Our January article for Being Latino focuses on Elio Villafranca, a Grammy-nominated Afro-Cuban Jazz pianist.
To say that Elio Villafranca is a jazz pianist doesn’t quite capture the enormity of what the piano represents to him. For Elio, playing the piano is the embodiment of his soul. It lies at the core of who he is.
In his words, “It’s a liberation, piano is like my other half. It’s true, it’s not a cliché. When I get to play the piano, I feel one half already full, but if I do my things (daily routine) and I haven’t played the piano, I feel completely half empty, unbalanced.”
Elio is quite centered, disciplined and gracious. With years of classical piano training in his homeland, Cuba, and a daily practice routine of at least four hours, Elio Villafranca has earned the distinction of being at the vanguard of the current generation of Cuban pianists and musicians developing an international modern jazz sound.
His most recent album, Dos y Mas, is a piano and percussion collaboration with fellow Cuban musician Arturo Stable. Released last year to great critical acclaim, Dos y Mas honors the musical heritages of Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Spain and Cuba. Read more