Friday, May 29, 2009

Camilo Ernesto Molina Gaetan

(Oba Ire - Camilo playing caja, Phot Credit: CEMGMusic)

New York has always been fertile ground for young and upcoming talent. As expected Camilo Molina is no exception. A native of El Barrio, Camilo has achieved what most never get to achieve. He has acquired such a proficiency within so many styles of percussion that he has made himself an indispensable asset within the NY percussion scene.

(Tony Rosa and a younger Camilo, Photo Credit: Martin Cohen)

Taken from Camilo's myspace:

Camilo Ernesto Molina Gaetán is an accomplished percussionist of 18 years old and is a graduate of Heritage High School in El Barrio, New York. At the age of two, Camilo began studying with Los Pleneros de la 21 – a community based group dedicated to playing folkloric Puerto Rican music – in their children’s workshop. It was as a student in the workshops where Camilo had met his first teachers: Alberto “Tito” Cepeda and Juan Gutierrez – both considered master Latin percussionists - with whom he studied Afro-Puerto Rican Folkloric music (Bomba y Plena). Advancing in skill through the years, Camilo has progressed from being a student to graduating into a percussionist teacher for the community workshops offered by Los Pleneros de la 21.

Camilo has also studied at Boys Harbor Conservatory with renowned percussionists Johnny Almendra, and Louis Bauzo since the age of four. Under Mr. Almendra’s guidance, Camilo studied Salsa and Jazz percussion instruments (Congas, Timbales, Bongós and Drum-set). Under the tutelage of Mr. Bauzo, Camilo has had the opportunity to study Afro-Cuban folkloric rhythms and instruments including Rumba, Bata drums, Guiro/Bembe and Santería chants. Camilo is also a graduate from the Julliard School of Music (2003) under the MAP/PATH after initiating said programs in fall of 2000.

Through the years, Camilo has traveled to Cuba to participate in FolkCuba, the Annual Havana Jazz Festival in December 2000 with the group Insight as well as for a cultural exchange as a member of Los Pleneros de la 21 in the summer of 2003. In 2008 Camilo also traveled to Berlin, Germany as a member of Los Pleneros de la 21, to perform in the world famous House of World Cultures. In New York Camilo has participated in workshops with Los Hermanos Cepeda and Afro-Cuba de Matanzas in the Dos Alas program (1996 & 1998). In the fall of 2000, Camilo had the great honor to be selected as one of ten semifinalists to compete in the Thelonious Monk International Afro-Latin Hand Drum Competition (at the time he competed against Pedrito Martinez). He went on to become a finalist and was selected third place winner, who, at age ten was the youngest finalist in the 14-year history of the competition. Camilo also received a proclamation from the City Council of New York honoring him for his musical talents and achievements in the fall of 2000, as well as the Celia Cruz Scholarship (2004) which allowed Camilo to travel to Miami, Florida to perform in the Latin Billboard Music awards in a tribute to Celia Cruz. He has also received The Harbor Achievement Award (2001), which was awarded to him by music mogul Russel Simmons.

Camilo has played/plays with Ilu Aye, Los Pleneros de la 21, Yerbabuena, Oba Ire, Anya Ade, and various other groups in the city. Camilo is well known and respected within the Afro Caribbean drumming scene in NY and all over the states. It is obvious that his hard work and dedication has paid off so far, let's just hope this is just the tip of the iceberg for the young percussionist.

(Camilo playing traps with Yerbabuena, Video Credit: NYCityKids)


raquelzrivera said...

Much deserved props to Camilo!

P.S. How can I contact you? I want to email you info about a friend's CD release in the BX. I'm at:

bronxrumba said...