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Rolando Matias & Afro-Rican Ensemble

Closed to a decade ago, Rolando conceptualize The Afro-Rican Ensemble, with a vision and direction the Ensemble followed to national and international recognition. As an entertainer and musician, Rolando cannot be denied: a Multi-talented percussionist, Afro-Caribbean musicologist, Ethno-Foklorist and an accomplished harmonica player. Rolando has traveled the U.S. playing in a wide variety of groups, performing everything from the blues to Latin rock, and everything in between. A self-taught musician, Rolando, applied his formal training as an Architect into his musical education, seeking perfection, has sought out the greats during his travels in order to perfect his musical techniques as a percussionist, harmonica player and composer. Rolando started playing percussion at a young age in Cupey Alto, at the local “Bembes” of the neighborhood. “Bembe” is a gathering of “rumberos” jamming and improvising together. “We started with percussion grooves, pretty soon a trombone player joined in, a trumpeter and all of a sudden the place was kicking, it was a great scene.” Rolando has completed his musical education in music and composition thru private education and formal studies at The Ohio State University, School of Music. He also advanced his studies as a Master Percussionist in Cuba under the tutelage of a number Cuba's finest master percussionists from Havana and Matanzas

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The Charleston Gazette: ...if you closed your eyes for a few minutes, you might have thought you were in Havana in 1950. Jonathan Rodgers

JazzTimes: ...solid musicianship, the right dash of sabor, and a refreshing absence of self-indulgence. Marcela Breton

Latin Beat Magazine: ...What would this world be like without any percussion instruments? For some, life would be the same as always, but it wouldn't be the same for others who regard said instruments as the musical bloodline to the soul. Latin jazz would be virtually non-existent without it, as documented in the music recently recorded by Sammy Figueroa, Chembo Corniel, Bobby Sanabria, Poncho Sanchez, Nils Fischer, Francisco Mela, Eg|i Castrillo, Bobby Matos, John Santos, Rolando Matias, Ignacio Berroa, Dafnis Prieto, Mayra Casales, David Mora, Marlon Simsn, Tito de Gracia, Paoli Mejmas, and countless more. Nelson Rodriguez

The Other Paper: Columbus ...anyway, people were having more fun on the other side by the river Sunday, where the Afro-Rican Ensemble had'em on their feet,... Lee Brown

The Paper: Grand Rapids With its full spread of Latin Percussion, the band attracted record attendance, absolutely shaking the crowd with its hypnotizing Latin swing. Julie Strand

The Latin Jazz Corner Live Volume One: Pelatula, CA

...traditional jazz musicians have spent decades building, destroying, and reconstructing the harmonic foundation of jazz

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Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced

Clinic/Workshop Information

Rolando Matias is also available for clinics/workshop and afro-latin speaking forums. Other programs includes Forum/Seminar with Bobby Matos. The Afro-Rican Ensemble offers a wide variety of educational workshops that brings a clear understanding of the fusion of Latin rhythms with jazz. Latin-Jazz is made up of four building blocks: rhythmic grooves and the Clave-Cuban and Puerto Rican (e.g., rumba, son, bomba, and salsa), melody, harmony, and most importantly, improvisation

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Albums by Rolando Matias & Afro-Rican Ensemble


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