5

Ramon Valle: The Amsterdam transplant remains rooted in Cuba

Joan Gannij By

Sign in to view read count
When he first landed in the Netherlands, nobody cared. "The confrontation was something I had never felt. After my first appearance at the North Sea Jazz Festival, people hugged me afterward and I felt proud. I thought, wow, this feels special." One gig led to another and Valle was soon playing the Bimhuis and other venues. Through another series of fateful occurrences, he crossed paths with 'a beautiful Dutch woman' who would become his life and music partner, and the mother of their son and daughter. Ramon Valle remains beloved by Dutch audiences and during one of his spring gigs at the Concertgebouw (in an improvised jazz cellar), he improvised a whimsical version of a Dutch folk classic, ''On the Canals of Amsterdam'' that turned into a spontaneous singalong. Afterwards as the well-wishers departed, he reflected on his second home and said: "I've learned many things here, to live in a country like the Netherlands with its wind and rain, and to come from a warm summertime country like Cuba. But both of them are right, and when you combine the power that each brings, you get really strong. Yes, the light and the sun makes a difference, but you need the structure in the Netherlands. You have to prepare for the winter or you die. In Cuba, you're always in the present." He illustrates his point by doing a spirited intro to Beethoven's Fifth, Duh Duh Duh Daah! And then segues into a verse of the Buena Vista Social Club hit, Chan Chan. It's like yin and yang."

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Dazzling Alexis Cole Catching Up With The Dazzling Alexis Cole
by Suzanne Lorge
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Alex Han: Embracing The Spirit Catching Up With Alex Han: Embracing The Spirit
by Liz Goodwin
Published: October 4, 2017
Read Ramon Valle: The Amsterdam transplant remains rooted in Cuba Catching Up With Ramon Valle: The Amsterdam transplant remains rooted in Cuba
by Joan Gannij
Published: October 3, 2017
Read Dara Tucker: Seeds of the Divine Catching Up With Dara Tucker: Seeds of the Divine
by Suzanne Lorge
Published: August 31, 2017
Read Jan Zehrfeld: Heavy Jazz Catching Up With Jan Zehrfeld: Heavy Jazz
by Phillip Woolever
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Martin Torgoff Discuss Bop Apocalypse" Catching Up With Martin Torgoff Discuss Bop Apocalypse
by Steve Provizer
Published: May 14, 2017
Read "Ramon Valle: The Amsterdam transplant remains rooted in Cuba" Catching Up With Ramon Valle: The Amsterdam transplant remains rooted in Cuba
by Joan Gannij
Published: October 3, 2017
Read "Ernest Stuart: One Step Ahead" Catching Up With Ernest Stuart: One Step Ahead
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Steely Dan's Jon Herington and Jim Beard" Catching Up With Steely Dan's Jon Herington and Jim Beard
by Mike Jacobs
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Cathing up with Lee Konitz" Catching Up With Cathing up with Lee Konitz
by Lazaro Vega
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Kurt Rosenwinkel: Caipirinhas and Constellations" Catching Up With Kurt Rosenwinkel: Caipirinhas and Constellations
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 30, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.