Ángel Gaston Joya Perellada, better known in the artistic world as Gaston Joya, is considered one of the best contrabass players in Cuba. There is no doubt about this statement, because those who have had the good fortune of listening to it see it passing comfortably from the most classical to the most popular music, transiting through different styles and genres.
Born in Guanabacoa in a family of artists, with only 4 years he played the piano and the electric bass. At age 7, he began to study the cello specialty academically and at 10 he began the study of the double bass definitively.
According to him, he refers to shyness on the surface, played the contrabass imitating his father and recognizes that he was always fascinated by his virtuosity. But his inclination towards the instrument was strengthened under the influence of the teacher Orlando Cachaito López, one of his paradigms, and Feliciano Arango.
In 2005 he finishes the specialty with a Gold Title at the Art Institute of Havana and begins his ascent to glory.
Brief artistic review
• Member of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Gran Teatro de La Habana.
• Founder of the Chamber Orchestra of Havana.
• Member of the Latin American Philharmonic Orchestra.
• Member of the band Afrocuban Messengers directed by Chucho Valdés.
But, in addition, he has shared scenarios inside and outside the country with artists and groups such as Omara Portuondo, Leo Brouwer, Joe Lovano, the Buena Vista Social Club Orchestra, Eliades Ochoa, Frank Fernandez, Sintesis Group, Mark Levine, Winton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Orchestra, Calle 13, Brussels Philharmonic and Sting, among many others.
He has been part of record productions not only as an instrumentalist, but as a composer and arranger. For example, with the album Sin fronteras recorded with the group Afrocuban Messengers, he was nominated to the Grammy Award. In addition, he has participated in multiple festivals, master classes and concerts in several countries in Europe, North America and Latin America.
Awards and distinctions
• First Place in the category of interpretation of the International Competition for Young Jazzists (Jojazz 2006).
• Cubadisco Award in the category Ópera Prima by Gastón Joya, 2014.
• Distinction for the National Culture, 2017.
• New Day with Harold López Nussa.
• Sounds of Space with Alfredo Rodríguez.
• One Takes and Cubafonía with Daymé Arocena.
• The Rhythm (in solitary).
Gastón Joya shines on the scene
He does not consider himself a jazz player, but a defender of alternative music and feels a great admiration for the music of Lecuona and Bola de Nieve. He also advocates to create in the Cuban academies the chair of popular music. According to Gaston Joya, the fact of not having a popular school has forced Cuban musicians to seek their own ways of doing things. And this, precisely, makes them global and different without losing their identity.
Gastón Joya has become a “heavyweight” of nowadays music and has given to the contrabass a new dimension. He has turned it from an accompanying instrument into an essential protagonist of the musical scene.
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