Emilio Bonito - live at Artword Artbar

Emilio Bonito

Emilio Bonito crafts intricate instrumental songs that fuse acoustic fingerstyle guitar with avant-garde, indie folk and pop culture influences.

Born and raised in Hamilton, Canada, Emilio Bonito began playing the piano at the age of 4. Emilio credits Hamilton pianist Flavio Danieli for introducing him to classical music and encouraging him to explore composition at a young age.

A decade of piano training from the Royal Conservatory of Music provided the young artist with a solid musical foundation to build on. “When I picked up the guitar at age 9, I started imitating Jade Puget from AFI (A Fire Inside),” explains Emilio.

Emilio began developing his own repertoire while studying at McMaster University. “I wrote a lot of music throughout my time as an undergraduate, bottling up experiences and influences into these acoustic instrumental songs,” explains Emilio.

“I was listening to a wide range of other music while writing these songs – avant-garde metal, progressive rock, indie folk, even psychedelic pop,” he adds. “Everything from maudlin of the Well and The Mars Volta to Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver.”

Released on Hamilton-based indie label Maisonneuve Music, Emilio’s debut single “Marth” fused the artist’s eclectic influences into an artful mix of new and old. CBC Radio’s In the Key of C declared it “a great example of contemporary fingerstyle guitar.” Emilio followed up his debut a few months later with “I Saw Three Ships” — a warm, acoustic fingerpicking-style take of the Christmas classic with Medieval and modern influences.

“Midnight Runner” creates a dreamy narrative with changing dynamics, tempos and time signatures. The result is an atmospheric, flowing track that explores themes of rumination and self-reflection. “Tiffany Falls” in turn was inspired by the 21 meter high ribbon waterfall of the same name located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The production on both songs salutes other fingerstyle greats such as Andy McKee and Canadians Don Ross and Antoine Dufour, while staying true to the Emilio’s hypnotic and undulating percussive style.

“Augusto” is Emilio’s latest single. Stylistically influenced by Bonito’s visits to the desert of the Médanos de Coro National Park in Venezuela, the song was inspired by the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, and the vivid illusions that sometimes accompany it. “Many times, as I awoke, I had visions of a terrifying black creature sitting on my chest. ‘Augusto’ is the name I gave the creature. In the song, I tried to represent the transition between dreaming and wakefulness—the passage from terror to relief.”

“Augusto” releases on March 10, 2017.