The well-worn road to Sarasota’s entertainment venues will lead you to well-known stages but taking a road less traveled can make all the difference!
The lesser traveled path to Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center will lead you to a venue that has been offering Sarasota a unique community space for those who truly appreciate live music performances in an intimate and relaxed setting since 2013. Fogartyville is operated by the volunteers of WSLR, an innovative, listener supported, nonprofit, noncommercial FM radio station that promotes underrepresented cultural artists.
On the evening of March 17, 2019, Fogartyville hosted a return performance of Lulo Reinhardt and Daniel Stelter. Sarasota was their last stop (after more than thirty tour performances) before the two guitarists headed back to their homes in Germany. Both well-loved artists have individual fame as solo artists, but the synergy they create together is a treat to behold!
The radio station has created an oasis for those seeking live music. With a natural setting, the indoor stage area has the option to open the walls and reveal a large natural patio setting for casual seating and table space. For those arriving before the show, it was a perfect place as we gathered for an al fresco dinner purchased from the Fogartyville Cafe food truck of comfort food, a refreshing cold beer or mellowing glass of wine.
As Lulo and Daniel and I took advantage of a mild Sarasota evening under the cloudy moonless sky, we spoke of how their culture and heritage have influenced them and their music. Lulo Reinhart proudly shared that he is a member of an ethnic minority of Sinti tribe of gypsies and displayed a fingernail painted with the flag of his tribe. His music talent traces back in his family to Django Reinhart, the famed Romani-French jazz guitarist regarded to be one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century.
As Lulo spoke of the history of his people, and Daniel shared his experience of living in Berlin, Germany, we talked about cultures and people and how borders and lines are drawn, and moved, and enforced upon people, yet there are commonalities among people that transcend over, and above, and through the man-made divisions. We all agreed the strongest of commonalities is music.
Before Ludo Reinhart and Daniel Stelter began the evening’s performance, two acoustic guitars sat in the spotlight of center stage. Simple and good; a precursor of what was to come. And what came was unbridled passion and immeasurable talent for music! Music that Lulo and David created crosses borders and lines and brought the whole audience together in the spirit of Fogartyville. The musical energy that Lulo and Daniel produce comes from the influences of blues, swing, tango, from the countries of Brazil, Argentina, Africa, Spain and Mexico.
A great majority of the music was original. As Ludo and Daniel engaged the audience with stories of inspiration behind their songs, they painted pictures of people, places, and emotions that came to life through their mastery of the acoustic guitars. The intimate setting of the venue allowed for everyone in attendance to see not only the fingers of the musicians deftly work the strings of the guitars, but the interaction between Lulo and Daniel left no question as to the pure enjoyment that they were experiencing as they played together.
A memorable moment in the performance highlighted the diversity of the two great musicians when Lulo broke out in a Blue’s scat and segued into “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”. Everyone’s toes were a tappin’!
The choice of an evening at Fogartyville, made by those who took an SRQ road less traveled, was the experience of time spent with a community of people who share the commonality of valuing differences. The differences in culture and music genre during our evening at Fogartyville brought us closer together as Lulo Rheinhart and Daniel Steler wove emotion, music, and stories into a multisensory experience.
Fogartyville Community Media & Arts Center. 525 Kumquat Ct, Sarasota, FL 34236 wslr.org/fogartyville
Photos by Laura Bell Adams / The Sarasota Post