“I want to have a million of friends and singing louder that way”… That small chorus gives a clue to all those readers who want to know the name of the invited artist of the Estaciones program. It constitutes an honor to share our microphones with José Valladares, who is one of the most charismatic composers and singers of the romantic music genre, along with the regular presenter of the program, Virgen Ojeda.
Their conversation covered all the professional life of that important figure of the Cuban song that is now turning 42 years of artistic career.”
“I am from Villa Clara, but I was raised in Havana since I was a child. My father sang in the best bands of the center of the island, and my parents were trying to settle in Havana city given there were some bands asking him to work for them.”
At that time, it was compulsory to learn the repertoire of the bands, taking into account that you were not allowed to interpret your own songs. However, there is a kind of collective repertoire at present in which the work is daily improved through the contribution given by all the members of the band.” Valladares pointed out.
He was only eight or nine years of age when he felt interested for the world of composition, although he did not considered himself as a born singer, he had skills to create quick lyrics that used to rhyme properly with the context of a song. He heard many sayings, but there is one of them that comes into his mind and says.”The cat has got four paws and takes only a path.” This singer of generations keeps his path despite its obstacles.
Valladares ´s childhood was beautiful and has really beautiful memories from that period. He called himself as an adventurer and mischievous child who used to steal fruits in the countryside. That idyllic period changed suddenly when the diabetes disease that was suffering his father became more intense. He was 12 or 13 years of age when he assumed the responsibility about the economic support of his family and this is why he had to work in diverse jobs.
“I worked in a butcher´s as an assistant. I also carried a kind of collecting box in a bus in which I was accompanied by a group of friends. I mean, I used to sing the songs that people used to ask me and that was the way I found in order to save the money I needed to go to the cinema. Besides, I also gave my services, during my working period as an assistant, for Benny Moré who was friend of my father to the extent of having considered Benny as a real true artist of the scene,” Valladares commented.
Valladares attempted the attitude entrance tests of the Amadeo Roldán conservatory and passed them. He began his professional training there where he also had the opportunity to share the stage with Cuban music figures such as The Papines band, Raúl Gómez, Mireya Ojeda and Los Britos, among others, and at the same time he worked simultaneously as an operator of teletype for Prensa Latina news agency.
Valladares added the fact that his period working for the aforementioned news agency was useful for his creative work. He met there journalists that helped him to increase his knowledge on writing that was later used by him within the design and structure of his compositions. Besides, Beatriz Márquez and Chávez sang one of his songs.
“The Reyes band asked me to compose a song for them, but their singer´s voice did not match with the musical arrangement, then I assumed the interpretation, and to my surprise, the song became a real hit. It spent two weeks in the first place of the most popular songs in Radio Progreso and Radio Rebelde stations,” Valladares said.
Valladares ´music has transcended time. The composer has achieved to create songs that are part of the national musical records at present time. There are some of his compositions that have surpassed the borders and were presented in different international sceneries.
Singers such as Rey Ruiz, Lucecita Benítez, Marco Antonio Muñiz and Sergio Vargas have given new tones of interpretation of his songs. His music also reached some Colombian cities and Cuban bands have internationalized it.
Valladares attempted to dances, where he listened to guaracha, son, bolero, cumbia, ballenato and other local musical genres. The observation of the aforementioned genres was useful for him as a technique to improve his work given it allows him to differentiate some rhythms from others.
Valladares adds as an example, “I finish a romantic song such as the one entitled Acuérdate de mí and later I begin with the parranda genre with has a different sonority. Therefore, this implies a great challenge given that each musical genre has its own rhythm and sonority.”
The composer of countless ballads is feeling satisfied with his career and thanks the Estaciones program for having opened its doors for him as well as having allowed him to know the opinion of the public. Then he finally said:
“I am going to make compositions until the last minute of my life, new songs that bring messages of love and happiness that is what everyone needs to listen to at present time.” By Livhy Barceló Vázquez