Willie & Lobo
Willie & Lobo is a World Music musical duet composed of Willie Royal (violin) and Wolfgang “Lobo” Fink (guitar). Meeting in 1983, Willie & Lobo produced 10 albums before disbanding in early 2007. However, they are reuniting for a tour that includes a stop at Anthology.
Willie Royal was born in El Paso, Texas, the son of an Air Force lieutenant colonel. His travels took him to Turkey, Germany, France and Florida and other exotic places.
At the age of eight he began classical violin lessons, quickly becoming proficient enough to become the concertmaster of his high school orchestra. Inspired by the music of Jean-Luc Ponty, Stephane Grappelli and It’s A Beautiful Day, as well as sitting in with Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts, Willie traveled the world, absorbing numerous musical styles before moving to Mexico in the ’80s.
Wolfgang “Lobo” Fink was born in the Bavarian town of Teisendorf. At 18, while in the German navy, he picked up his first guitar. Listening to a album by gypsy guitarist Manitas de Plata drew him to the music.
Upon leaving the navy, he found de Plata in a gypsy camp in Southern France and spent a while with him and his people. Returning to Germany, Lobo formed a flamenco group named Lailo, touring Europe for three years and helping to popularize the modern gypsy sound. His searches led him to Granada, Spain, living with gypsies in the caves of Sacromonte and studying their ways. He traveled to Mexico in 1980 as a solo act.
The pair first met in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where they were both working at Mama Mia’s restaurant. Willie on fiddle and Lobo on flamenco guitar jammed on occasion, searching for an individual sound. The owner of a local bar they were both playing at suggested they perform together.
Virtually one listen or one concert was all it took for many fans to become lost in their sound, which Royal describes as somehow sounding like it was made by four musicians instead of two.
Willie & Lobo had been playing together for several years before being picked up by Mesa/ Bluemoon for American release in 1993.
That year, “Gypsy Boogaloo” was released in the States and reached No. 2 on the world charts. Worldwide exposure followed soon after, almost a given considering the duo’s inclusion of several different national forms.
Further albums followed: 1994′s “Fandango Nights,” 1995′s “Between the Waters,” 1996′s “The Music of Puerto Vallarta Squeeze” and 1997′s “Caliente.”
After a short hiatus, the duo regrouped in 1999 for the typically eclectic “Wild Heart,” followed by “Siete” in mid-2000 and “Live In Concert.” A compilation, “Gypsy Romance: Exotic Flamenco Guitar and Violin” appeared in 2005 and “Zambra,” a Gypsy word meaning a gathering of musical merriment that is also a dance done by the women of Spain) appeared in early 2006.
When not touring or recording, Willie and Lobo are likely to be found catching a wave near their homes, Willie on the West Coast of Florida and Lobo on the Mexican coast. These two “rockin’ surfin’ gypsy dudes” have had their music used in the surfing documentary, “Blazing Longboards,” and continue to name songs after their favorite surfing spots.