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José Hernando's journey with the World Routes Academy begins

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Jose Hernando Noguera Jose Hernando Noguera | 12:45 UK Time, Monday, 6 February 2012

Photo of Egidio Cuadrado (l) and Jose Hernando Noguera

Egidio Cuadrado (l) and José Hernando Noguera


Radio 3's 2012 World Routes Academy protégé is the 19-year-old self-taught virtuoso accordion player José Hernando Noguera – the youngest performer to enter the scheme. His mentor is Egidio Cuadrado, who is based in Bogota, and is regarded as the leading Vallenato accordionist of his generation. This is José's first Blog since his World Routes launch concert on 29 January.

As soon as we got to the arrival gate, Roger started asking me questions and I told him we must focus on the sombreo voltiado. That’s the Vallenato trademark hat. And sure enough, I saw a man with a sombreo at the far end of the corridor and shouted out, 'Yeah that’s Egidio, he’s here!” But turns out it wasn’t him and seeing as Roger recorded this bit for the radio, it was an embarrassing moment (you might hear it on the radio if Roger decides to leave it in the next radio programme broadcast on 11 March). A few minutes later maestro Egidio arrives with his wife Fanny and he isn’t wearing a hat!

It was my first time performing for the BBC and I remember being a nervous wreck, but of course very excited at the same time.  As I sat backstage ready to go on stage, I remember saying to myself 'José, this is your time'. So when the moment came for Damon Albarn to announce me, I was ready and launched into my performance. The best moment was when I played the merengue style with maestro Egidio and my band. It was a wonderful experience. There was a great connection between the musicians which was quite amazing considering we only met once for a rehearsal the day before the launch concert. Playing with maestro Egidio Cuadrado for the first time was a very special moment in my life. A moment I will never forget and will always cherish in my heart.



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