a blending of Cuban percussion, spanish guitars and gitano (gypsy) vocals. Noticing that Orange County did not have rumba-flamenca in the area, this eventually translates into his vision of a hip interpretation of the genre. This style of music invigorated Ruben's musical senses and an idea was born. In 1995, Pasin Gitana began to delight audiences in Orange County. Pasin Gitana has had quite a few members over the years and had success playing in large forums and small alike. But it wasn't until meeting the other half of the puzzle that Pasin Gitana was complete. In late 2000, Ruben meets his musical partner and future wife Dounia. The husband and wife duo is now complete.
Even through all the transitions of her life, Dounia always has loved to sing. Influenced by the voice of Barbra Streisand, Anne Murray and stage-diva Patti LuPone, Dounia listened to the world's best mentors. Her earliest memories of her life were listening to the records her mother had on repeat of Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were" and "Superstar". Her father's musical interests included Cat Stevens and Dounia would listen to "Wild World" and "Peace Train" over and over again with headphones larger than her head. By age six years, memorizing the entire musical "Evita", Dounia, standing atop the fireplace hearth, would perform the entire play (including all the rolls) to her family in the living room.
After Dounia's friend received a guitar for Christmas, her interest in guitar began. By the age of 12, she borrowed that same guitar and began learning the basics. In Jr. High and High School, she was in a number of plays and musicals, but an active life with soccer and horses kept her busy off the stage as well. Dounia also had a garage band with the neighbor boys called the "Sell Outs". Their music can still be found on the internet. Somewhere.
Her interest in the Gipsy Kings and Arab percussion began in 1989 and had the greatest musical influence in her life. Fascinated with the intricate rhythms and melodies, Dounia switched from guitar to hand percussion. While learning to belly dance, Dounia began to play percussion for other dancers and local arab-musical ensembles.
After putting music performance aside for years of world travel, a graduate education in Anthropology, and a stay in the Middle East, Dounia returned to the United States. Within a month of returning, she met Ruben at his local gig at Diedrich Coffee in Laguna Beach. It was love at first sight. Married two years later, Dounia joined Pasin Gitana in 2002. From this time on, Dounia found a home with a wonderful husband and a partner in life, Ruben Gonzalez. Since that time, they have been making beautiful music together...
And thus, the current Pasin Gitana was formed.
|Ruben Gonzalez||Director / Lead Guitar / Vocals|
|Dounia Gonzalez||Guitar / Vocals|
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