Cambón y Candela
23, 2002, Oakland, California
Cambón began his singing career as a soloist and
member of the children's choir when he was 9 years old,
singing at Catholic mass, as well as Tangos and Folkloric
music from his native Uruguay.
he was 14 years old his father gave him a set of bongos,
adding to his fascination for percussion. When he was
15, in 1975, his family left Uruguay for political reasons
and went to live in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There he
attended the university and graduated as a professor
of Physical Education as well as beginning to study Afro-Cuban
percussion, especially Congas (Tumbadoras), inspired
by the music of Carlos Santana, Eddie Palmieri, Ruben
Blades Willie Colón, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz,
...basically what is known as the "Salsa Brava"
of New York.
beginnings of his musical career in Europe
a week before the conflict between Argentina and England
began over the Falkland Islands (Las Islas Malvinas),
Edgardo managed to leave Buenos Aires for Europe, taking
with him his percussion instruments and a desire to establish
himself there and live off of his music on the old continent.
his arrival in Sweden, he played with an Uruguayan Candombe
band that also played some salsa and jazz. It was called
Latin Lover, with the renowned Uruguayan Saxophone
player, Hector Bingert, who still lives and plays in
Stockholm was cold and Edgardo wanted to head south,
so he jumped on a train with his suitcase and his three
congas, arriving in Berlin, Germany, just in time for
the Horizon Festival. As he came out of the train
station he happened to bump into some Uruguayan musicians
who were going to play in the festival. He ended up playing
with them there and in a pub, Mi Salsa, in West
Berlin for a month before continuing on to Amsterdam,
where he stayed until 1986.
never played in Uruguay with my band, but it is one of
1987 Candela was formed with an original format of trombone
and vibraphone, following in Joe Cuba's footsteps. The
present format is more for the dancer, but without drums
- with the traditional TIMBAL, CONGA and BONGÓ.
"It is a small group with a big sound," says
Edgardo. "We have three percussionists who sing,
a bass player, a piano, three trombones and an additional
vocalist. We play original tunes as well as songs from
Eddie Palmieri, Los Van Van, Willie Colón, Rubén
Blades, Guaco and more. I don't limit myself to playing
only original music. If I like it, I will play songs
from other musicians, but I don't choose only those tunes
that are in vogue. They could be old songs, but I give
them my special touch."
1989 he traveled to Cuba for the first time where he
heard Los Van Van and met José Luis "Changuito"
Quintana, the percussionist from Los Van Van.
It was in Cuba that he first began to learn about the
Santería religion through the sacred rhythms known
as Batá. Octavio Rodríguez in Cuba,
Mike Spiro and David Frazier in the United States helped
him along this path.
the 90's, Edgardo's music took a decided focus toward
the Cuban sound. Even so, his singing style was very
influenced by groups like Guaco, Pete "el
Conde" Rodríguez, Los Van Van, Issac
Delgado, Oscar D'León and Ruben Blades.
Amsterdam he played with Salsa
Caliente, the Rubén Salas Orchestra,
and Evolution 2000 as a singer. For the following
year he played with Jaime Ross, Candombe-Pop,
Murga and Folkloric music from Uruguay, but it wasn't
until a festival in Vienna when Rubén Salas lost
his voice and Edgardo took his place as lead singer.
It was also in Amsterdam that he began his first group,
Bululú. They played Candombe, salsa, samba,
reggae in Spanish, and began to develop their own songs.
Their first salsa album was launched in Uruguay in 1990,
called Barrio Sur.
have always had the same kind of problems. It is a paradox
between what the market wants and what the artist wants."
have seen artists who have made musical sacrifices. They
jump on the 'Formula Train' to see if anyone notices
them. Instead of following their heart together with
their musical intuition, they shoot themselves in the
proverbial foot by doing the commercial thing. There
is very little creativity and originality, with a few
Rumba, Padre Son
Read a review of this CD on SalsaPower
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underground DJs play Madre Rumba, Padre Son.
But nowadays, nobody is discovering new artists. There
is an enormous gap between the occasional musician and
the world-renowned musician and the artist is very alone
when trying to make that transition."
has already helped me to open some of those doors! Not
everything great has to come from those 3 or 4 major
record labels. There is a lot of great music in the (San
Francisco) Bay area. The dilemma is how to make the radio
stations play more of the music from the emerging groups.
The public wants to hear what the radio is playing."
this sense, the internet has helped to give the public
access to free songs, and that way they get to know us.
I prefer to give my music away and have people hear it
in the farthest corners of the earth, than to sit here
and wait to be discovered."
Internet can launch you at a global level as an artist.
an artist doesn't have financial backing, they don't
give you your own section in the record store. "Payola"
still exists. I have seen a price list for "radio
airplay" and it covers various levels: Large Cities
or the University Circuit. I sell more CDs on the internet
than through my distributor. The Internet can launch
you at a global level as an artist."
you have a big label behind you, but you don't have an
attorney fighting for your rights, you don't make money.
If you are with a small label, you don't make money!
The artist has to support himself. We have families,
we have to pay the rent, our bills. It takes a lot of
hours. Let me give you an example, a week in my life:
I rehearse and play with Candela, Los
Compas, Keith Terry & Crosspulse, Rebeca
Mauleón, LaTiDo (a traditional
son cuartet) and I give percussion classes at Folsom
State Prison, besides a weekly percussion workshop and
between 5 and 10 private classes to students.
Davies, age 12, of Albany, California,
takes percussion classes with Edgardo
artist always has to generate new students and in that
way create a new audience."
give them the key to a new life. I only hope that it
gives them one fourth of the happiness that music has
given me. In return I ask that they dedicate themselves
to their art and that they rehearse and practice."
would advise new groups not to sell themselves for less
money just to get themselves into a club's rotation,
and in the process screw all of us. The most insulting
thing is when they ask you, "How much?" and
you say, "$xxx", and they ask, "How many
musicians?" What they are trying to do is to undervalue
the final product. It doesn't matter how many musicians
there are. The price is for the group, not the number
live off of the private circuit.
can appreciate Latin musicians more than Latinos? The
Gringos can! They are the ones who pay us what we are
worth, treat us well and buy our CDs. I want my music
to be heard in Taiwan, China, Rusia... wherever! I live
more off of the private circuit, the weddings, the private
parties and the festivals. Unfortunately the clubs can't
pay what Candela is worth."
challenge for musicians
biggest challenge for musicians is to stay close to the
flame, the CANDELA! It is also to stay away from
the adversities of the market, the conflictive personalities.
Those who keep this in mind are the ones who are successful.
The ones who make it are the ones who don't become chameleons
just to please whatever momentary trend, the ones who
don't sell their souls."
soon Edgardo y Candela will launch their newest
CD called, "De Ayer y de Hoy",
with 6 tunes from their first album ("Ilusiones",
1990, only available in Uruguay) and 6 new tunes.
Cambón - Congas and lead vocalsl
Jeff Cressman - Trombone
Marty Deitrich - Trombone
John Gove - Trombone
Julio Areas - Timbales
Eric Rangel - Bongó
David Belove - Bass
Bob Karty - Piano
Sandy Cressman - Vocals
Invited Guests -
Abel Figueroa - Trombone
Vilató with Edgardo Cambón as
they get ready to go play together!
--San Francisco, California, June, 2002
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