In Cuba’s mountainous eastern region, far from Havana’s pre-revolution nightlife, Eliades Ochoa’s musical roots were formed in the Cuban countryside and from the music of his family’s humble farm community. Playing guitar since age 6, Eliades was raised listening to the stories of those times, playing at farmers dances, and developing his expressive, unaffected musical style.
Salsa and mambo dance rhythms are vintage Cuba, but Eliades’ indigenous son style is where syncopated clave rhythms and short vocal refrains suggest the true story of Cuba’s troubadour legacy and the divergence of African and Hispanic cultures. In Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, Eliades’ memorable voice in the son composition Chan Chan symbolized Cuba’s international musical revival and the song was the first track on the group’s eponymous album of 1997.
In 2017-18, Eliades will tour in the U.S. with Cuarteto Patria, a band founded in 1939 and now led by Eliades and infused with his sense of musical adventure.