Latin America / Venezuela / Miranda
Mulato en Rumba his greatest bet Alexis José Sánchez:
He is a versatile artist, who like many other musicians begins his training from home, with his brothers he learned to play the cuatro and the guitar, this motivated him to continue his formal studies at the School of Music “José Lorenzo Llamozas”, where he also studied trumpet alongside maestro José “Cheo” Rodríguez; He jointly studies Afro-Latin percussion with maestro Orlando Poleo, Barloventeña percussion with Alfredo “Pandilla” Bolívar and Arturo Piñango, African percussion with José Shalons and Yonder Rodríguez.
At the “Nicomedes Marrero” Cultural Training Center in Tacarigua, he took piano lessons with professor Manuel Sepúlveda, Afro-Venezuelan percussion with maestro Alexander Livinalli and Choral Direction in the free art workshop of “Río Chico”.
Although he was born in the city of Caracas, all his life he has lived in the Barlovento region, an area with a great cultural and musical richness, there he also performs the role of teacher, being a facilitator of the Afro-Barloventeña, Afro-Venezuelan and Afro-Venezuelan percussion chairs. Afro-Latin, in School District No. 4.
From a very young age he has been linked with the traditions of his town; Tacarigua. This young man is an active part of the cultural development of the area and together with his wife Yermy Martínez and his mother-in-law Zenaida Gamboa, founders of the group “Danzas Tacarigua”, they are in charge of training the youth of relief, in order to keep the demonstrations alive. traditional barloventeñas for many generations.
Sánchez, assures us that he has a great responsibility, to preserve the legacy that the Africans left in their path through our land, that despite the obstacles he gets along the way to carry out his work, he is overcoming them one by one with perseverance and dedication. that love he feels for music, his family, his traditions and his other passion for teaching.
Salsa and Venezuelan Folklore, two different worlds, each rich and varied in rhythms and styles, however, it takes them by the hand, something that is not strange in a country where the mixture abounds, that we Venezuelans are the product of an ethnic and cultural mix.
How were your beginnings in music?
“I started in music at home with my brothers. I learned with them to play cuatro and guitar. That was the fundamental basis of what has been my musical career up to now and it also inspired me to continue with formal studies in music ”.
Your musical training has been very broad. Why did you decide precisely to specialize with the trumpet?
“I decided on the trumpet, since it has been the traditional instrument in my family, first my great-grandfather Gregorio Machado, then my great-uncle“ Perucho ”Machado and my brother Wilman”.
A man from Caracas who decides to emigrate to Barlovento Why not Barquisimeto or another region?
“My whole family is from Barlovento, since I was born I have lived here in Tacarigua, Brión municipality. After studying music I realize the musical wealth that exists in this region. That is why I decide to bet on the musical production of my homeland and also be part of that artistic movement that represents Barlovento and that has given so much to our country ”.
Composing and arranging music, the work that leads its creators and orchestras to position themselves in the first places. Which of your works as a composer and arranger have been positioned in that place?
“That is the dream of every arranger, to achieve that an orchestra reaches the first places of popularity and in sales. I haven’t had that luck yet, but it’s my dream as a songwriter. I have arranged for many orchestras that have been quite popular and are playing in various countries ”.
There are many orchestras for which you have done this work, could you name them?
“I have arranged for orchestras and singers such as: Bailatino, Cheo Linares and his Orchestra, Víctor Cardona and the Salsa Machine, Cheo Navarro and his Tribute, Francisco Pacheco and his People, Hildemaro Jr., Orquesta Sarayé (Colombia), Orquesta La Suprema (Panama), Orlando Watussi and my musical project “Mulato en Rumba”, among other national artists “.
Percussion is another of its virtues, of the different rhythms. Which of them is more difficult to teach or learn?
“Percussion is a world that allows you to express yourself and make contributions based on its rhythmic quality. All rhythms have difficulties, but their great musical richness and the magic of the ancestral charge make it possible for us to digest them naturally ”.
“I invite the musicians and the community in general to come to Barlovento to learn about the regional culture, so that they learn to play Mina, Culo e puya, Quitiplás, Fulía and Parranda.”
In the vineyard of the Lord there is everything and for everyone. What has been the most difficult thing about this profession?
“Music gives you a lot of satisfaction, but around it there are circumstances that create disappointments – they can scam you, you have friction with colleagues, etc. – you will find obstacles, but I think that all this is overcome with perseverance and dedication to work. That is what it takes to stay in the musical world ”.
The Music Producer is the architect of a record. What do you feel at the end of each record? What do you feel at the end of each work done?
“Music production is hard work, bringing together musicians, writing and selecting songs, directing, molding and creating a pleasing product for the public, where feelings are reflected on paper, which in turn become sounds that will mark the life of anyone who is a music lover. That is the greatest satisfaction ”.
Each era has its ups and downs, do you think you can make a living from music?
“Of course, if we think of music as an industry we can find that starting from being a composer, arranger, through instrumentalist, singer, among other things, always keeping in mind the quality of the work to be able to sell it, it can be said that we are prepared to live from what we love to do ”.
How does it feel to be part of the cultural development of Barlovento?
“It is a great responsibility to know and feel that you are the bearer of such an important heritage for the development of the culture of an area where the legacy of the Africans who populated our lands will always prevail. Maintaining, disseminating and promoting the culture of my people through workshops, talks and exhibitions will guarantee that tradition is not lost and that these children and young people, just like I started, will be the future protagonists of the traditional Barlovento demonstrations. ”
Tell us about the Black Theater of Barlovento and Danzas Tacarigua. How do you undertake the preparation of the new generations so that the traditions last over time?
“The Black Barlovento Theater, a group that has 43 years of artistic experience, also proudly carries the cultural heritage of the Miranda State. It is and has been a great school for me for 27 years when I made my first presentation with this great family. I say that it is a great school because it is characterized by being an avant-garde group and that it has given me the green light and total confidence to develop and put into practice all the knowledge acquired musically throughout my career through the different productions of the theatrical works brought to the scene ”.
“Following this example and great experience with the Black Theater of Barlovento, we have been working with the Danzas Tacarigua group, directed and founded by my wife Yermy Martínez and my mother-in-law Zenaida Gamboa for 20 years, training children and adolescents in terms of traditional Venezuelan culture, emphasizing the Barloventeña. They are currently part of the main actors in the traditions of my Tacarigua people. It is an arduous work in favor of the diffusion of the same ”.
His wife is an active part of the Cultural development of the young people of Barlovento, here we could say that “Next to a great man goes a great woman”?
“When one is passionate and responsible with what he does, with his profession, his home, that is accompanied by a great companion, I thank my wife very much, a large part of who I am and what I have achieved is accompanied by her great support, she is passionate about what she does, and that gives me a lot of strength ”.
Salsa and Venezuelan Folklor take you by the hand, how does it unfold between these two worlds?
“Despite the fact that they are two different worlds and from different markets, I have tried to take them by the hand, since from a very young age I was linked with the tradition of my town and the Barloventeño region in general, participating in the demonstrations held throughout of the holiday calendar. The salsa world has helped me understand and handle our culture in a more respectful way through arrangements, compositions, and also when interpreting it”.
How do you see the sauce right now?
“Salsa has always had a special place. It is a genre that will never go out of style. We must thank the DJs very much, who, whether they like it or not, have been a fundamental part of the salsa being maintained over time, since the media have lost that interest in promoting and promoting new salsa talents for their music. respective development.
In Venezuela the salsa movement has suffered a lot, since orchestras and producers have had little support at the level of the music industry, since it has diverted its attention to urban genres, which according to them is the most commercial. Despite all this panorama, many musicians, singers, producers have made efforts to continue working in favor of Venezuelan salsa with what we call “record pocket” -hahaha-. All this so that his musical work does not remain only in a dream ”.
Barlovento and its sauce, what can you tell us about “Trabuco Barlovento”? “Trabuco Barlovento is an initiative of my cousin Richard Frías. He told me one day at a salsa concert held in Mamporal, seeing that the great stars were accompanied by musicians from Barlovento, -with all those musicians who are there you can make a blunderbuss that represents Barlovento- and that is how the group was born ” Trabuco Barlovento ”, with more than 10 years of artistic life and 1 recording production to be finished.
I remember that among those musicians who accompanied the artists were Rodolfo Rada (trumpet), Ángel González (saxophone), Darlin Palacios (trombone), among others who are today the fundamental pillar of this group. It has 14 members, where I work as the musical director and main arranger of this prestigious group”.
Orlando Poleo, a national and international percussion reference. What anecdotes do you have of his training with him?
“Orlando Poleo arrived in Tacarigua in 1986 as a percussion teacher at the” Nicomedes Marrero “Cultural Training Center, which was a great experience for me, since he was venturing into the world of Afro-Caribbean music”.
“I remember that once he came with his orchestra“ Casino ”and as he was quite advanced in his classes, he rewarded me by playing a song. It was the glory for me to play with the maestro. It was a great experience for the musicians of Tacarigua and other nearby towns because it helped improve playing techniques and understanding of the use of the clave. Much of that learning I apply to create arrangements. ”
He is a teacher and a student, what is more difficult for you to teach or learn?
“Both are difficult, because to teach well you must learn well.”
You are working with a new musical proposal. What do you have in store for us with the Mulato en Rumba project?
“Mulato en Rumba is my biggest bet. This movement has more than 15 years, began as “Alex Sánchez and his Orchestra” to accompany artists and participate in ¬estas and salsa events in the area. One day recording for another orchestra, we met my brother Edward Plater, my compadre Yoryi Pacheco and I fine-tuning details of what we had already recorded. We saw each other’s faces and said -Why don’t we make an orchestra that is ours? -; we always record and produce for others ”.
“It is then that we decided to set up and start this musical project with our own songs composed by Yoryi Pacheco and myself and arrangements made by me as well. The main members are: Yoryi Pacheco (singer), Edward Plater (trumpet), José Madera Niño (tumbadora), Jonal Rivero (trombone), Rodolfo Frías (bassist) and Alex Sánchez (trumpet, piano and musical direction). Soon our first record production will be ready, which has been done uphill because it is financed by “Pocket record”
That name sounds like ¬esta, joy and sauce. How was the name Mulato born in Rumba?
“This name was given to him by my friend and brother Cheo Linares. I told him that we had a new project and he told me
-The mulattoes are going to start partying in Barlovento- and from that moment we call ourselves “Mulato en Rumba”.
Creativity is in decline in Venezuela, you are a composer and arranger and many of the Salsa orchestras are betting on versions or tributes, they do not risk innovating, creating or inventing. What do you think about this matter?
“I think that covering is very fashionable, I think that for many people it is easier to live attached to the shadow of another than to risk producing their own.
Perhaps it is fear of failure due to the lack of support for the artist that exists in our country. There are those who do take risks and bet on other markets (other countries), where the appetite for good music is always thanks to the fact that in those countries there are people eager for new things. In our country that culture of wanting to hear something new and as the saying goes: “-No one is a prophet in his land-” has been lost.
If you bet on innovating and creating, what are the themes of your production?
“We have 10 songs, 2 versions and the other 8 songs are unpublished, we bet on ourselves, not to be in the shadow of others, here the lyrics and music are by José Madera Niño, and my person, Yoryi Pacheco also writes some of the topics. In the version of “Tú mi Delirio” I sing ”.
“The song, get ready, Dancer, the lyrics and the music are by Freddy Junior Solórzano.”
The support of the media is important to show the work done by national talent. Do you feel that there is little dissemination by the media to show the work done by the different groups?
“-Well-, in previous questions I have said that there is no support from the mass media. Hopefully that will end one day and they give importance to Venezuelan music and talent as much as they give it abroad.
La Payola, many criticize it and want it to disappear, however, there are musicians who contribute to this scourge that hurts everyone. Would you ever pay to play?
“I don’t agree with the Payola. Colleagues have told me that if they have done it that it is a rather shameful situation, since many times they have to play without any remuneration in exchange for playing on the radios several times a month. Personally, I would never pay for what he calls Payola ”.
What would be the good and not so good things about this beautiful but tough profession?
“I think there are more good things than bad things, and more when we take music as a profession. The musical world is very satisfying, since it makes you live unique experiences that fill your soul and spirit with joy ”.
Teacher, musician, arranger, music producer What do you feel you need to do?
“Learn, learn and keep learning to make good music and also be able to make” Mulato en Rumba “recognized nationally and internationally.”
His daughters have grown up in an environment full of music, tradition, folklore, they have the musical vein Sánchez, would you like them to be musicians, what legacy would you leave them?
“Hopefully they decide to be musicians, I would never force them to do something they don’t want to, because I think that everyone should do what they really like and are passionate about. The legacy that I will leave you will be all I can do in my musical life, since a large part of what I do is for my family. My daughters at their young ages have already been immersed in the artistic world, they sing, dance and participate in the cultural manifestations of our people. ”
In a word, who is Alex Sánchez?
Barlovento and Venezuela in one sentence
“My homeland, My Dear Homeland”.
Eiling Blanco Latin America Corresponded