Latin America / Lima / Peru
Veruska Verdu “The only formula to keep the Salsero genre alive is to give support and credibility to the next generation”
Despite her youth, Veruska Verdu knows where she is going, without forgetting the roots where she comes from, this young woman has an interpretative strength and intensity that made her be considered by Peruvian critics as “The new Voice of Venezuela”, we do not doubt it , sings salsa and bolero very well, in addition to strolling through Afro-Venezuelan rhythms. In Venezuela, we enjoyed many of his presentations with the different orchestras with which he worked, and we witnessed how he left his soul in each one of his presentations and performances.
His greatest musical influence has been Celia Cruz and Oscar de León in terms of the salsa genre, and in the Afro-Venezuelan genre he admires Betsayda Machado and the Experimental group “Vasallos de Venezuela”. She tells us that, “in her family there are no musicians”, her grandmother and grandfather were rumberos and she believes that the musical vein comes from there, thanks to her grandparents, and to have the unconditional support of her parents and relatives, who have helped him get to where he is.
From Afro-Venezuelan music to salsa, from Barlovento to Caracas, from Venezuela to internationalization, this is how her career goes, in constant growth and evolution, nothing stops her from demonstrating her artistic quality and continuing to establish herself in this tough market.
Barlovento has a rich folk manifestation, all this mix of rhythms is in Veruska’s blood, therefore, she likes rumba, partying, music.
“What a black rock, how does she get into the rumba”
How were your musical beginnings?
“In my town of La Balsa, in the Panaquire parish, it was there that I began to sing music of the Afro-Venezuelan genre, thanks to Professor Adrián Méndez, I began to participate in the “Canta Claro” Festivals, in the cultural activities that were held, They invited me and I went, I had great support from my teacher, my school teachers, my family and the residents of the town”.
“I continued with my popular singing training at the high school, I participated in the high school voice representing my municipality Acevedo and the high school where I studied, I met my guide teacher Richard Rivero, who invited me to participate in the Afro-Venezuelan music group “Ritual Negro de Barlovento”, where I had the opportunity to travel and learn more about this beautiful genre that identifies us as Venezuelans”.
After this beginning, how was your evolution?
“I went to Caracas to work with other groups, among them are; Drum Show from Venezuela, Caña y Miel, Autochthonous from La Vega, Freddy Madera, Grupo Cosecha, Grupo la Calenda, among others”. “I received an invitation from some friends whom I love Miroslava Torres and Fernando Mozas very much, they encouraged me to join the Venezuelan Orchestra “Simón Bolívar”, I took them at their word, I auditioned and stayed, I participated for a time with the orchestra, I learned much more of our genre, stepped on stages that I had no idea I could step on”.
“Then my singing teacher Corina Peña motivated me to participate with the “Latino Caribeña Simón Bolívar” Orchestra, thank God I auditioned and I also stayed.”
Tell us about your time with the “Simón Bolívar” Latin Caribbean Orchestra?
“The teacher Alberto Vergara saw my interest in belonging to the orchestra, just that day the Venezuelan lyrical singer Iván García was arriving, who was going to sing in a musical project called “Negrísimo”, the teacher gave me the opportunity to be participated. of this great concert with García”.
“Later came more concerts with the orchestra, many learnings with maestro Vergara, for me he is number one, he is super important in my life, he helped me open my senses towards the music of the Latin Caribbean genre, love it, respect it, I give it thank you for giving me the opportunity to belong to the orchestra, for being part of the row of singers”.
“With the “Latino Caribeña” Orchestra, I stepped on incredible stages just like with the Afro-Venezuelan one, but here it was another level, another feeling, feeling the euphoria of the public that likes salsa, moving so many people, transmitting to so many people, thanks to the orchestra many people have known me and support me”.
So the “Simón Bolívar” Latin Caribbean Orchestra has been a springboard for his career.
“Of course, it has been the showcase to show the gift that God gave me, to all those who value this beautiful feeling and support me, I must thank all the teachers, all those who have been there for my musical growth, the orchestra It will never cease to be present in my career, in my present, in my future, I will always be grateful for it, thanks to it I met the teacher Alfredo Naranjo and his Guajeo, who took me into account to participate in his project”.
How did you feel working alongside Alfredo Naranjo?
“With Maestro Naranjo I got the proposal to do my first concert, which was called “Caminando”, this was in the Experimental room of the “Bod Cultural Center”, he likes things to go well, he left me a great learning to work with his side”. “The concert was super nice, I had as a guest Alfredo, my godfather Rodrigo Mendoza and my great brother musician par excellence and multi percussionist “Patatín” Guacaran, I also had the opportunity to meet Edgar “Dolor” Quijada, Soledad Bravo and Rafael “The “Chicken” Brito”.
Your career has been constantly on the rise, how has your time in the different groups been?
“I participated in a project called “Ellas son Boleros”, with Anais Torrealba, Gisela Guedez, with professor Corina Peña, I was with all those bolero ladies in Venezuela, this was under the production of David Peña “Zancudo”. “On the other hand, Carlos Padrón was there, he called me to participate in the 10th anniversary of Rumberos del Callejón, I feel very happy, because Domingo Quiñones, Maelo Ruiz, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Luis Fernando Borjas, Memo Arroyave, Gonzalo Díaz participated there. , wow!, a lot of people who have years of experience and I am like the puppy of the project, and look, however, Carlos believed in my talent and made me be part of his production”.
“I was with the Sopranos for a while, on the album that won the Pepsi Music Awards (Decade), my choirs are out there, with Sonero Clásico del Caribe, a Son institution in our country.”
How have you felt taking on these challenges?
“It has been tremendous, to have the support of some tremendous musicians who are legends, “Nene” Quintero, the pianist par excellence Pedro Pérez, very cool, in all those groups that I have been thanks to the projection I had with the Latin Caribbean Orchestra and my commitment day by day to all this”.
Apart from singing, do you play any instrument?
“I had a short time at the Bigott Foundation, they taught me certain things to learn to compose, I like to play the guitar, and now I am dabbling in the bass”.
From Afro-Venezuelan music to salsa, how was that transition?
“We are not very far away, remember that Afro music its main root is the drum, just like in the Caribbean genre, in salsa, the root is the percussive, the blows, the leather, the key, the swing, that taste, that sense of enjoying what you do, rather the Afro-Venezuelan genre helped me a lot because of the free way of singing.”
“I feel freedom when singing salsa, because I learned in Afro-Venezuelan music how to improvise, to have that ability, I have enjoyed it, in some shows I remember any verse from some party or ass e` puya and singing salsa I say it, it is “cheveroski” as they say around here”.
Did you ever think that being so young you would be next to many who have years of musical career and are already recognized in this medium?
“I never imagined it, it is a blessing from heaven, I am just starting out on the path of music, I still have a long way to go, God has given me the blessing and joy of being able to share the stage with El “Pollo” Brito, Edgar “Pain” Quijada, Alfredo Naranjo, Francisco Pacheco, meeting Betzayda Machado, being with Sonero Clásico, Canelita Medina, I feel happy that in my short time I have met wonderful people and been able to share the stage with them, just like here in Peru”.
What do you think of the support for national talent in Venezuela?
“It has been excellent, I feel that right now they are giving credibility to the successor generation, it is very important to give support, it is the only formula for the genre to remain alive, credibility must be given to the one who is being born and has the ability to make music”. “In Venezuela they have given the artist great support.”
You continue to be “Enchanted with life” despite the regrets…
“If everything was placed on a silver platter, there would be no achievements, the greatest satisfaction is hard work and discipline, I am living my experience that seems spectacular to me, I am enjoying my moment, I am learning things that I did not know in its entirety, I am maturing as an artist and as a person.
“All things go through a moment of difficulty, we must always highlight the good things.”
Its jump to Peru a market that is in the musical arena, the critics baptized it as “The new Voice of Venezuela”, What do you think of this?
“I am grateful that in Peru they have that appreciation of me, it feels super good, on each platform that I mount I will give my best, my tricolor goes with me upstairs.”
How has the receptivity of the Peruvian public been?
“It is not easy to arrive in a country and start from scratch, however, it is a matter of continuing to work, to continue showing what we are made of and to make good music, to do a job like a ant, things have flowed in a very good way, I have participated in productions of the master Tito Manrique, Manongo Mujica, I met the people of a group that I greatly admire Peru Negro, they play Afro-Peruvian music, I did concerts with Carlos Mosquera, a super singer, incredible, a blessing from heaven.
“The support of the Peruvian public is always present, what should Veruska do, continue working constantly, I must thank you for having been very receptive to the work that I am doing.”
In Peru they also have payola?
“In the whole world there is payola, this market is managed like this, salsa, merengue, joropo, tango, pop, jazz, reggaeton, you have a good product, but many times you have to “encourage” the person to show it.”
How do you see the salsa movement at the moment?
“It is a good time to continue highlighting our genre, we are in the here and now, ah! which is not the same as in the past, those times do not compare, for me this is a super excellent moment, many people are doing their work, Víctor Cardona, Carlitos Padrón, Pumaband, La Latino Caribeña, right here in Peru, how many new artists they have, all these people have been promoting salsa”.
Tell us about your solo career.
“It has not been easy, but I continue to give my all, thanking the people who have supported me even without knowing me, I must thank Mr. Alberto Vale who has joined this Veruska project and tells me; -black let’s go forward, everything will be fine, -let’s do this, that-”.
Your first musical production “Fusion -Venezuela – Mundo”, which musicians participate in it?
“Sabrosito Así”, is the promotional theme, we wanted to make a very cool fusion, which was reflected there, thanks to Juan Carlos Linares who gave us all the support to materialize this single and that people knew it, I had excellent musicians; Mario Pasmiño as Musical Director, in addition to Patatín Guacaran, Gisel Brito, Gray Peña, Aarón Cabrera, Ángel Peña, Jeison Ascanio and Darwin Latan”. “This experience was great, beautiful, in the Velvet studio.”
Define yourself in one sentence
“Feeling and rumba, I like the alegríadera”.
Venezuela in one sentence
“Good people, hardworking, like my people none.”
Translated by: Thisby Ferrara
By Eiling Blanco, Correspondent for Latin American