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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Carlos Peña
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Describe the atmosphere and live music at a local pub, restaurant, festival, church or temple, club night.... inspire other people to check it out!

Musician: Carlos Peña

Location: Edinburgh

Instruments: percussion / voice

Music: Salsa / Bolero

Listen  Listen (3'38) to Carlos Peña play 'Guasasa Pa'Ti'

'I gave my first performance on a Venezuelan TV show when I was 7 years old'

How I came to this music:

I've loved music and singing since I was very young, and I gave my first performance on a Venezuelan TV show when I was 7 years old. As a teenager, I played as a Carlos Peñadrummer in a rock band, and we toured across the country. My first experience of Salsa came a few years later, at 16, when I joined a band called 'Los Melomanos', in which I sang and played percussion.As soon as I finished my studies I took up music professionally. During my career I have played with a number of bands, including 'Siguaraya', 'Explosion Latina', 'Grupo X' and 'Orquesta La Clave'. Oscar d'Leon himself invited me to join his group, and I spent three years playing and touring with him. I also played with the great Ismael Ribera ('El Sonero Mayor'), in Maracay, Venezuela; he was my guide and my inspiration, and taught and advised me well. One of my proudest moments was when I played with the Gran Combo of Puerto Rico, in London's Equinox Club.

For me, music is the clearest way I have to communicate with the public, whom I respect and love, and I am grateful to them for the support and affection they show for me.

Where I play:

Now I play with a band called 'Carlos Pena and Hot Charanga Sauce', based in Edinburgh. In this group, I think we've found the perfect combination of musicians and styles. We play exciting Latin American rhythms, including Salsa, smooth Bolero, Guaguanco, Chachacha and Son. We work all over the country doing festivals and gigs. Some of our favourite haunts are El Barrio and Henry's Cellar Bar in Edinburgh, and Cuba Norte in Glasgow.

A favourite song:

As well as singing and drumming, I am also a composer and writer, and I'm going to choose one of my own, 'Guasasa Pa'Ti'. It was inspired by someone in the audience who asked for a tasty rhythm, and I started playing it there and then on the stage. The other musicians followed me, and the song was born. Most of my songs are inspired that way, they grow spontaneously out of situations around me.

Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story

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