The versatility, trajectory, and professionalism of this musician and composer, born in the capital of Venezuela, make him one of the most important and sought-after salsa bastions in the country.
This time comes to Salsa Escrita “La Columna Salsera de Barquisimeto”, the outstanding trombonist Eliel Rivero Rivas, who was born on April 3, 1961, and already has an artistic life with more than 40 years; for this and many reasons, we bring to our readers a complete review about “El Chamán del Trombón”, as he is jokingly nicknamed by his musical friends.
Eliel, welcome to the salsa column, which is currently dedicated to providing information on the happenings of Afro-Caribbean music and therefore also projects and makes known nationally and globally the musical talent here.
Thank you very much Professor Carlos Colmenárez, for giving me this opportunity to share with you and all the regular readers of your prestigious Salsa Escrita “La Columna Salsera de Barquisimeto”, and to spread my career.
To begin with, we want to know how were your beginnings in music? -My life was surrounded by music since I was a child since my grandfather Pablo Emilio Rivas was the first tuba player of the Symphonic Orchestra of Venezuela, besides that in the family gatherings we listened from symphonic music to the most emblematic Caribbean artists of the moment, and so on, until I lived in Los Frailes de Catia, Macapaya sector, there was “La Dimensión Latina” and I was captivated by a cover where the trombone was shown, I think it was Dimensión Latina 76, and since that time I said, I would like to learn to play that instrument, but I did not do it because it was so expensive to buy one. Until one day Rodrigo Mendoza, who had just joined Dimensión Latina and who lived in front of my house, heard me playing a trombone solo of the song “Yo tenía una mujer” by Roberto Roena in a meeting that we often had and he told me: start studying that instrument.
From then on my musical career began, I was able to buy a trombone and thus began this beautiful story that I enjoy to this day, thanks to the support of my family. I began to have contact with many musicians in the area, among them, Johán Muñoz, a brother sent to me by God, Antonio Acevedo “Toñito”, son of maestro Dugarte, trombonist of the Sinfónica Venezuela and Alberto Crespo, who also lived in Los Cuatro Vientos de los Frailes.
We all followed the trajectory of orchestras and musicians that rehearsed in the area such as “La Banda y su Salsa Joven”, “La Renovación”, we followed the steps of Alejandro Pérez Palma, Faustino González, Enrique Blanco “El Bachaco”, César Monjes “Albóndiga”, José Antonio Rojas “Rojitas”, Nené and Taíto Piñango and many more. From that moment I began to take my course as a trombonist with seriousness and professionalism until today.
Eliel, where did you study music and with whom? My friend Carlos, I studied theory and solfeggio at the Musical Association of the Federal District with maestros Daniel Contramaestre and Daniel Milano.
I continued my training at the “Simón Bolívar” Conservatory of Music, directed by maestro José Antonio Abreu, and at the “José Ángel Lamas” music school, under the guidance of professors Ángelo Pagliuca, Tiero Pezutti, Antonio Estévez, Erick Colón, among others.
I continued my professional and work training with the “Simón Bolívar” Symphony Orchestra for 40 years, sharing with different masters of national and international music.
At the same time, I had the opportunity to participate as an active or guest musician in national and international orchestras of the salsa genre.
Now that you mention the salsa genre, with which orchestras and vocalists have you participated? Professor, at the national level, apart from the Simón Bolívar Symphony, Municipal Symphony, Venezuelan Symphony and Caracas Philharmonic, I have been on stage with: Bailatino, Oscar D’León, El Pavo Frank, Mariana, Marianella, Andy Durán, Cheo Navarro con Tributo, la Banda Sigilosa, Orlando Poleo, Hildemaro, Alfredo Naranjo y su Guajeo, Silva y Guerra, Saxomanía, Trina Medina, Orlando Watussi, Magia Caribeña, Moisés Daubaterre with Grupo Mango, Bacheo, Servando y Florentino, Naty y su Orquesta, La Negramenta, El Trabuco Venezolano, La Nueva Parranda, Canelita Medina, Javier Plaza, Guarará, among other participations to which I have been invited.
And as for international artists and groups, which ones have you worked with? My friend Carlos, I have had the honor of accompanying: Gilberto Santa Rosa, Celia Cruz, Justo Betancourt, Nino Segarra, Eddie Santiago, Willie González, Roberto Lugo, Ismael Miranda, Maelo Ruiz, Cheo Feliciano, Paquito de Rivera, Andy Montañez and in relation to artists outside the salsa genre: Rafael, Andrea Bocelli and José Luis Rodríguez “El Puma”.
Excellent and admirable career Eliel, now, what can you tell us about who you have recorded with? Indeed Carlos, I have made recordings with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, Música Latinoamericana, Bailatino, El Pavo Frank, Naty y su Orquesta, Victor Quintana, Rumberos del Callejon, Bacheo, Un Solo Pueblo, Trina Medina, Saxomania, La Dimension Latina with Joseito Rodriguez, La Negramenta, Orlando Poleo, Carlos Julio “El Oso”, Juan Pablo Barrios, Víctor Cardona y su Máquina de la Salsa, Gilberto Santa Rosa con la Sinfónica Venezuela, Cheo Navarro y su Orquesta Tributo, Francisco Requena, Oscar Dudamel, Otilio Galíndez, Luisito Quintero, among others.
Eliel, what can you tell us about your facet as a composer? I started when I was 13 years old and I have written songs for the following artists: Orquesta Los Satélites de Cheché Mendoza with the song “Sufrí por ti” on the LP Di Corazón, I have also written compositions for the Sabadonga orchestra, Oscar Dudamel, Victor Quintana and most for the Bailatino group, of which the hit “Bailatino llegó” was versioned and recorded by the Hispanic Orchestra of Harlem (SHD) of New York under the name “Baila Latino” on the CD “Viva la Tradición”, Grammy award-winning album.
World Artistic Tours? I have performed in Italy, France, Spain, Japan, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Switzerland, England, Holland, USA, Mexico, Australia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Peru.
At present, what do you do besides being with different orchestras?
Well, Professor Carlos, I am currently involved in pedagogical activities with the trombone, doing master classes and I am a frequent guest in the “Orquesta Nuevo Mundo” of Bogota, directed by Alejandro Orellana, covering symphonic salsa and permanently in the trombone and composer with the group Bailatino.
By the way, how did Cheo Navarro ask you to be part of the staff of musicians of Bailatino y Tributo? In fact, my friend Carlos, that was one night when we were in block 6 of 23 de Enero in Caracas, we greeted each other and he told me that he wanted to make a band to cure us playing the salsa that fed our lives, such as Palmieri, Libre, Mon Rivera, Típica 73, Bobby Rodríguez and others.
And I told him to count on me and since at that time I was playing with Johán Muñoz with Ajoporro of Grupo Mango in private parties, Cheo told me: “Tell Johán if he wants to participate in this project” and the affirmation was not long in coming. As for “Tributo”, the same thing happened, Cheo wanted to record emblematic songs that nurtured his career, and of course, we gave him our support since those of us who recorded in that project are from “Bailatino”.
Finally, what are your social networks? My social networks are Eliel Bailatino on Facebook and eliel_bailatino on Instagram. Concluding, we want to know why that nickname “El Chamán”. Ha, ha, ha, ha, my friend Carlos, that epithet was given to me by my great friends of the “Negramenta” Orchestra. Let me tell you Eliel that for me and for “Salsa Escrita” it was a privilege to have you as a special guest in this issue and from “International Salsa Magazine”, we wish you the best of the best and of course, keep on giving it up with pure tastiness…!
Thank you very much Professor Carlos Colmenárez for this opportunity that you give me and I take this opportunity to send my greetings to the great number of salseros in the city of Barquisimeto and congratulate you for this praiseworthy work of supporting and projecting the musical talent of Venezuela and the world.
Remember not to leave your house…! Until next time and let’s keep on salsing!
Article of Interest: Written Salsa, Barquisimeto’s Salsa Column presents Pamir Guánchez
Photos: courtesy Lisbeth Weffe