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Top Cuban Musicians: Gastón Joya Perellada

Gastón Joya Perellada will turn just 28 this month – but the Guanabacoa-native bass player is already considered one of Cuba’s bright musical stars. Music is in his DNA. “My love for music”, he explains, “comes from my house; I grew up in a musical environment. My father would play the bass and my mother would sing with him. That stayed with me.”

 The celebrated bass player  has been sideman for pianist Chucho Valdés in the recent revival of the seminal Latin jazz band Irakere, along with other young talents like percussionist Yaroldy Abreu and drummer Rodney Barretto. Gastón also performed along with Cuban drums legend Enrique Plá in the Ernán López-Nussa’s trio for Ernán’s recently released and acclaimed album “Sacrilegios”.

Gastón is a versatile and rounded musician. He performed with the Latin American Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of the recently deceased conducting legend Claudio Abbado. Last year he released his first album where, using a chamber music format, he reinterprets traditional Cuban music and jazz tunes from a classical perspective. With this record he received the award for the best first album in the 18th Edition of Cuba’s Cubadisco music festival.

For Gastón, music’s purpose is to integrate, whether it’s in a festive celebration or in a concert hall. He doesn’t believe in hierarchies. In his repertoire, Cuban music and classical music have the same standing. He is all about fusion – where his country’s traditional music, his conservatory education, and jazz – his greatest passion – come together in fresh, energizing, and exciting ways.

In this video clip, watch Gastón perform solo at the Divino Tuscany event organized by James Suckling in Italy in Spring 2012.

*This is a part of a series of top Cuban musicians we are going to feature on HavanaInsider.com. Stay tuned for more!

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