For a mellow way to end your week, consider heading over to the El Monte Sagrado's Anaconda Bar to unwind with guitarist Omar Rane. He plays from 6-9 p.m. every Friday except for the last Friday of …
For a mellow way to end your week, consider heading over to the El Monte Sagrado's Anaconda Bar to unwind with guitarist Omar Rane. He plays from 6-9 p.m. every Friday except for the last Friday of the month. Admission is free and Rane covers a range of material from jazz tunes to instrumental rock 'n' roll arrangements to classical pieces.
"It's a pretty eclectic mix, but I think it's tied together by the guitar itself," said Rane. "I'm so profoundly influenced by so many kinds of music it's been hard for me to settle in except to try and learn all of them."
I met up with Omar Rane at a local coffee shop to find out more about how he's currently spending his time. Rane has been making music in Taos since the 1980s when he played gigs at Dixon's El Quinto Sol with a band called DV8 and jazz at The Taos Inn with musicians such as Larry Audette and Pete Amahl. In more recent years, Rane played with the Monkey Feeders. These days he is enjoying playing solo and returning to his guitar roots.
Rane first picked up the guitar when he was 8 or 9 years old and living in Albuquerque. His father, the late artist Bill Rane, had a restaurant where local flamenco guitar heroes Craig Dell and John Truitt would play. Omar Rane took lessons from both of them. He then moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where there wasn't much happening in the way of flamenco. Rane told me what he did discover was lively jazz at a café called The Classical Joint.
"It was such an underground vibe, with all the really great players from the city," Rane recalled. It was at The Classical Joint that Rane met Wynton Marsalis' band and a great many others.
After spending nine years in British Columbia, Rane came out to the Southwest in 1986 to visit his father, who by that time was living in Taos.
"I never went back to Vancouver after that," Rane said. He had visited Taos once before, but this time he stayed. Rane explained that while he was visiting with his dad, they went out to breakfast at The Taos Inn, where Omar's brother was working. Omar Rane, who had restaurant experience himself, said Zeke Lambert came out and offered him a job - all before the breakfast order came.
"I had a full-time job, and just stayed in Taos," said Rane.
Over the years, Rane has shifted from the restaurant industry to working as a sound engineer at live shows and as a recording engineer in his studio.
"I do all kinds of sound guy work," he said. "I work for the town for their Movies on the Green. I've done the sound for Michael Hearne's Big Barn Dance for the past 17 years -- since its beginning. I've done a lot of sound for Seco Live. ... I'm going to be doing the sound for the Nashville to New Mexico festival in Eagle Nest. I go up to Alamosa and do their Sundays at Six series."
This is just a sampling of Rane's work, which also includes coordinating services between the big concert promoters like AMP Productions and the town of Taos for their summer concerts.
Rane has also helped out with sound at concerts at the Harwood Museum of Art and festivals at Taos Mesa Brewing.
"Staying in the music business in Taos, it's hard to do just one thing," Rane said.
When he is not otherwise occupied, Rane operates a recording studio. He has recorded many of Jenny Bird's albums, and recorded, mixed and mastered Mezcal's recent album which won several awards at the New Mexico Hispano Music Awards. He is currently working on finishing albums by Jenny Bird and Luna Slater. Rane told me he has to pare "way, way back" on his recording projects in the summer months when his sound engineering work picks up.
In addition to his solo gigs at El Monte Sagrado, Rane plays with singer-songwriter Ry Taylor at The Alley Cantina from 9:30 p.m. to midnight on Thursdays. This summer, he will also play jazz and blues with Dan Lizdas and Cullen Winter on May 28, June 18 and July 16 at The Taos Inn's Adobe Bar. Rane is available to play for weddings and private parties. For more information, including song samples, visit omarrane.com.
More summer activities at El Monte Sagrado
El Monte Sagrado Resort & Spa is cooking up a summer of fun activities. This June, the resort launches a "Cocktails and Canvas" series with artist Rich Nichols; he will work with participants in a guided instructional paint from 5-7 p.m. on the following Saturdays: June 1, June 22, July 20 and August 24. Nichols will take part in plein air painting on the property from 4-5 p.m. before class. Participants (and resort guests) can meet him and watch him paint before the class. Classes are $50 plus tax and are available on holdmyticket.com. The price includes all supplies and a glass of house wine or a draft beer.
Nichols will also offer a half-day workshop at El Monte Sagrado on June 8 and another workshop on July 27-28. Tickets are $100 for the June workshop and $175 for the July workshop and are available at holdmyticket.com.
El Monte Sagrado is also launching a writers workshop series with Sean Murphy and Tania Casselle this summer, dates to be determined. For more information, contact Robin Naylor at (575) 737-9879.
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