Son cubano is one of the most popular musical styles in Cuba and Kiki Valera is one of its foremost exponents. Over the last century, this style of traditional Cuban music has contributed to many other genres of music including jazz, cha cha cha, mambo, salsa, songo and timba. Cuban son is the music that made the Buena Vista Social Club worldwide stars in the late 1990s but Kiki Valera comes from a family of musicians whose involvement with Cuban son pre-dates the BVSC by decades.
Kiki Valera is the oldest son of the famous La Familia Valera Miranda septet, a multi-generational traditional music group from Santiago de Cuba. Since the 19th century, La Familia Valera Miranda has played a significant role in Cuban culture by collecting and preserving the deep-rooted traditions of the legendary Sierra Maestra mountain region. Their debut album, ANTOLOGÍA INTEGRAL DEL SON, released in 1982, helped initiate the explosion of interest in traditional Cuban music.
Kiki, like most of his family, is a virtuoso. A multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, sound engineer and producer, he’s best known as one of the world’s greatest players of the Cuban cuatro, a mid-size guitar with 8 strings grouped in sets of 2.
Kiki picked up the Cuban tres under the guidance of his father Felix when he was a child. He later attended one of the most prestigious music schools in Cuba, the Conservatorio Esteban Salas, in Santiago de Cuba and by age 15 was touring internationally.