Bruce Reynolds, 58, has lived in Malaga for three years and says that what brought him and his mezzo-soprano partner, Simona Mango, to the city was “a lucky accident”. The pair had been visiting Granada when their plane from Malaga was cancelled so they spent the time waiting for the next available plane in the city. “ We had no plans to visit Malaga so it was predestined,” Bruce says.
Apart from the weather, the musician explains that he likes Malaga “for the history, the flamenco culture, the food, the Arabic influence, the people - both Spanish and the huge international community”. “It's just a great place,” he adds.
After two years in the centre of Malaga the musical couple moved out to the countryside and now live near Alhaurín de la Torre.
Bruce is no stranger to living abroad. Although he is British he was born in the Persian Gulf and then lived in the Caribbean as a young boy before moving to London at the age of ten as his father worked for Cable and Wireless as a member of their foreign staff. He has also lived in France, Germany, Holland and Switzerland, where he met Simona.
Bruce explains that he first discovered his flair for music at the age of 14 when his cousin played the guitar. “I liked the sound of it,” he says.
He found out that his school offered free lessons and spent the money he had saved from washing cars on a classical guitar. “It was either that or a Phillips cassette recorder,” he laughs.
His father gave him some good advice about playing music. “He told me that if I learned an instrument I'd always have friends”. However, Bruce admits that he doesn't think his dad meant for him to become a professional musician.
Busking around Europe
The road to becoming professional wasn't completely straight; Bruce explains that he was a busker for three years before getting his first break.
“I busked in Paris, Munich, Cannes, Zurich, Bern, Stuttgart and London in Covent Garden. The busking was down to the fact I spoke no French so couldn't get a job in Paris back in 1979,” he says.
Bruce adds that he has played most styles of music professionally but always comes back “full circle to the blues, rock, and Arabic and Spanish style guitar”.
He says that when he improvises all these styles appear in his own music, which he mainly performs on either the Spanish or bass guitar. He also plays percussion and the harmonica. On singing Bruce admits that “everyone can sing, some better than others. I belong firmly with the others”.
Bruce performs with Simona, in their Luna Llena duo as well as with Nick Graham, who he will be playing with at the Molino de Cajiz on Sunday 4 March.
As well as the two duos, Bruce runs an international project he started in Switzerland called Harissa Boudoir Orchestra. “We play classical music such as Rimsky Korsakov, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky and original music - with a belly dancer.”
As if that wasn't enough, Bruce has also extended his creativity into writing since being in Spain; his first book is called 'The Gift - a story of friendship, heroism and rock and roll'. He explains that the idea came when he was on tour in Belgium a short time after his father died in 2004.
“I was unwittingly led to one particular grave in a World War Two military cemetery and I found out only later that he was my dad's best friend. The incident changed my life.” He is currently writing a second book based on his experiences of being a busker.
Bruce says that he and Simona can see themselves staying here. “The world is going slowly crazy at the moment and I'm happy we have a home somewhere where we can get on with our lives and focus on the important things such as making music and being happy,” he concludes.