Local Live

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Carlos Bertonatti Charms Has Beans

It was a late night for me, up until 3:00 AM and then up at 8:00 AM. I took a quick shower and tossed some cloths upon my back to meet the new day. It had been uncharacteristically warm and sunny the past days with occasional cloudbursts. It sort of reminded me of Dade County how the humidity hung like a friendly ghost, yet the sun was piercing right through all the moisture. I heard that my nearby coffee cafe, Has Beans, were having morning concerts, the first being a young man by the name of Carlos Bertonatti. As I payed for a cup of Brazilian Organic blend, a sleek tan man with dark short cropped hair walks into the room carrying a guitar case. He was wearing a designer sweater and clean jeans, so I knew right away he wasn't from here.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, and raised between there and his current home in Miami, FL, Carlos has experienced a fascinating life from an early age and has always been searching for ways to express his adventurous and artistic side. He spent long periods of time skiing in the Argentine slopes of Bariloche, where he became part of the Argentine Ski Team. His spare time was focused on surfing every wave available, taking art and culinary lessons, and mostly teaching himself how to play guitar.

The room was still sparse at this moment, people were trickling in for their daily caffeine and the clouds were billowing about. I found a seat by the door and was joined later by a friend with video camera in hand. The shy looking man with a sparkling white smile settled into his corner stool and proceeded to check his guitar's tuning. Then the music began to flow. Simple chords with a latin rythem played softly as his honey sweet voice accompanied the strings. All of his songs were original, simple, yet catchy. Being the chick magnet was obviouslly his rep, but I listened to his words, and they somtimes were very deep. People have compared him to Jack Johnson, but I can hear a voice of his own wanting to come forth. Some of his songs are jazzy like Micheal Franks, some are meloncholy like Donovan, but whatever it is., it's from the heart. He gave some backround on each song, flirting with the militia of women that came to hear their latin lover coo to them. I was fortunate enough to speak with him privately after his show. He explained to me that he had done the band touring thing, and found it hard to book more than himself in many stablishments. He feels that playing small coffee houses gives him a more intimate experience with the audience, and he can maintain an more anonymous profile. "I've played for 5,000 and I've played for five, it's all good." His songs are somtimes cute, somtimes biting, sometimes tragically sober. As in the "Story of a Little Girl", he explained to me that" It's a song of personal nature. My sister fell off a building and died. Definately a personal tradgedy." I sympathized with him, and told him of my step brother who had been partying in Madrid during the bull runs and stepped out onto a non existent veranda the morning after, only to plummet to his death five stories down. I had lived in Miami for a short spell and we talked about sailing. He described sailing like servitude,"My father took my brother and I sailing when we were 8 and 11 years old. It was really tough, being just a kid. But my Dad didn't want to hear it and just told us to be men!" I made a quip about the Great Santini, which either he didn't get the reference, or he just let it pass. We traded CDs and I was fortunate enough to have listened to it before his second performance, which he did with a PA and michrophone. This time it was standing room only and the place was jammed with perfumed and painted ladies, so, being the gentleman I am, stood outside to give the ladies room to move.

He began writing songs in his early teens while he was living in Venezuela for a short time. Once back in Miami, he met Multi-platinum producer Chris Rodriguez who immediately recognized his talent and took him under his wing. Together they created a unique and undeniably feel good album. It’s comprised of catchy hooks and melodies, acoustic sounds sprinkled with an array of eclectic instrumentation and Latin percussion. Songs such as “The Little Things,” show his pop, yet determined to make a statement side. “Story of a Little Girl” and “A Million Miles” give us a sneak-peak into his soul, but “It’s so Easy” and “One Two Three”gets the party started and lifts you right out of your seats.

During the recording process, Carlos began promoting his songs exclusively through MySpace. The response was phenomenal and soon enough he was showered with messages from fans requesting to buy his music. He released an independent album online that he sold through his website and quickly sold out. The buzz continued to spread and early in 2008 he signed the first ever joint venture record deal between Sony ATV Publishing and Epic Records with both acting as record labels. While they plan the release of his upcoming album “Times are Good”, Carlos continues to do what he’s always done.

Feb 22 2009 8:00P

Cafe Gratitude San Francisco, California

Feb 24 2009 6:30P

Cafe Pomegranate San Jose, California

Feb 25 2009 7:30P

Good Karma Cafe San Jose, California

Feb 26 2009 8:00P

Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company Santa Cruz, California

Feb 27 2009 7:30P

Ugly Mug Soquel, California

Mar 1 2009 7:00P

Blue Rock Shoot Inc. Saratoga, California

East Village Coffee Lounge Monterey, California

Mar 3 2009 9:30P

The Cellar Door Fresno, California

Mar 4 2009 6:30P

Sequoia Brewing Co. Fresno, California