Where are you from and where do you live now ?
I’m Cuban and I’m living in the New York Area
Since when have you played the drums ?
I have played the snare drums since I was 7 but I seriously started to study the drumset at 15.
Who or what inspired you to play the drums ?
As a child I was fascinated by the changüí, conga oriental, rumba, and tumba francesa, music that is heavy in percussion. My interest in drums as an instrument came when I started hearing rock drummers from the 70’s.
Where did you study ?
At the National School of Art and at The University of Arts of Cuba – (ISA).
Which drummer most inspired you?
Whenever I see Omar Hakim play, I want to get up and play the drums; he gives me the joy and energy that I need to play. He enjoys, smile and dances to make music, and that’s something I’m also find touching. The dance, movement, smiles and gestures, – these expressions – are an inseparable part of the musical culture of my country, Cuba.
How do you practice ?
Every day I practice a bit with my books, The Third Hand Stick Control and Five Way Coordination. I focus most of my attention on my technique, called The Third Hand, which is a technique I invented and I’m most known for.
How much time a day/a week do you practice?
Now I only need to practice one or two hours a day to maintain my skills, but in the 80’s about 10 hours a day between percussion and drums.
Can you tell us about the set-up of your drum set ?
Drumset, 2 Congas, clave pedal and low cow-bell pedal, paila and keyboard. I also use a special piece to touch the clave and the cascara simultaneously with two drumsticks in my right hand. This is part of my, The Third Hand technique.
What is your approach to teaching ?
Transmitting culture through music.
Who are you playing with ?
Enildo Rasua Quartet; Joe Berger (NY Guitar Player); Mas + Allá. I also play in a couple of groups of Afro-Cuban Santeria ceremonies.
If you could be in possession of only 3 albums, witch would they be ?
Óyelos de nuevo (Los Muñequitos de Matanzas)
¾ for Peace (Billy Higgins)
Brother to Brother (Gino Vanelli).
Do you have any shows or album releases coming up?
I will have the musical direction of a theater play in New York and some new musical projects and pedagogical as :
CD with Joe Berger,
Afro Cuban Drum set Vol. 2 (Book),
Congas Vol. 3 (Book),
DVD with MAS ALLA group,
DVD Show with Alex Acuña y Terry Bozzio,
Drumchannel DVD classes.
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