Artist Feature of the Month – Meet Mariano de Orbegoso, Guitarist at El Gaucho Portland
If music be the food of love, play on. ~William Shakespeare
Ambiance is a key part of the El Gaucho experience, and music plays an important role in setting the stage at our restaurants, which is why we are proud to offer live music, 7 nights a week. We introduce you to the talented and passionate musicians who share their gift with us.
“The meaning of your life is to find your gift. The purpose of your life is to give it away,” Pablo Picasso is credited with once saying. Thankfully, that gift can be received five nights a week for those lucky enough to hear Mariano de Orbegoso, Latin guitarist at El Gaucho Portland.
Mariano was born in Lima, Peru and grew up in a very musical family. His mom, Carmela Russell, is a very well known composer in Latin America. Her songs have been recorded by some of the most popular singers, such as Celia Cruz y la Sonoroa Mantancera; Pepe Jara, in Mexico; Betty Misiego in Spain, plus more.
While music is his passion, he studied law in Peru and became an attorney. He found his way to Oregon after political turmoil in Peru in the late 60’s, when he was offered a job to manage a ranch in Sheridan, Oregon. He jumped at the opportunity, even though it meant giving up his legal career. It was actually here he met his wife, Connie Bieberach, also a Peruvian, who is a well-known musician in her own right, performing with great tenors like Diego Flores and Jose Feliciano, at concerts around the world, and winning singing competitions at major music festivals. Both have become fixtures in the Latin scene in the Portland area for many years. Two of their children live close by – son Masud also plays guitar at El Gaucho Portland, with whom he recorded a CD a few years ago titled “Quiet Nights.”
Mariano has performed for a wide variety of audiences, from government dinners to Portland Rose Festival, where he served as the Spanish Host for five years. Mariano also plays percussion and sings, and he enjoys performing with his wife. He has also shared the stage with Alfredo Muro, Jose Luis Perales, LaSole Susana Baca, and Roberta. Lucky for us, he started with El Gaucho Portland the day it opened – March 17, 2000.
When asked his favorite part of working (playing) at El Gaucho, he mentions the camaraderie, the management, the atmosphere, and the food – but most of all, “being able to share my music. It’s such a great place.”
He enjoys his solitude as much he enjoys being with others. His hobbies include music, and collecting it – he boasts a collection of over 4,500 original CDs. Some of his favorites include The Beatles, The Police, Pink Floyd, Antonio Jovim, and Spanish, Cuban, and Brazilian music that incorporate Flamenco tangos, etc.
Mariano is most known for his good disposition, being positive, his flexibility, and the great respect he has for others at all times. His most important accomplishments are his spiritual gain to be happy, and to make other happy through his enthusiasm and music. His favorite song to play? “The one that will bring my audience the most joy,” he exclaims.
“Music blends cultures, builds bridges. It instantly can make people happy. If they’re happy, I’m happy,” he explains.