During this summer’s wonderful Carnaval del Sol weekend festival held at Concord Pacifc Place, I had the opportunity to sit down with one of my favourite Latin musicians to talk music and of course food.
You have performed all over the world, do you find your audiences reaction to be similar wherever you play?
There is always a similarity, the only difference is in my own mind when I go and play in Istanbul or Azerbaijan, but at some point you see people are similar wherever you go, it is up to the audience to understand quickly on what they like, it is almost like what feeds the soul.
How would you say your music has evolved over the past 10 years?
It has evolved in ways that I never thought would be imaginable. In 1999 I came from Cuba, I was already song writing, I was super shy, I was a bass player playing in Havana, then I came here not knowing what would happen, I wanted to be Bryan Adam or Alanis Morissette’s bass player. Everything changed when I was here, one day I was walking down Fort Street in Victoria and I saw an advertisement for a workshop, I paid the entrance fee and I was chosen from all of BC, and then I met Salvador Ferreras and others, they heard him sing and play and told him he had a great voice, I said I am not a singer, they did a huge introduction, I felt like I was in the right place, opening my eyes to opportunities, you create the way you create, it has been great.
Are you still living in Nelson, BC?
I live in Smithers actually, when I was awarded best new artist on cbc they asked me if I was going to leave Smithers and I said why this is my home. For years people thought if you were a musician you have to live in the city, I don’t think in this world we live in today that you do, you can live anywhere. For example over skype I have collaborated in writing music with musicians all over the world.
Besides Vancouver, are you performing anywhere else in Canada this summer?
We just played in Toronto, I am not super busy this summer but we are playing in Kingston, Calgary, Hollywood Bowl
What is your favourite Food?
I am not tied to any special type of food, ginger chicken that my wife makes.
What and where are your favourite Cuban or Latin restaurants in Canada and around the world?
Julies Café in Toronto
Do you find performing at the Carnaval del Sol ny different than performing at other festivals?
Yes, it is very different, most of the volunteers here are latin and are new to Canada, sometimes it is about being here for the right reasons, open your eyes, I said yes cause I wanted to inspire the people in my culture to do better and better.
I saw you perform at the Vancouver Jazz Festival a couple years ago, how different will your show be here at Carnival del Sol vs that one?
My band is a little bit bigger now than the show you saw me perform at the Vancouver Jazz Festival a couple of years ago. Today you will see my 4 piece band,
What is next on your Musical Adventure?
- We are going to end the summer opening for Sheryl Crow at the Hollywood Bowl.
- I am in Vancouver for a showcase Sept 2 at the Imperial Theatre
- End of September going to Banff to be a mentor
- Touring across Ontario in the fall
- Going to Cuba in early December, to do a documentary film called “The Cuban Bus” they chose me as the host and the music producer to go from one end of Cuba to the other end. It will be released on Tel Latino in Canada and in the US on PBS for early February.
Have you ever performed in Cuba?
Never before, but now perhaps once I am doing the documentary with The Cuban Bus project I may end up performing there. I was excited when my agent told me this is a possibility, no guarantees and will see what happens.
By: Richard Wolak